Stone-Cech Compactification is Maximal

Let X be a completely regular space. Let \beta X be the Stone-Cech compactification of X. In a previous post, we show that among all compactifcations of X, the Stone-Cech compactification \beta X is maximal with respect to a partial order \le (see Theorem C2 in Two Characterizations of Stone-Cech Compactification). As a result of the maximality, \beta X is the largest among all compactifications of X both in terms of cardinality and weight. We also establish an upper bound for the cardinality of \beta X and an upper bound for the weight of \beta X. As a result, we have upper bounds for cardinalities and weights for all compactifications of X. We prove the following points.

    Upper Bounds for Stone-Cech Compactification

  1. \lvert \beta X \lvert \le 2^{2^{d(X)}}.
  2. w(\beta X) \le 2^{d(X)}.
  3. Stone-Cech Compactification is Maximal

  4. For every compactification \alpha X of the space X, \lvert \alpha X \lvert \le \lvert \beta X \lvert.
  5. For every compactification \alpha X of the space X, w(\alpha X) \le w(\beta X).
  6. Upper Bounds for all Compactifications

  7. For every compactification \alpha X of the space X, w(\alpha X) \le 2^{d(X)}.
  8. For every compactification \alpha X of the space X, \lvert \alpha X \lvert \le 2^{2^{d(X)}}.

It is clear that Results 5 and 6 follow from the preceding results. The links for other posts on Stone-Cech compactification can be found toward the end of this post

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Some Cardinal Functions

Let X be a space. The density of X is denoted by d(X) and is defined to be the smallest cardinality of a dense set in X. For example, if X is separable, then d(X)=\omega. The weight of the space X is denoted by w(X) and is defined to be the smallest cardinality of a base of the space X. For example, if X is second countable (i.e. having a countable space), then w(X)=\omega. Both d(X) and w(X) are cardinal functions that are commonly used in topological discussion. Most authors require that cardinal functions only take on infinite cardinals. We also adopt this convention here. We use c to denote the cardinality of the continuum (the cardinality of the real line \mathbb{R}).

If \mathcal{K} is a cardinal number, then 2^{\mathcal{K}} refers to the cardinal number that is the cardinallity of the set of all functions from \mathcal{K} to 2=\left\{0,1 \right\}. Equivalently, 2^{\mathcal{K}} is also the cardinality of the power set of \mathcal{K} (i.e. the set of all subsets of \mathcal{K}). If \mathcal{K}=\omega (the first infinite ordinal), then 2^\omega=c is the cardinality of the continuum.

If X is separable, then d(X)=\omega (as noted above) and we have 2^{d(X)}=c and 2^{2^{d(X)}}=2^c. Result 5 and Result 6 imply that 2^c is an upper bound for the cardinality of all compactifications of any separable space X and c is an upper bound of the weight of all compactifications of any separable space X.

In general, Result 5 and Result 6 indicate that the density of X bounds the cardinality of any compactification of X by two exponents and the density of X bounds the weight of any compactification of X by one exponent.

Another cardinal function related to weight is that of the network weight. A collection \mathcal{N} of subsets of the space X is said to be a network for X if for each point x \in X and for each open subset U of X with x \in U, there is some set A \in \mathcal{N} with x \in A \subset U. Note that sets in a network do not have to be open. However, any base for a topology is a network. The network weight of the space X is denoted by nw(X) and is defined to be the least cardinality of a network for X. Since any base is a network, we have nw(X) \le w(X). It is also clear that nw(X) \le \lvert X \lvert for any space X. Our interest in network and network weight is to facilitate the discussion of Lemma 2 below. It is a well known fact that in a compact space, the weight and the network weight are the same (see Result 5 in Spaces With Countable Network).
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Some Basic Facts

We need the following two basic results.

    Lemma 1
    Let X be a space. Let C(X) be the set of all continuous functions f:X \rightarrow \mathbb{R}. Then \lvert C(X) \lvert \le 2^{d(X)}.

    Lemma 2
    Let S be a space and let T be a compact space. Suppose that T is the continuous image of S. Then w(T) \le w(S).

Proof of Lemma 1
Let A \subset X be a dense set with \lvert A \lvert=2^{d(X)}. Let \mathbb{R}^A be the set of all functions from A to \mathbb{R}. Consider the map W:C(X) \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^A by W(f)= f \upharpoonright A. This is a one-to-one map since f=g whenever f and g agree on a dense set. Thus we have \lvert C(X) \lvert \le \lvert \mathbb{R}^A \lvert. Upon doing some cardinal arithmetic, we have \lvert \mathbb{R}^A \lvert=2^{d(X)}. Thus Lemma 1 is established. \blacksquare

Proof of Lemma 2
Let g:S \rightarrow T be a continuous function from S onto T. Let \mathcal{B} be a base for S such that \lvert \mathcal{B} \lvert=w(S). Let \mathcal{N} be the set of all g(B) where B \in \mathcal{B}. Note that \mathcal{N} is a network for T (since g is a continuous function). So we have nw(T) \le \lvert \mathcal{N} \lvert \le \lvert \mathcal{B} \lvert = w(S). Since T is compact, w(T)=nw(T) (see Result 5 in Spaces With Countable Network). Thus we have nw(T)=w(T) \lvert \le w(S). \blacksquare

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Results 1 and 2

Let X be a completely regular space. Let I be the unit interval [0,1]. We show that the Stone-Cech compactification \beta X can be regarded as a subspace of the product space I^{\mathcal{K}} where \mathcal{K}= 2^{d(X)} (the product of 2^{d(X)} many copies of I). The cardinality of I^{\mathcal{K}} is 2^{2^{d(X)}}, thus leading to Result 1.

Let C(X,I) be the set of all continuous functions f:X \rightarrow I. The Stone-Cech compactification \beta X is constructed by embedding X into the product space \prod \limits_{f \in C(X,I)} I_f where each I_f=I (see Embedding Completely Regular Spaces into a Cube or A Beginning Look at Stone-Cech Compactification). Thus \beta X is a subspace of I^{\mathcal{K}_1} where \mathcal{K}_1=\lvert C(X,I) \lvert.

Note that C(X,I) \subset C(X). Thus \beta X can be regarded as a subspace of I^{\mathcal{K}_2} where \mathcal{K}_2=\lvert C(X) \lvert. By Lemma 1, \beta X can be regarded as a subspace of the product space I^{\mathcal{K}} where \mathcal{K}= 2^{d(X)}.

To see Result 2, note that the weight of I^{\mathcal{K}} where \mathcal{K}= 2^{d(X)} is 2^{d(X)}. Then \beta X, as a subspace of the product space, must have weight \le 2^{d(X)}. \blacksquare

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Results 3 and 4

What drives Result 3 and Result 4 is the following theorem (established in Two Characterizations of Stone-Cech Compactification).

    Theorem C2
    Let X be a completely regular space. Among all compactifications of the space X, the Stone-Cech compactification \beta X of the space X is maximal with respect to the partial order \le.

    \text{ }

To define the partial order, for \alpha_1 X and \alpha_2 X, both compactifications of X, we say that \alpha_2 X \le \alpha_1 X if there is a continuous function f:\alpha_1 X \rightarrow \alpha_2 X such that f \circ \alpha_1=\alpha_2. See the following figure.

Figure 1

In this post, we use \le to denote this partial order as well as the order for cardinal numbers. Thus we need to rely on context to distinguish this partial order from the order for cardinal numbers.

Let \alpha X be a compactification of X. Theorem C2 indicates that \alpha X \le \beta X (partial order), which means that there is a continuous f:\beta X \rightarrow \alpha X such that f \circ \beta=\alpha (the same point in X is mapped to itself by f). Note that \alpha X is the image of \beta X under the function f:\beta X \rightarrow \alpha X. Thus we have \lvert \alpha X \lvert \le \lvert \beta X \lvert (cardinal number order). Thus Result 3 is established.

By Lemma 2, the existence of the continuous function f:\beta X \rightarrow \alpha X implies that w(\alpha X) \le w(\beta X) (cardinal number order). Thus Result 4 is established.

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Blog Posts on Stone-Cech Compactification

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Reference

  1. Engelking, R., General Topology, Revised and Completed edition, Heldermann Verlag, Berlin, 1989.
  2. Willard, S., General Topology, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1970.

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\copyright \ \ 2012

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