Continuous functions on a compact Hausdorff space
In mathematical analysis, and especially functional analysis, a fundamental role is played by the space of continuous functions on a compact Hausdorff space with values in the real or complex numbers. This space, denoted by C(X), is a vector space with respect to the pointwise addition of functions and scalar multiplication by constants. It is, moreover, a normed space with norm defined by
the uniform norm. The uniform norm defines the topology of uniform convergence of functions on X. The space C(X) is a Banach algebra with respect to this norm. (Rudin 1973, §11.3)
Properties
- By Urysohn's lemma, C(X) separates points of X: If x, y ∈ X and x ≠ y, then there is an f ∈ C(X) such that f(x) ≠ f(y).
- The space C(X) is infinite-dimensional whenever X is an infinite space (since it separates points). Hence, in particular, it is generally not locally compact.
- The Riesz–Markov–Kakutani representation theorem gives a characterization of the continuous dual space of C(X). Specifically, this dual space is the space of Radon measures on X (regular Borel measures), denoted by rca(X). This space, with the norm given by the total variation of a measure, is also a Banach space belonging to the class of ba spaces. (Dunford & Schwartz 1958, §IV.6.3)
- Positive linear functionals on C(X) correspond to (positive) regular Borel measures on X, by a different form of the Riesz representation theorem. (Rudin 1966, Chapter 2)
- If X is infinite, then C(X) is not reflexive, nor is it weakly complete.
- The Arzelà-Ascoli theorem holds: A subset K of C(X) is relatively compact if and only if it is bounded in the norm of C(X), and equicontinuous.
- The Stone-Weierstrass theorem holds for C(X). In the case of real functions, if A is a subring of C(X) that contains all constants and separates points, then the closure of A is C(X). In the case of complex functions, the statement holds with the additional hypothesis that A is closed under complex conjugation.
- If X and Y are two compact Hausdorff spaces, and F : C(X) → C(Y) is a homomorphism of algebras which commutes with complex conjugation, then F is continuous. Furthermore, F has the form F(h)(y) = h(f(y)) for some continuous function ƒ : Y → X. In particular, if C(X) and C(Y) are isomorphic as algebras, then X and Y are homeomorphic topological spaces.
- Let Δ be the space of maximal ideals in C(X). Then there is a one-to-one correspondence between Δ and the points of X. Furthermore, Δ can be identified with the collection of all complex homomorphisms C(X) → C. Equip Δ with the initial topology with respect to this pairing with C(X) (i.e., the Gelfand transform). Then X is homeomorphic to Δ equipped with this topology. (Rudin 1973, §11.13)
- A sequence in C(X) is weakly Cauchy if and only if it is (uniformly) bounded in C(X) and pointwise convergent. In particular, C(X) is only weakly complete for X a finite set.
- The vague topology is the weak* topology on the dual of C(X).
- The Banach–Alaoglu theorem implies that any normed space is isometrically isomorphic to a subspace of C(X) for some X.
Generalizations
The space C(X) of real or complex-valued continuous functions can be defined on any topological space X. In the non-compact case, however, C(X) is not in general a Banach space with respect to the uniform norm since it may contain unbounded functions. Hence it is more typical to consider the space, denoted here C_{B}(X) of bounded continuous functions on X. This is a Banach space (in fact a commutative Banach algebra with identity) with respect to the uniform norm. (Hewitt & Stromberg 1965, Theorem 7.9)
It is sometimes desirable, particularly in measure theory, to further refine this general definition by considering the special case when X is a locally compact Hausdorff space. In this case, it is possible to identify a pair of distinguished subsets of C_{B}(X): (Hewitt & Stromberg 1965, §II.7)
- C_{00}(X), the subset of C(X) consisting of functions with compact support. This is called the space of functions vanishing in a neighborhood of infinity.
- C_{0}(X), the subset of C(X) consisting of functions such that for every ε > 0, there is a compact set K⊂X such that |f(x)| < ε for all x ∈ X\K. This is called the space of functions vanishing at infinity.
The closure of C_{00}(X) is precisely C_{0}(X). In particular, the latter is a Banach space.
References
- Dunford, N.; Schwartz, J.T. (1958), Linear operators, Part I, Wiley-Interscience.
- Hewitt, Edwin; Stromberg, Karl (1965), Real and abstract analysis, Springer-Verlag.
- Rudin, Walter (1973), Functional analysis, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-054236-8.
- Rudin, Walter (1966), Real and complex analysis, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-054234-1.