Operads as polynomial 2-monads

Mark Weber

In this article we give a construction of a polynomial 2-monad from an operad and describe the algebras of the 2-monads which then arise. This construction is different from the standard construction of a monad from an operad in that the algebras of our associated 2-monad are the categorified algebras of the original operad. Moreover it enables us to characterise operads as categorical polynomial monads in a canonical way. This point of view reveals categorical polynomial monads as a unifying environment for operads, Cat-operads and clubs. We recover the standard construction of a monad from an operad in a 2-categorical way from our associated 2-monad as a coidentifier of 2-monads, and understand the algebras of both as weak morphisms of operads into a Cat-operad of categories. Algebras of operads within general symmetric monoidal categories arise from our new associated 2-monad in a canonical way. When the operad is sigma-free, we establish a Quillen equivalence, with respect to the model structures on algebras of 2-monads found by Lack, between the strict algebras of our associated 2-monad, and those of the standard one.

Keywords: operads; polynomial functors

2010 MSC: 18D20; 18D50; 55P48

Theory and Applications of Categories, Vol. 30, 2015, No. 49, pp 1659-1712.

Published 2015-12-02.


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