In

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Topology
General topology
Topological spaces

topology
In mathematics, topology (from the Greek words , and ) is concerned with the properties of a geometric object that are preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching, twisting, crumpling, and bending; that is, without closing ...

, a discrete space is a particularly simple example of a topological space or similar structure, one in which the points form a , meaning they are '' isolated'' from each other in a certain sense. The discrete topology is the finest topology that can be given on a set. Every subset is open
Open or OPEN may refer to:
Music
* Open (band), Australian pop/rock band
* The Open (band), English indie rock band
* ''Open'' (Blues Image album), 1969
* ''Open'' (Gotthard album), 1999
* ''Open'' (Cowboy Junkies album), 2001
* ''Open'' (Y ...

in the discrete topology so that in particular, every singleton subset is an open set
In mathematics, open sets are a generalization of open intervals in the real line.
In a metric space (a Set (mathematics), set along with a metric (mathematics), distance defined between any two points), open sets are the sets that, with every ...

in the discrete topology.
Definitions

Given a set $X$: A metric space $(E,d)$ is said to be '' uniformly discrete'' if there exists a ' $r\; >\; 0$ such that, for any $x,y\; \backslash in\; E,$ one has either $x\; =\; y$ or $d(x,y)\; >\; r.$ The topology underlying a metric space can be discrete, without the metric being uniformly discrete: for example the usual metric on the set $\backslash left\backslash .$Properties

The underlying uniformity on a discrete metric space is the discrete uniformity, and the underlying topology on a discrete uniform space is the discrete topology. Thus, the different notions of discrete space are compatible with one another. On the other hand, the underlying topology of a non-discrete uniform or metric space can be discrete; an example is the metric space $X\; =\; \backslash $ (with metric inherited from the real line and given by $d(x,y)\; =\; \backslash left,\; x\; -\; y\backslash $). This is not the discrete metric; also, this space is not complete and hence not discrete as a uniform space. Nevertheless, it is discrete as a topological space. We say that $X$ is ''topologically discrete'' but not ''uniformly discrete'' or ''metrically discrete''. Additionally: * Thetopological dimension
In mathematics, the Lebesgue covering dimension or topological dimension of a topological space is one of several different ways of defining the dimension of the space in a
topologically invariant way.
Informal discussion
For ordinary Euclidean ...

of a discrete space is equal to 0.
* A topological space is discrete if and only if its singletons are open, which is the case if and only if it doesn't contain any accumulation point
In mathematics, a limit point, accumulation point, or cluster point of a set S in a topological space X is a point x that can be "approximated" by points of S in the sense that every neighbourhood of x with respect to the topology on X also conta ...

s.
* The singletons form a basis
Basis may refer to:
Finance and accounting
*Adjusted basis, the net cost of an asset after adjusting for various tax-related items
*Basis point, 0.01%, often used in the context of interest rates
*Basis trading, a trading strategy consisting of ...

for the discrete topology.
* A uniform space $X$ is discrete if and only if the diagonal $\backslash $ is an entourage.
* Every discrete topological space satisfies each of the separation axioms; in particular, every discrete space is Hausdorff, that is, separated.
* A discrete space is compact
Compact as used in politics may refer broadly to a pact or treaty; in more specific cases it may refer to:
* Interstate compact
* Blood compact, an ancient ritual of the Philippines
* Compact government, a type of colonial rule utilized in British ...

if and only if
In logic and related fields such as mathematics and philosophy, "if and only if" (shortened as "iff") is a biconditional logical connective between statements, where either both statements are true or both are false.
The connective is bico ...

it is finite.
* Every discrete uniform or metric space is complete.
* Combining the above two facts, every discrete uniform or metric space is totally bounded if and only if it is finite.
* Every discrete metric space is bounded.
* Every discrete space is first-countable; it is moreover second-countable if and only if it is countable
In mathematics, a set is countable if either it is finite or it can be made in one to one correspondence with the set of natural numbers. Equivalently, a set is ''countable'' if there exists an injective function from it into the natural numbers; ...

.
* Every discrete space is totally disconnected.
* Every non-empty discrete space is second category.
* Any two discrete spaces with the same cardinality
In mathematics, the cardinality of a set is a measure of the number of elements of the set. For example, the set A = \ contains 3 elements, and therefore A has a cardinality of 3. Beginning in the late 19th century, this concept was generalized ...

are homeomorphic
In the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism, topological isomorphism, or bicontinuous function is a bijective and continuous function between topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorphi ...

.
* Every discrete space is metrizable (by the discrete metric).
* A finite space is metrizable only if it is discrete.
* If $X$ is a topological space and $Y$ is a set carrying the discrete topology, then $X$ is evenly covered by $X\; \backslash times\; Y$ (the projection map is the desired covering)
* The subspace topology
In topology and related areas of mathematics, a subspace of a topological space ''X'' is a subset ''S'' of ''X'' which is equipped with a topology induced from that of ''X'' called the subspace topology (or the relative topology, or the induced to ...

on the integers
An integer is the number zero (), a positive natural number (, , , etc.) or a negative integer with a minus sign (−1, −2, −3, etc.). The negative numbers are the additive inverses of the corresponding positive numbers. In the language o ...

as a subspace of the real line is the discrete topology.
* A discrete space is separable if and only if it is countable.
* Any topological subspace of $\backslash mathbb$ (with its usual Euclidean topology
In mathematics, and especially general topology, the Euclidean topology is the natural topology induced on n-dimensional Euclidean space \R^n by the Euclidean metric.
Definition
The Euclidean norm on \R^n is the non-negative function \, \cdot\, ...

) that is discrete is necessarily countable
In mathematics, a set is countable if either it is finite or it can be made in one to one correspondence with the set of natural numbers. Equivalently, a set is ''countable'' if there exists an injective function from it into the natural numbers; ...

.
Any function from a discrete topological space to another topological space is continuous, and any function from a discrete uniform space to another uniform space is uniformly continuous. That is, the discrete space $X$ is free on the set $X$ in the category
Category, plural categories, may refer to:
Philosophy and general uses
*Categorization, categories in cognitive science, information science and generally
* Category of being
* ''Categories'' (Aristotle)
* Category (Kant)
*Categories (Peirce)
...

of topological spaces and continuous maps or in the category of uniform spaces and uniformly continuous maps. These facts are examples of a much broader phenomenon, in which discrete structures are usually free on sets.
With metric spaces, things are more complicated, because there are several categories of metric spaces, depending on what is chosen for the morphism
In mathematics, particularly in category theory, a morphism is a structure-preserving map from one mathematical structure to another one of the same type. The notion of morphism recurs in much of contemporary mathematics. In set theory, morphisms a ...

s. Certainly the discrete metric space is free when the morphisms are all uniformly continuous maps or all continuous maps, but this says nothing interesting about the metric structure
A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organized. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings and machines and natural objects such as ...

, only the uniform or topological structure. Categories more relevant to the metric structure can be found by limiting the morphisms to Lipschitz continuous
In mathematical analysis, Lipschitz continuity, named after German mathematician Rudolf Lipschitz, is a strong form of uniform continuity for functions. Intuitively, a Lipschitz continuous function is limited in how fast it can change: there e ...

maps or to short map In the mathematical theory of metric spaces, a metric map is a function between metric spaces that does not increase any distance (such functions are always continuous).
These maps are the morphisms in the category of metric spaces, Met (Isbell 1 ...

s; however, these categories don't have free objects (on more than one element). However, the discrete metric space is free in the category of bounded metric spaces and Lipschitz continuous maps, and it is free in the category of metric spaces bounded by 1 and short maps. That is, any function from a discrete metric space to another bounded metric space is Lipschitz continuous, and any function from a discrete metric space to another metric space bounded by 1 is short.
Going the other direction, a function $f$ from a topological space $Y$ to a discrete space $X$ is continuous if and only if it is '' locally constant'' in the sense that every point in $Y$ has a neighborhood on which $f$ is constant.
Every ultrafilter $\backslash mathcal$ on a non-empty set $X$ can be associated with a topology $\backslash tau\; =\; \backslash mathcal\; \backslash cup\; \backslash left\backslash $ on $X$ with the property that non-empty proper subset $S$ of $X$ is an open subset or else a closed subset, but never both. Said differently, subset is open or closed but (in contrast to the discrete topology) the subsets that are open and closed (i.e. clopen) are $\backslash varnothing$ and $X$. In comparison, subset of $X$ is open and closed in the discrete topology.
Examples and uses

A discrete structure is often used as the "default structure" on a set that doesn't carry any other natural topology, uniformity, or metric; discrete structures can often be used as "extreme" examples to test particular suppositions. For example, any group can be considered as a topological group by giving it the discrete topology, implying that theorems about topological groups apply to all groups. Indeed, analysts may refer to the ordinary, non-topological groups studied by algebraists as "discrete group
In mathematics, a topological group ''G'' is called a discrete group if there is no limit point in it (i.e., for each element in ''G'', there is a neighborhood which only contains that element). Equivalently, the group ''G'' is discrete if and on ...

s" . In some cases, this can be usefully applied, for example in combination with Pontryagin duality
In mathematics, Pontryagin duality is a duality between locally compact abelian groups that allows generalizing Fourier transform to all such groups, which include the circle group (the multiplicative group of complex numbers of modulus one), ...

. A 0-dimensional manifold (or differentiable or analytic manifold) is nothing but a discrete and countable topological space (an uncountable discrete space is not second-countable). We can therefore view any discrete countable group as a 0-dimensional Lie group
In mathematics, a Lie group (pronounced ) is a group that is also a differentiable manifold. A manifold is a space that locally resembles Euclidean space, whereas groups define the abstract concept of a binary operation along with the additi ...

.
A product of countably infinite
In mathematics, a set is countable if either it is finite or it can be made in one to one correspondence with the set of natural numbers. Equivalently, a set is ''countable'' if there exists an injective function from it into the natural numbers; ...

copies of the discrete space of natural number
In mathematics, the natural numbers are those numbers used for counting (as in "there are ''six'' coins on the table") and ordering (as in "this is the ''third'' largest city in the country").
Numbers used for counting are called ''cardinal n ...

s is homeomorphic
In the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism, topological isomorphism, or bicontinuous function is a bijective and continuous function between topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorphi ...

to the space of irrational numbers, with the homeomorphism given by the continued fraction expansion. A product of countably infinite copies of the discrete space $\backslash $ is homeomorphic to the Cantor set
In mathematics, the Cantor set is a set of points lying on a single line segment that has a number of unintuitive properties. It was discovered in 1874 by Henry John Stephen Smith and introduced by German mathematician Georg Cantor in 1883.
Th ...

; and in fact uniformly homeomorphic to the Cantor set if we use the product uniformity on the product. Such a homeomorphism is given by using ternary notation of numbers. (See Cantor space In mathematics, a Cantor space, named for Georg Cantor, is a topological abstraction of the classical Cantor set: a topological space is a Cantor space if it is homeomorphic to the Cantor set. In set theory, the topological space 2ω is called "the ...

.) Every fiber
Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural or artificial substance that is significantly longer than it is wide. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. The strongest engineering materials often incorpora ...

of a locally injective function is necessarily a discrete subspace of its domain.
In the foundations of mathematics, the study of compactness properties of products of $\backslash $ is central to the topological approach to the ultrafilter lemma (equivalently, the Boolean prime ideal theorem), which is a weak form of the axiom of choice
In mathematics, the axiom of choice, or AC, is an axiom of set theory equivalent to the statement that ''a Cartesian product of a collection of non-empty sets is non-empty''. Informally put, the axiom of choice says that given any collection o ...

.
Indiscrete spaces

In some ways, the opposite of the discrete topology is thetrivial topology In topology, a topological space with the trivial topology is one where the only open sets are the empty set and the entire space. Such spaces are commonly called indiscrete, anti-discrete, concrete or codiscrete. Intuitively, this has the consequ ...

(also called the ''indiscrete topology''), which has the fewest possible open sets (just the empty set
In mathematics, the empty set is the unique set having no elements; its size or cardinality (count of elements in a set) is zero. Some axiomatic set theories ensure that the empty set exists by including an axiom of empty set, while in othe ...

and the space itself). Where the discrete topology is initial or free, the indiscrete topology is final or cofree: every function ''from'' a topological space ''to'' an indiscrete space is continuous, etc.
See also

* Cylinder set * List of topologies *Taxicab geometry
A taxicab geometry or a Manhattan geometry is a geometry whose usual distance function or metric of Euclidean geometry is replaced by a new metric in which the distance between two points is the sum of the absolute differences of their Cartesian ...

References