## The Story of Generators 1

October 1, 2012 at 12:10 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
**Introduction**

I’m not sure exactly where things left off, so I’ll just begin with a series of posts on generators for pcf. I will also try to keep the posts short so that I can ease back into the routine of writing them.

Let us assume that is a progressive set of regular cardinals, and . I will assume we know already some of the basics about the ideal and I will use these facts without much comment.

What we want to look at is the existence of a *generator* for : we will sketch the proof that the ideal is generated over by a single set . And I do mean “sketch”, as the details are worked out nicely in Section 4 of the Abraham/Magidor article in the Handbook of Set Theory.

**Universal Sequences**

We’ll start with the following definition:

Definition 1Suppose . A sequence of functions in is auniversal sequence forif

- is -increasing, and
- is cofinal in whenever is an ultrafilter on with .

Universal sequences are tightly related to the existence of generators for pcf, as we shall see. I want to point out the following result:

Theorem 2Suppose is a progressive set of regular cardinals and Then the following statements are equivalent:

- There is a universal sequence for .
- There is a family such that for any ultrafilter , if has cofinality then remains unbounded in .
- There is a family of subsets of such that

- modulo , and
- is the ideal generated by together with the sets .

The above is basically Fact 2.2 on page 13 of *Cardinal Arithmetic*, and it follows quite easily from the work done in the first section of the book. (The 3rd statement says, in the notation of the book, that is *semi-normal*.) Abraham and Magidor develop basic pcf theory in a slightly different order, and deriving the above result from the material they present prior to defining universal sequences is a bit more difficult.

Of course, the main point is the following result:

Theorem 3If is a progressive set of regular cardinals, then every has a universal sequence.

Again, we will not prove the above as this is Theorem 4.2 of the Abraham-Magidor article, and their proof is quite clear.

What have we learned from the above? We have outlined the first steps towards proving that generators exist. Putting the two theorems presented here together, we see that if , then is pretty simply generated over .

In our next post, we’ll see how “tuning up” a universal sequence leads to the existence of generators.

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