Institute for Advanced Study; Faculty, School of Mathematics
March 26, 2014
In Voevodsky’s experience, the work of a mathematician is 5% creative insight and 95% self-verification. Moreover, the more original the insight, the more one has to pay for it later in self-verification work. The Univalent Foundations project, started at the Institute a few years ago, aims to lower the price by giving mathematicians the ability to verify their constructions with the help of computers.
The correspondence between homotopy types and higher categorical analogs of groupoids which was first conjectured by Alexander Grothendieck naturally leads to a view of mathematics where sets are used to parametrize collections of objects without "internal structure" while collections of objects with "internal structure" are parametrized by more general homotopy types. Univalent Foundations are based on the combination of this view with the discovery that it is possible to directly formalize reasoning about homotopy types using Martin-Lof type theories.