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In topology and related branches of mathematics, a topological space may be defined as a set of points, along with a set of neighbourhoods for each point, that satisfy a set of axioms relating points and neighbourhoods. The definition of a topological space relies only upon set theory and is the most general notion of a mathematical space that allows for the definition of concepts such as continuity, connectedness, and convergence.^{[1]} Other spaces, such as manifolds and metric spaces, are specializations of topological spaces with extra structures or constraints. Being so general, topological spaces are a central unifying notion and appear in virtually every branch of modern mathematics. The branch of mathematics that studies topological spaces in their own right is called pointset topology or general topology.
Contents
 1 Definition
 2 Comparison of topologies
 3 Continuous functions
 4 Examples of topological spaces
 5 Topological constructions
 6 Classification of topological spaces
 7 Topological spaces with algebraic structure
 8 Topological spaces with order structure
 9 Specializations and generalizations
 10 See also
 11 Notes
 12 References
 13 External links
Definition
The utility of the notion of a topology is shown by the fact that there are several equivalent definitions of this structure. Thus one chooses the axiomatisation suited for the application. The most commonly used, and the most elegant, is that in terms of open sets, but the most intuitive is that in terms of neighbourhoods and so we give this first. Note: A variety of more axiomatisations of topological spaces are listed in the Exercises of the book by Vaidyanathaswamy.
Neighbourhoods definition
This axiomatization is due to Felix Hausdorff. Let X be a set; the elements of X are usually called points, though they can be any mathematical object. We allow X to be empty. Let N be a function assigning to each x (point) in X a nonempty collection N(x) of subsets of X. The elements of N(x) will be called neighbourhoods of x with respect to N (or, simply, neighbourhoods of x). The function N is called a neighbourhood topology if the axioms below^{[2]} are satisfied; and then X with N is called a topological space.
 If N is a neighbourhood of x (i.e., N ∈ N(x)), then x ∈ N. In other words, each point belongs to every one of its neighbourhoods.
 If N is a subset of X and contains a neighbourhood of x, then N is a neighbourhood of x. I.e., every superset of a neighbourhood of a point x in X is again a neighbourhood of x.
 The intersection of two neighbourhoods of x is a neighbourhood of x.
 Any neighbourhood N of x contains a neighbourhood M of x such that N is a neighbourhood of each point of M.
The first three axioms for neighbourhoods have a clear meaning. The fourth axiom has a very important use in the structure of the theory, that of linking together the neighbourhoods of different points of X.
A standard example of such a system of neighbourhoods is for the real line R, where a subset N of R is defined to be a neighbourhood of a real number x if there is an open interval containing x and contained in N.
Given such a structure, we can define a subset U of X to be open if U is a neighbourhood of all points in U. It is a remarkable fact that the open sets then satisfy the elegant axioms given below, and that, given these axioms, we can recover the neighbourhoods satisfying the above axioms by defining N to be a neighbourhood of x if N contains an open set U such that x ∈ U.^{[3]}
Open sets definition
A topological space is then a set X together with a collection of subsets of X, called open sets and satisfying the following axioms:^{[4]}
 The empty set and X itself are open.
 Any union of open sets is open.
 The intersection of any finite number of open sets is open.
The collection τ of open sets is then also called a topology on X, or, if more precision is needed, an open set topology. The sets in τ are called the open sets, and their complements in X are called closed sets. A subset of X may be neither closed nor open, either closed or open, or both. A set that is both closed and open is called a clopen set.
Examples
 X = {1, 2, 3, 4} and collection τ = {{}, {1, 2, 3, 4}} of only the two subsets of X required by the axioms form a topology, the trivial topology (indiscrete topology).
 X = {1, 2, 3, 4} and collection τ = {{}, {2}, {1, 2}, {2, 3}, {1, 2, 3}, {1, 2, 3, 4}} of six subsets of X form another topology.
 X = {1, 2, 3, 4} and collection τ = P(X) (the power set of X) form a third topology, the discrete topology.
 X = Z, the set of integers, and collection τ equal to all finite subsets of the integers plus Z itself is not a topology, because (for example) the union of all finite sets not containing zero is infinite but is not all of Z, and so is not in τ .
Closed sets definition
Using de Morgan's laws, the above axioms defining open sets become axioms defining closed sets:
 The empty set and X are closed.
 The intersection of any collection of closed sets is also closed.
 The union of any pair of closed sets is also closed.
Using these axioms, another way to define a topological space is as a set X together with a collection τ of closed subsets of X. Thus the sets in the topology τ are the closed sets, and their complements in X are the open sets.
Other definitions
There are many other equivalent ways to define a topological space: in other words, the concepts of neighbourhood or of open respectively closed set can be reconstructed from other starting points and satisfy the correct axioms.
Another way to define a topological space is by using the Kuratowski closure axioms, which define the closed sets as the fixed points of an operator on the power set of X.
A net is a generalisation of the concept of sequence. A topology is completely determined if for every net in X the set of its accumulation points is specified.
Comparison of topologies
A variety of topologies can be placed on a set to form a topological space. When every set in a topology τ_{1} is also in a topology τ_{2} and τ_{1} is a subset of τ_{2}, we say that τ_{2} is finer than τ_{1}, and τ_{1} is coarser than τ_{2}. A proof that relies only on the existence of certain open sets will also hold for any finer topology, and similarly a proof that relies only on certain sets not being open applies to any coarser topology. The terms larger and smaller are sometimes used in place of finer and coarser, respectively. The terms stronger and weaker are also used in the literature, but with little agreement on the meaning, so one should always be sure of an author's convention when reading.
The collection of all topologies on a given fixed set X forms a complete lattice: if F = {τ_{α} α in A} is a collection of topologies on X, then the meet of F is the intersection of F, and the join of F is the meet of the collection of all topologies on X that contain every member of F.
Continuous functions
A function f : X→ Y between topological spaces is called continuous if for all x ∈ X and all neighbourhoods N of f(x) there is a neighbourhood M of x such that f(M) ⊆ N. This relates easily to the usual definition in analysis. Equivalently, f is continuous if the inverse image of every open set is open.^{[5]} This is an attempt to capture the intuition that there are no "jumps" or "separations" in the function. A homeomorphism is a bijection that is continuous and whose inverse is also continuous. Two spaces are called homeomorphic if there exists a homeomorphism between them. From the standpoint of topology, homeomorphic spaces are essentially identical.
In category theory, Top, the category of topological spaces with topological spaces as objects and continuous functions as morphisms is one of the fundamental categories in category theory. The attempt to classify the objects of this category (up to homeomorphism) by invariants has motivated areas of research, such as homotopy theory, homology theory, and Ktheory etc.
Examples of topological spaces
A given set may have many different topologies. If a set is given a different topology, it is viewed as a different topological space. Any set can be given the discrete topology in which every subset is open. The only convergent sequences or nets in this topology are those that are eventually constant. Also, any set can be given the trivial topology (also called the indiscrete topology), in which only the empty set and the whole space are open. Every sequence and net in this topology converges to every point of the space. This example shows that in general topological spaces, limits of sequences need not be unique. However, often topological spaces must be Hausdorff spaces where limit points are unique.
There are many ways of defining a topology on R, the set of real numbers. The standard topology on R is generated by the open intervals. The set of all open intervals forms a base or basis for the topology, meaning that every open set is a union of some collection of sets from the base. In particular, this means that a set is open if there exists an open interval of non zero radius about every point in the set. More generally, the Euclidean spaces R^{n} can be given a topology. In the usual topology on R^{n} the basic open sets are the open balls. Similarly, C, the set of complex numbers, and C^{n} have a standard topology in which the basic open sets are open balls.
Every metric space can be given a metric topology, in which the basic open sets are open balls defined by the metric. This is the standard topology on any normed vector space. On a finitedimensional vector space this topology is the same for all norms.
Many sets of linear operators in functional analysis are endowed with topologies that are defined by specifying when a particular sequence of functions converges to the zero function.
Any local field has a topology native to it, and this can be extended to vector spaces over that field.
Every manifold has a natural topology since it is locally Euclidean. Similarly, every simplex and every simplicial complex inherits a natural topology from R^{n}.
The Zariski topology is defined algebraically on the spectrum of a ring or an algebraic variety. On R^{n} or C^{n}, the closed sets of the Zariski topology are the solution sets of systems of polynomial equations.
A linear graph has a natural topology that generalises many of the geometric aspects of graphs with vertices and edges.
The Sierpiński space is the simplest nondiscrete topological space. It has important relations to the theory of computation and semantics.
There exist numerous topologies on any given finite set. Such spaces are called finite topological spaces. Finite spaces are sometimes used to provide examples or counterexamples to conjectures about topological spaces in general.
Any set can be given the cofinite topology in which the open sets are the empty set and the sets whose complement is finite. This is the smallest T_{1} topology on any infinite set.
Any set can be given the cocountable topology, in which a set is defined as open if it is either empty or its complement is countable. When the set is uncountable, this topology serves as a counterexample in many situations.
The real line can also be given the lower limit topology. Here, the basic open sets are the half open intervals [a, b). This topology on R is strictly finer than the Euclidean topology defined above; a sequence converges to a point in this topology if and only if it converges from above in the Euclidean topology. This example shows that a set may have many distinct topologies defined on it.
If Γ is an ordinal number, then the set Γ = [0, Γ) may be endowed with the order topology generated by the intervals (a, b), [0, b) and (a, Γ) where a and b are elements of Γ.
Topological constructions
Every subset of a topological space can be given the subspace topology in which the open sets are the intersections of the open sets of the larger space with the subset. For any indexed family of topological spaces, the product can be given the product topology, which is generated by the inverse images of open sets of the factors under the projection mappings. For example, in finite products, a basis for the product topology consists of all products of open sets. For infinite products, there is the additional requirement that in a basic open set, all but finitely many of its projections are the entire space.
A quotient space is defined as follows: if X is a topological space and Y is a set, and if f : X→ Y is a surjective function, then the quotient topology on Y is the collection of subsets of Y that have open inverse images under f. In other words, the quotient topology is the finest topology on Y for which f is continuous. A common example of a quotient topology is when an equivalence relation is defined on the topological space X. The map f is then the natural projection onto the set of equivalence classes.
The Vietoris topology on the set of all nonempty subsets of a topological space X, named for Leopold Vietoris, is generated by the following basis: for every ntuple U_{1}, ..., U_{n} of open sets in X, we construct a basis set consisting of all subsets of the union of the U_{i} that have nonempty intersections with each U_{i}.
Classification of topological spaces
Topological spaces can be broadly classified, up to homeomorphism, by their topological properties. A topological property is a property of spaces that is invariant under homeomorphisms. To prove that two spaces are not homeomorphic it is sufficient to find a topological property not shared by them. Examples of such properties include connectedness, compactness, and various separation axioms.
See the article on topological properties for more details and examples.
Topological spaces with algebraic structure
For any algebraic objects we can introduce the discrete topology, under which the algebraic operations are continuous functions. For any such structure that is not finite, we often have a natural topology compatible with the algebraic operations, in the sense that the algebraic operations are still continuous. This leads to concepts such as topological groups, topological vector spaces, topological rings and local fields.
Topological spaces with order structure
 Spectral. A space is spectral if and only if it is the prime spectrum of a ring (Hochster theorem).
 Specialization preorder. In a space the specialization (or canonical) preorder is defined by x ≤ y if and only if cl{x} ⊆ cl{y}.
Specializations and generalizations
The following spaces and algebras are either more specialized or more general than the topological spaces discussed above.
 Proximity spaces provide a notion of closeness of two sets.
 Metric spaces embody a metric, a precise notion of distance between points.
 Uniform spaces axiomatize ordering the distance between distinct points.
 A topological space in which the points are functions is called a function space.
 Cauchy spaces axiomatize the ability to test whether a net is Cauchy. Cauchy spaces provide a general setting for studying completions.
 Convergence spaces capture some of the features of convergence of filters.
 Grothendieck sites are categories with additional data axiomatizing whether a family of arrows covers an object. Sites are a general setting for defining sheaves.
See also
 Space (mathematics)
 Kolmogorov space (T_{0})
 accessible/Fréchet space (T_{1})
 Hausdorff space (T_{2})
 Completely Hausdorff space and Urysohn space (T_{2½})
 Regular space and regular Hausdorff space (T_{3})
 Tychonoff space and completely regular space (T_{3½})
 Normal Hausdorff space (T_{4})
 Completely normal Hausdorff space (T_{5})
 Perfectly normal Hausdorff space (T_{6})
 Quasitopological space
 Complete Heyting algebra – The system of all open sets of a given topological space ordered by inclusion is a complete Heyting algebra.
Notes
This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012) 
 ^ Schubert 1968, p. 13
 ^ Brown 2006, section 2.1.
 ^ Brown 2006, section 2.2.
 ^ Armstrong 1983, definition 2.1.
 ^ Armstrong 1983, theorem 2.6.
References
 Armstrong, M. A. (1983) [1979]. Basic Topology. Undergraduate texts in mathematics. Springer. ISBN 0387908390.
 Bredon, Glen E., Topology and Geometry (Graduate Texts in Mathematics), Springer; 1st edition (October 17, 1997). ISBN 0387979263.
 Bourbaki, Nicolas; Elements of Mathematics: General Topology, AddisonWesley (1966).
 Brown, Ronald, Topology and groupoids, Booksurge (2006) ISBN 1419627228 (3rd edition of differently titled books) (order from amazon.com).
 Čech, Eduard; Point Sets, Academic Press (1969).
 Fulton, William, Algebraic Topology, (Graduate Texts in Mathematics), Springer; 1st edition (September 5, 1997). ISBN 0387943277.
 Lipschutz, Seymour; Schaum's Outline of General Topology, McGrawHill; 1st edition (June 1, 1968). ISBN 0070379882.
 Munkres, James; Topology, Prentice Hall; 2nd edition (December 28, 1999). ISBN 0131816292.
 Runde, Volker; A Taste of Topology (Universitext), Springer; 1st edition (July 6, 2005). ISBN 038725790X.
 Schubert, Horst (1968), Topology, Allyn and Bacon
 Steen, Lynn A. and Seebach, J. Arthur Jr.; Counterexamples in Topology, Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1970). ISBN 0030794854.
 Vaidyanathaswamy, R. (1960). Set Topology. Chelsea Publishing Co. ISBN 0486404560.
 Willard, Stephen (2004). General Topology. Dover Publications. ISBN 0486434796.
External links
 Hazewinkel, Michiel, ed. (2001), "Topological space", Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Springer, ISBN 9781556080104
 Topological space at PlanetMath.org.

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