Reviews in Mathematical Physics
We consider Frobenius objects in the category Span, where the objects are sets and the morphisms are isomorphism classes of spans of sets. We show that such structures are in correspondence with data that can be characterized in terms of simplicial sets. An interesting class of examples comes from groupoids.
Our primary motivation is that Span can be viewed as a set-theoretic model for the symplectic category, and thus Frobenius objects in Span provide set-theoretic models for classical topological field theories. The paper includes an explanation of this relationship.
Given a finite commutative Frobenius object in Span, one can obtain invariants of closed surfaces with values in the natural numbers. We explicitly compute these invariants in several examples, including examples arising from abelian groups.
Spans, category of relations, symplectic category, Frobenius algebra, groupoid, simplicial set, topological quantum field theory
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Contreras, Ivan; Keller, Molly; and Mehta, Rajan Amit, "Frobenius Objects in the Category of Spans" (2022). Mathematics and Statistics: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.