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24 January 2021
  » arxiv » 0801.3843

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The Classifying Space of a Topological 2-Group
John C. Baez ; Danny Stevenson ;
Date 24 Jan 2008
AbstractCategorifying the concept of topological group, one obtains the notion of a ’topological 2-group’. This in turn allows a theory of ’principal 2-bundles’ generalizing the usual theory of principal bundles. It is well-known that under mild conditions on a topological group G and a space M, principal G-bundles over M are classified by either the first Cech cohomology of M with coefficients in G, or the set of homotopy classes [M,BG], where BG is the classifying space of G. Here we review work by Bartels, Jurco, Baas-Bokstedt-Kro, and others generalizing this result to topological 2-groups and even topological 2-categories. We explain various viewpoints on topological 2-groups and Cech cohomology with coefficients in a topological 2-group C, also known as ’nonabelian cohomology’. Then we give an elementary proof that under mild conditions on M and C there is a bijection between the first Cech cohomology of M with coefficients in C and [M,B|C|] where B|C| is the classifying space of the geometric realization of the nerve of C. Applying this result to the ’string 2-group’ String(G) of a simply-connected compact simple Lie group G, it follows that principal String(G)-2-bundles have rational characteristic classes coming from elements of the rational cohomology of BG modulo the ideal generated by c, where c is any nonzero element in the 4th cohomology of BG.
Source arXiv, 0801.3843
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