# Biproduct

In category theory and its applications to mathematics, a biproduct of a finite collection of objects, in a category with zero objects, is both a product and a coproduct. In a preadditive category the notions of product and coproduct coincide for finite collections of objects.[1] The biproduct is a generalization of finite direct sums of modules.

## Definition

Let C be a category.

Given a finite (possibly empty) collection of objects A1, ..., An in C, their biproduct is an object ${\textstyle A_{1}\oplus \dots \oplus A_{n}}$ in C together with morphisms

• ${\textstyle p_{k}\!:A_{1}\oplus \dots \oplus A_{n}\to A_{k}}$ in C (the projection morphisms)
• ${\textstyle i_{k}\!:A_{k}\to A_{1}\oplus \dots \oplus A_{n}}$ (the embedding morphisms)

and such that

• ${\textstyle \left(A_{1}\oplus \dots \oplus A_{n},p_{k}\right)}$ is a product for the ${\textstyle A_{k},}$ and
• ${\textstyle \left(A_{1}\oplus \dots \oplus A_{n},i_{k}\right)}$ is a coproduct for the ${\textstyle A_{k}.}$

An empty, or nullary, product is always a terminal object in the category, and the empty coproduct is always an initial object in the category. Thus an empty, or nullary, biproduct is always a zero object.

## Examples

In the category of abelian groups, biproducts always exist and are given by the direct sum.[2] Note that the zero object is the trivial group.

Similarly, biproducts exist in the category of vector spaces over a field. The biproduct is again the direct sum, and the zero object is the trivial vector space.

More generally, biproducts exist in the category of modules over a ring.

On the other hand, biproducts do not exist in the category of groups.[3] Here, the product is the direct product, but the coproduct is the free product.

Also, biproducts do not exist in the category of sets. For, the product is given by the Cartesian product, whereas the coproduct is given by the disjoint union. Note also that this category does not have a zero object.

Block matrix algebra relies upon biproducts in categories of matrices.[4]

## Properties

If the biproduct ${\textstyle A\oplus B}$ exists for all pairs of objects A and B in the category C, then all finite biproducts exist, making C both a Cartesian monoidal category and a co-Cartesian monoidal category.

If the product ${\textstyle A_{1}\times A_{2}}$ and coproduct ${\textstyle A_{1}\coprod A_{2}}$ both exist for some pair of objects Ai, then there is a unique morphism ${\textstyle f:A_{1}\coprod A_{2}\to A_{1}\times A_{2}}$ such that

• ${\displaystyle p_{k}\circ f\circ i_{k}=1_{A_{k}}}$
• ${\displaystyle p_{l}\circ f\circ i_{k}=0}$ for ${\textstyle k\neq l.}$

It follows that the biproduct ${\textstyle A_{1}\oplus A_{2}}$ exists if and only if f is an isomorphism.

If C is a preadditive category, then every finite product is a biproduct, and every finite coproduct is a biproduct. For example, if ${\textstyle A_{1}\times A_{2}}$ exists, then there are unique morphisms ${\textstyle i_{k}:A_{k}\to A_{1}\times A_{2}}$ such that

• ${\displaystyle p_{k}\circ i_{k}=1_{A_{k}}}$
• ${\displaystyle p_{l}\circ i_{k}=0}$ for ${\textstyle k\neq l.}$

To see that ${\textstyle A_{1}\times A_{2}}$ is now also a coproduct, and hence a biproduct, suppose we have morphisms ${\textstyle f_{k}:A_{k}\to X}$ for some object ${\textstyle X}$. Define ${\textstyle f:=f_{1}\circ p_{1}+f_{2}\circ p_{2}.}$ Then ${\textstyle f:A_{1}\times A_{2}\to X}$ is a morphism and ${\textstyle f\circ i_{k}=f_{k}}$.

Note also that in this case we always have

• ${\textstyle i_{1}\circ p_{1}+i_{2}\circ p_{2}=1_{A_{1}\times A_{2}}.}$

An additive category is a preadditive category in which all finite biproduct exist. In particular, biproducts always exist in abelian categories.

## References

1. Borceux, 4-5
2. Borceux, 8
3. Borceux, 7
4. H.D. Macedo, J.N. Oliveira, Typing linear algebra: A biproduct-oriented approach, Science of Computer Programming, Volume 78, Issue 11, 1 November 2013, Pages 2160-2191, ISSN 0167-6423, doi:10.1016/j.scico.2012.07.012.