open import Cat.Instances.Product
open import Cat.Prelude

import Cat.Functor.Bifunctor as Bifunctor
import Cat.Reasoning as Cat

module Cat.Diagram.Coend where


# Coends🔗

Let $F : \mathcal{C}{^{{\mathrm{op}}}}\times \mathcal{C} \to \mathcal{D}$ be a functor, which, by the general yoga of bifunctors we think of as combining a contravariant action $F(-,x) : \mathcal{C}{^{{\mathrm{op}}}}\to \mathcal{D}$ and a covariant action $F(x,-) : \mathcal{C} \to \mathcal{D}$ of $\mathcal{C}$ on $\mathcal{D}$1. As a concrete example, we could take $\mathcal{C} = {\mathbf{B}}R$, the 1-object ${{\mathbf{Ab}}}$-category associated to a ring $R$ — then the functors $F(-,x)$ and $F(x,-)$ would be left- and right- $R$-modules, respectively. In fact, let us focus on this case and consider two modules $A$ and $B$, incarnated as a pair of functors $A : {\mathbf{B}}R{^{{\mathrm{op}}}}\to {{\mathbf{Ab}}}$ and $B : {\mathbf{B}}R \to {{\mathbf{Ab}}}$.

In this situation, we may study the tensor product (of modules!) $A \otimes_R B$ as being an “universal object where the actions of $A$ and $B$ agree”. In particular, it’s known that we can compute the tensor product of modules as being (the object in) a coequaliser diagram like

$A \otimes R \otimes B {\rightrightarrows}A \otimes B {\twoheadrightarrow}A \otimes_R B\text{,}$

where the undecorated $A \otimes B$ stands for the tensor product of abelian groups, and the two maps are given by the $R$-actions of $A$ and $B$. More explicitly, letting $a \otimes b$ stand for a tensor, the equation $a\otimes rb = ar\otimes b$ holds in $A \otimes_R B$, and the tensor product is the universal object where this is forced to hold.

Going back to the absurd generality of a bifunctor $F : \mathcal{C}{^{{\mathrm{op}}}}\times \mathcal{C} \to \mathcal{D}$, we may still wish to consider these sorts of “universal quotients where a pair of actions are forced to agree”, even if our codomain category $\mathcal{D}$ does not have a well-behaved calculus of tensor products. As a motivating example, the computation of left Kan extensions as certain colimits has this form!

We call such an object a coend of the functor $F$, and denote it by $\int^c F(c,c)$ (or $\int F$ for short). Being a type of colimit, coends are initial objects in a particular category, but we will unpack the definition here and talk about cowedges instead.

## Formalisation🔗

record Cowedge (F : Functor (C ^op ×ᶜ C) D) : Type (coend-level F) where
no-eta-equality


A cowedge under a functor $F$ is given by an object $w : \mathcal{D}$ (which we refer to as the nadir, because we’re pretentious), together with a family of maps $\psi_c : F(c,c) \to w$.

  field
ψ     : ∀ c → D.Hom (F.₀ (c , c)) nadir


This family of maps must satisfy a condition called extranaturality, expressing that the diagram below commutes. As the name implies, this is like the naturality condition for a natural transformation, but extra! In particular, it copes with the functor being covariant in one argument and contravariant in the other.  extranatural
: ∀ {c c′} (f : C.Hom c c′)
→ ψ c′ D.∘ F.second f ≡ ψ c D.∘ F.first f


A coend, then, is a universal cowedge. In particular, we say that $(w,\psi)$ is a coend for $F$ such that, given any other wedge $(w',\psi)$ under $F$, we can factor $w$ through $w'$ by a unique map $e : w \to w'$. Furthermore, the map $e$ must commute with the maps $\psi$, meaning explicitly that $e\psi_a = \psi'_a$.

record Coend (F : Functor (C ^op ×ᶜ C) D) : Type (coend-level F) where

  field
cowedge : Cowedge F


Unfolding the requirement of uniqueness for $e$, we require that, given any other map $f : w \to w'$ s.t. $f\psi_a = \psi'_a$ for all objects $a$, then $e = f$. This is exactly analogous to the uniqueness properties of colimiting maps for every other colimit.

  field
factor   : ∀ (W : Cowedge F) → D.Hom cowedge.nadir (W .nadir)
commutes : ∀ {W : Cowedge F} {a} → factor W D.∘ cowedge.ψ a ≡ W .ψ a
unique
: ∀ {W : Cowedge F} {g : D.Hom cowedge.nadir (W .nadir)}
→ (∀ {a} → g D.∘ cowedge.ψ a ≡ W .ψ a)
→ g ≡ factor W


1. “Action” here is meant evoke the idea of e.g. group actions, and does not refer to a specific concept↩︎