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Journal Articles Selecta Mathematica (New Series) Year : 2022

Hermitian K-theory for stable $\infty$-categories I: Foundations

Baptiste Calmès
Emanuele Dotto
  • Function : Author
Yonatan Harpaz
Fabian Hebestreit
  • Function : Author
Markus Land
  • Function : Author
Kristian Moi
  • Function : Author
Denis Nardin
  • Function : Author
Thomas Nikolaus
  • Function : Author
Wolfgang Steimle
  • Function : Author


This paper is the first in a series in which we offer a new framework for hermitian K-theory in the realm of stable $\infty$-categories. Our perspective yields solutions to a variety of classical problems involving Grothendieck-Witt groups of rings and clarifies the behaviour of these invariants when 2 is not invertible. In this article we lay the foundations of our approach by considering Lurie's notion of a Poincar\'e $\infty$-category, which permits an abstract counterpart of unimodular forms called Poincar\'e objects. We analyse the special cases of hyperbolic and metabolic Poincar\'e objects, and establish a version of Ranicki's algebraic Thom construction. For derived $\infty$-categories of rings, we classify all Poincar\'e structures and study in detail the process of deriving them from classical input, thereby locating the usual setting of forms over rings within our framework. We also develop the example of visible Poincar\'e structures on $\infty$-categories of parametrised spectra, recovering the visible signature of a Poincar\'e duality space. We conduct a thorough investigation of the global structural properties of Poincar\'e $\infty$-categories, showing in particular that they form a bicomplete, closed symmetric monoidal $\infty$-category. We also study the process of tensoring and cotensoring a Poincar\'e $\infty$-category over a finite simplicial complex, a construction featuring prominently in the definition of the L- and Grothendieck-Witt spectra that we consider in the next instalment. Finally, we define already here the 0-th Grothendieck-Witt group of a Poincar\'e $\infty$-category using generators and relations. We extract its basic properties, relating it in particular to the 0-th L- and algebraic K-groups, a relation upgraded in the second instalment to a fibre sequence of spectra which plays a key role in our applications.

Dates and versions

hal-02941254 , version 1 (16-09-2020)



Baptiste Calmès, Emanuele Dotto, Yonatan Harpaz, Fabian Hebestreit, Markus Land, et al.. Hermitian K-theory for stable $\infty$-categories I: Foundations. Selecta Mathematica (New Series), 2022, ⟨10.1007/s00029-022-00758-2⟩. ⟨hal-02941254⟩


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