Artin, a professor emeritus of mathematics at MIT, helped introduce and define a number of tools and theories in modern algebraic geometry, including the Artin Stack, which is a generalized version of an algebraic stack. His contributions to the theory ...

In mathematics a **stack** or **2-sheaf** is, roughly speaking, a sheaf that takes values in categories rather than sets. Stacks are used to formalise some of the main constructions of descent theory, and to construct fine moduli stacks when fine moduli spaces do not exist.

In mathematics a **stack** or **2-sheaf** is, roughly speaking, a sheaf that takes values in categories rather than sets. Stacks are used to formalise some of the main constructions of descent theory, and to construct fine moduli stacks when fine moduli spaces do not exist.

Descent theory is concerned with generalisations of situations where geometrical objects (such as vector bundles on topological spaces) can be "glued together" when they are isomorphic (in a compatible way) when restricted to intersections of the sets in an open covering of a space. In more general set-up the restrictions are replaced with general pull-backs, and fibred categories form the right framework to discuss the possibility of such gluing. The intuitive meaning of a stack is that it is a fibred category such that "all possible gluings work". The specification of gluings requires a definition of coverings with regard to which the gluings can be considered. It turns out that the general language for describing these coverings is that of a Grothendieck topology. Thus a stack is formally given as a fibred category over another *base* category, where the base has a Grothendieck topology and where the fibred category satisfies a few axioms that ensure existence and uniqueness of certain gluings with respect to the Grothendieck topology.

Stacks are the underlying structure of algebraic stacks (also called Artin stacks) and Deligne–Mumford stacks, which generalize schemes and algebraic spaces and which are particularly useful in studying moduli spaces. There are inclusions: schemes ⊆ algebraic spaces ⊆ Deligne–Mumford stacks ⊆ algebraic stacks ⊆ stacks.

Edidin (2003) and Fantechi (2001) give a brief introductory accounts of stacks, Gómez (2001), Olsson (2007) and Vistoli (2005) give more detailed introductions, and Laumon & Moret-Bailly (2000) describes the more advanced theory.