Homotopy of Operads and Grothendieck-Teichmuller Groups
The Grothendieck-Teichmuller group was defined by Drinfeld in quantum group theory with insights coming from the Grothendieck program in Galois theory. The ultimate goal of this book set is to explain that this group has a topological interpretation as a group of homotopy automorphisms associated to the operad of little 2-discs, which is an object used to model commutative homotopy structures in topology. The first part of this two-part set gives a comprehensive survey on the algebraic aspects of this subject. The book explains the definition of an operad in a general context, reviews the definition of the little discs operads, and explains the definition of the Grothendieck-Teichmuller group from the viewpoint of the theory of operads. In the course of this study, the relationship between the little discs operads and the definition of universal operations associated to braided monoidal category structures is explained. Also provided is a comprehensive and self-contained survey of the applications of Hopf algebras to the definition of a rationalization process, the Malcev completion, for groups and groupoids. Most definitions are carefully reviewed in the book; it requires minimal prerequisites to be accessible to a broad readership of graduate students and researchers interested in the applications of operads. The ultimate goal of the second part of the book is to explain that the Grothendieck-Teichmuller group, as defined by Drinfeld in quantum group theory, has a topological interpretation as a group of homotopy automorphisms associated to the little 2-disc operad. To establish this result, the applications of methods of algebraic topology to operads must be developed. This volume is devoted primarily to this subject, with the main objective of developing a rational homotopy theory for operads. The book starts with a comprehensive review of the general theory of model categories and of general methods of homotopy theory. The definition of the Sullivan model for the rational homotopy of spaces is revisited, and the definition of models for the rational homotopy of operads is then explained. The applications of spectral sequence methods to compute homotopy automorphism spaces associated to operads are also explained. This approach is used to get a topological interpretation of the Grothendieck-Teichmuller group in the case of the little 2-disc operad. This volume is intended for graduate students and researchers interested in the applications of homotopy theory methods in operad theory. It is accessible to readers with a minimal background in classical algebraic topology and operad theory.