Have you heard the buzz? Applied category theory is gaining ground! But, you ask, what is applied category theory? Upon first seeing those words, I suspect many folks might think either one of two thoughts:
- Applied category theory? Isn't that an oxymoron?
- Applied category theory? What's the hoopla? Hasn't category theory always been applied?
For those thinking thought #1, I'd like to convince you the answer is No way! It's true that category theory sometimes goes by the name of general abstract nonsense, which might incline you to think that category theory is too pie-in-the-sky to have any impact on the "real world." My hope is to convince you that that's far from the truth.
For those thinking thought #2, yes, it's true that ideas and results from category theory have found applications in computer science and quantum physics (not to mention pure mathematics itself), but these are not the only applications to which the word applied in applied category theory is being applied.
So what is applied category theory?