Highest-weight category


In the mathematical field of representation theory, a highest-weight category is a k-linear category C (here k is a field) that

for all subobjects B and each family of subobjects {Aα} of each object X

and such that there is a locally finite poset Λ (whose elements are called the weights of C) that satisfies the following conditions:[2]

  • The poset Λ indexes an exhaustive set of non-isomorphic simple objects {S(λ)} in C.
  • Λ also indexes a collection of objects {A(λ)} of objects of C such that there exist embeddings S(λ) → A(λ) such that all composition factors S(μ) of A(λ)/S(λ) satisfy μ < λ.[3]
  • For all μ, λ in Λ,
is finite, and the multiplicity[4]
is also finite.
such that
  1. for n > 1, for some μ = λ(n) > λ
  2. for each μ in Λ, λ(n) = μ for only finitely many n


  • The module category of the  -algebra of upper triangular   matrices over  .
  • This concept is named after the category of highest-weight modules of Lie-algebras.
  • A finite-dimensional  -algebra   is quasi-hereditary iff its module category is a highest-weight category. In particular all module-categories over semisimple and hereditary algebras are highest-weight categories.
  • A cellular algebra over a field is quasi-hereditary (and hence its module category a highest-weight category) iff its Cartan-determinant is 1.


  1. ^ In the sense that it admits arbitrary direct limits of subobjects and every object is a union of its subobjects of finite length.
  2. ^ Cline & Scott 1988, §3
  3. ^ Here, a composition factor of an object A in C is, by definition, a composition factor of one of its finite length subobjects.
  4. ^ Here, if A is an object in C and S is a simple object in C, the multiplicity [A:S] is, by definition, the supremum of the multiplicity of S in all finite length subobjects of A.


  • Cline, E.; Parshall, B.; Scott, L. (January 1988). "Finite-dimensional algebras and highest-weight categories" (PDF). Journal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. 1988 (391): 85–99. CiteSeerX doi:10.1515/crll.1988.391.85. ISSN 0075-4102. OCLC 1782270. S2CID 118202731. Retrieved 2012-07-17.

See alsoEdit

  • Category O