The Sierpinski Carpet as a Final Coalgebra

Victoria Noquez
(Indiana University Bloomington)
Lawrence S. Moss
(Indiana University Bloomington)

We advance the program of connections between final coalgebras as sources of circularity in mathematics and fractal sets of real numbers. In particular, we are interested in the Sierpinski carpet, taking it as a fractal subset of the unit square. We construct a category of square sets and an endofunctor on it which corresponds to the operation of gluing copies of a square set along segments. We show that the initial algebra and final coalgebra exist for our functor, and that the final coalgebra is bi-Lipschitz equivalent to the Sierpinski carpet. Along the way, we make connections to topics such as the iterative construction of initial algebras as colimits, corecursive algebras, and the classic treatment of fractal sets due to Hutchinson.

In Kohei Kishida: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Applied Category Theory (ACT 2021), Cambridge, United Kingdom, 12-16th July 2021, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 372, pp. 249–261.
Published: 3rd November 2022.

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