Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 5 sessions / week, 1 hour / session
Extra discussion: 5 sessions / week, 1/2 hour / session
This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the beginning of February. This course was offered during a 3-week period.
The instructors lead problem discussion and are available for questions right after each lecture during the extra discussion session.
There is no prerequisite. No prior knowledge of category theory is assumed; we will build up from the basics to the advanced theory over the series of lectures.
Category theory is a relatively new branch of mathematics that has transformed much of pure math research. The technical advance is that category theory provides a framework in which to organize formal systems and by which to translate between them, allowing one to transfer knowledge from one field to another. But this same organizational framework also has many compelling examples outside of pure math. In this course, we will give seven sketches on real-world applications of category theory.
This course is based on the following textbook, with two lectures on each chapter:
Fong, B. and D. I. Spivak. An Invitation to Applied Category Theory: Seven Sketches in Compositionality. Cambridge University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781108482295.
Assignments and Exam
Students taking the course for credit will be required to complete three problem sets. There will be no exam.
Attending lecture is mandatory, unless you have prior permission from one of the instructors. Class participation is 25% of your grade. Problem sets are worth 75%.
|SES #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|1–2||Chapter 1: Generative Effects: Orders and Adjunctions||Problem set 1 out|
|3–4||Chapter 2: Resources: Monoidal Preorders and Enrichment|
|5–6||Chapter 3: Databases: Categories, Functors, and (Co)Limits||
Problem set 1 due in session 6
Problem set 2 out
|7–8||Chapter 4: Co-design: Profunctors and Monoidal Categories|
|9–10||Chapter 5: Signal Flow Graphs: Props, Presentations, and Proofs||
Problem set 2 due in session 10
Problem set 3 out
|11–12||Chapter 6: Circuits: Hypergraph Categories and Operads|
|13–14||Chapter 7: Logic of Behavior: Sheaves, Toposes, Languages||Problem set 3 due in session 14|