You are here
Homesymmetric monoidal category
Primary tabs
symmetric monoidal category
A monoidal category $\mathcal{C}$ with tensor product $\otimes$ is said to be symmetric if for every pair $A,B$ of objects in $\mathcal{C}$, there is an isomorphism
$s_{{AB}}:A\otimes B\cong B\otimes A$ 
that is natural in both $A$ and $B$ such that the following diagrams are commutative
1. (unit coherence for $s$):
$\xymatrix@+=2cm{A\otimes I\ar[rr]^{{s_{{AI}}}}\ar[dr]_{{r_{A}}}&&I\otimes A\ar% [dl]^{{l_{A}}}\\ &A&}$ 2. (associativity coherence for $s$):
$\xymatrix@+=2cm{(A\otimes B)\otimes C\ar[rr]^{{s_{{AB}}\otimes 1_{C}}}\ar[d]_{% {a_{{ABC}}}}&&(B\otimes A)\otimes C\ar[d]^{{a_{{BAC}}}}\\ A\otimes(B\otimes C)\ar[d]_{{s_{{A,B\otimes C}}}}&&B\otimes(A\otimes C)\ar[d]^% {{1_{B}\otimes s_{{AC}}}}\\ (B\otimes C)\otimes A\ar[rr]_{{a_{{BCA}}}}&&B\otimes(C\otimes A)}$ 3. (inverse law):
$\xymatrix@+=2cm{&B\otimes A\ar[dr]^{{s_{{BA}}}}&\\ A\otimes B\ar[ur]^{{s_{{AB}}}}\ar@{=}[rr]_{{1_{{A\otimes B}}}}&&A\otimes B}$
In the diagrams above, $a,l,r$ are the associativity isomorphism, the left unit isomorphism, and the right unit isomorphism respectively.
Some examples and nonexamples of symmetric monoidal categories:

The category of sets. The tensor product is the set theoretic cartesian product, and any singleton can be fixed as the unit object.

The category of groups. Like before, the tensor product is just the cartesian product of groups, and the trivial group is the unit object.

More generally, a category with finite products is symmetric monoidal. The tensor product is the direct product of objects, and any terminal object (empty product) is the unit object.
Remark. A symmetric monoidal category is a braided monoidal category such that the inverse law: $s_{{BA}}\circ s_{{AB}}=1_{{A\otimes B}}$ holds.
Mathematics Subject Classification
8100 no label found1800 no label found18D10 no label found Forums
 Planetary Bugs
 HS/Secondary
 University/Tertiary
 Graduate/Advanced
 Industry/Practice
 Research Topics
 LaTeX help
 Math Comptetitions
 Math History
 Math Humor
 PlanetMath Comments
 PlanetMath System Updates and News
 PlanetMath help
 PlanetMath.ORG
 Strategic Communications Development
 The Math Pub
 Testing messages (ignore)
 Other useful stuff
 Corrections