 Quotient by An Equivalence Relation
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Quotient by An Equivalence Relation

In mathematics, given a category C, a quotient of an object X by an equivalence relation $f:R\to X\times X$ is a coequalizer for the pair of maps

$R\ {\overset {f}{\to }}\ X\times X\ {\overset {\operatorname {pr} _{i}}{\to }}\ X,\ \ i=1,2,$ where R is an object in C and "f is an equivalence relation" means that, for any object T in C, the image (which is a set) of $f:R(T)=\operatorname {Mor} (T,R)\to X(T)\times X(T)$ is an equivalence relation; that is, a reflexive, symmetric and transitive relation.

The basic case in practice is when C is the category of all schemes over some scheme S. But the notion is flexible and one can also take C to be the category of sheaves.

## Examples

• Let X be a set and consider some equivalence relation on it. Let Q be the set of all equivalence classes in X. Then the map $q:X\to Q$ that sends an element x to the equivalence class to which x belongs is a quotient.
• In the above example, Q is a subset of the power set H of X. In algebraic geometry, one might replace H by a Hilbert scheme or disjoint union of Hilbert schemes. In fact, Grothendieck constructed a relative Picard scheme of a flat projective scheme X as a quotient Q (of the scheme Z parametrizing relative effective divisors on X) that is a closed scheme of a Hilbert scheme H. The quotient map $q:Z\to Q$ can then be thought of as a relative version of the Abel map.