A note on products of sequential fans

Two posts (the previous post and this post) are devoted to discussing the behavior of countable tightness in taking Cartesian products. The previous post shows that countable tightness behaves well in the product operation if the spaces are compact. In this post, we step away from the orderly setting of compact spaces. We examine the behavior of countable tightness in product of sequential fans. In this post, we show that countable tightness can easily be destroyed when taking products of sequential fans. Due to the combinatorial nature of sequential fans, the problem of determining the tightness of products of fans is often times a set-theoretic problem. In many instances, it is hard to determine the tightness of a product of two sequential fans without using extra set theory axioms beyond ZFC. The sequential fans is a class of spaces that have been studied extensively and are involved in the solutions of many problems that were seemingly unrelated. For one example, see [3].

For a basic discussion of countable tightness, see these previous post on the notion of tightness and its relation with free sequences. Also see chapter a-4 on page 15 of [4].

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Sequential fans

Let S be a non-trivial convergent sequence along with its limit point. For convenience, let \displaystyle S=\left\{0 \right\} \cup \left\{1, 2^{-1}, 3^{-1}, 4^{-1}, \cdots \right\}, considered as a subspace of the Euclidean real line. Let \kappa be a cardinal number. The set \kappa is usually taken as the set of all the ordinals that precede \kappa. The set \omega is the first infinite ordinal, or equivalently the set of all non-negative integers. Let \omega^\kappa be the set of all functions from \kappa into \omega.

There are several ways to describe a sequential fan. One way is to describe it as a quotient space. The sequential fan S(\kappa) is the topological sum of \kappa many copies of the convergent sequence S with all non-isolated points identified as one point that is called \infty. To make the discussion easier to follow, we also use the following formulation of S(\kappa):

    \displaystyle S(\kappa)=\left\{\infty \right\} \cup (\kappa \times \omega)

In this formulation, every point is \kappa \times \omega is isolated and an open neighborhood of the point \infty is of the form:

    \displaystyle B_f=\left\{\infty \right\} \cup \left\{(\alpha,n) \in \kappa \times \omega: n \ge f(\alpha) \right\} where f \in \omega^\kappa.

According to the definition of the open neighborhood B_f, the sequence (\alpha,0), (\alpha,1), (\alpha,2),\cdots converges to the point \infty for each \alpha \in \kappa. Thus the set (\left\{\alpha \right\} \times \omega) \cup \left\{\infty \right\} is a homeomorphic copy of the convergent sequence S. The set \left\{\alpha \right\} \times \omega is sometimes called a spine. Thus the space S(\kappa) is said to be the sequential fan with \kappa many spines.

The point \infty is the only non-isolated point in the fan S(\kappa). The set \mathcal{B}=\left\{B_f: f \in \omega^\kappa \right\} is a local base at the point \infty. The base \mathcal{B} is never countable except when \kappa is finite. Thus if \kappa is infinite, the fan S(\kappa) can never be first countable. In particular, for the fan S(\omega), the character at the point \infty is the cardinal number \mathfrak{d}. See page 13 in chapter a-3 of [4]. This cardinal number is called the dominating number and is introduced below in the section “The bounding number”. This is one indication that the sequential fan is highly dependent on set theory. It is hard to pinpoint the character of S(\omega) at the point \infty. For example, it is consistent with ZFC that \mathfrak{d}=\omega_1. It is also consistent that \mathfrak{d}>\omega_1.

Even though the sequential fan is not first countable, it has a relatively strong convergent property. If \infty \in \overline{A} and \infty \notin A where A \subset S(\kappa), then infinitely many points of A are present in at least one of the spine \left\{\alpha \right\} \times \omega (if this is not true, then \infty \notin \overline{A}). This means that the sequential fan is always a Frechet space. Recall that the space Y is a Frechet space if for each A \subset Y and for each x \in \overline{A}, there exists a sequence \left\{x_n \right\} of points of A converging to x.

Some of the convergent properties weaker than being a first countable space are Frechet space, sequential space and countably tight space. Let's recall the definitions. A space X is a sequential space if A \subset X is a sequentially closed set in X, then A is a closed set in X. The set A is sequentially closed in X if this condition is satisfied: if the sequence \left\{x_n \in A: n \in \omega \right\} converges to x \in X, then x \in A. A space X is countably tight (have countable tightness) if for each A \subset X and for each x \in \overline{A}, there exists a countable B \subset A such that x \in \overline{B}. See here for more information about these convergent properties. The following shows the relative strength of these properties. None of the implications can be reversed.

    First countable space \Longrightarrow Frechet space \Longrightarrow Sequential space \Longrightarrow Countably tight space

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Examples

The relatively strong convergent property of being a Frechet space is not preserved in products or squares of sequential fans. We now look at some examples.

Example 1
Consider the product space S(\omega) \times S where S is the convergent sequence defined above. The first factor is Frechet and the second factor is a compact metric space. We show that S(\omega) \times S is not sequential. To see this, consider the following subset A of S(\omega) \times S:

    \displaystyle A_f=\left\{(x,n^{-1}) \in S(\omega) \times S: n \in \omega \text{ and } x=(n,f(n)) \right\} \ \forall \ f \in \omega^\omega

    \displaystyle A=\bigcup_{f \in \omega^\omega} A_f

It follows that (\infty,0) \in \overline{A}. Furthermore, no sequence of points of A can converge to the point (\infty,0). To see this, let a_n \in A for each n. Consider two cases. One is that some spine \left\{m \right\} \times \omega contains the first coordinate of a_n for infinitely many n \in \omega. The second is the opposite of the first – each spine \left\{m \right\} \times \omega contains the first coordinate of a_n for at most finitely many n. Either case means that there is an open set containing (\infty,0) that misses infinitely many a_n. Thus the sequence a_n cannot converge to (\infty,0).

Let A_1 be the set of all sequential limits of convergent sequences of points of A. With A \subset A_1, we know that (\infty,0) \in \overline{A_1} but (\infty,0) \notin A_1. Thus A_1 is a sequentially closed subset of S(\omega) \times S that is not closed. This shows that S(\omega) \times S is not a sequential space.

The space S(\omega) \times S is an example of a space that is countably tight but not sequential. The example shows that the product of two Frechet spaces does not even have to be sequential even when one of the factors is a compact metric space. The next example shows that the product of two sequential fans does not even have to be countably tight.

Example 2
Consider the product space S(\omega) \times S(\omega^\omega). We show that it is not countably tight. To this end, consider the following subset A of S(\omega) \times S(\omega^\omega).

    \displaystyle S(\omega)=\left\{\infty \right\} \cup (\omega \times \omega)

    \displaystyle S(\omega^\omega)=\left\{\infty \right\} \cup (\omega^\omega \times \omega)

    \displaystyle A_f=\left\{(x,y) \in S(\omega) \times S(\omega^\omega): x=(n,f(n)) \text{ and } y=(f,j)  \right\} \ \forall \ f \in \omega^\omega

    \displaystyle A=\bigcup_{f \in \omega^\omega} A_f

It follows that (\infty,\infty) \in \overline{A}. We show that for any countable C \subset A, the point (\infty,\infty) \notin \overline{C}. Fix a countable C \subset A. We can assume that C=\bigcup_{i=1}^\infty A_{f_i}. Now define a function g \in \omega^\omega by a diagonal argument as follows.

Define g(0) such that g(0)>f_0(0). For each integer n>0, define g(n) such that g(n)>\text{max} \{ \ f_n(0),f_n(1),\cdots,f_n(n) \ \} and g(n)>g(n-1). Let O=B_g \times S(\omega^\omega). The diagonal definition of g ensures that O is an open set containing (\infty,\infty) such that O \cap C=\varnothing. This shows that the space S(\omega) \times S(\omega^\omega) is not countably tight.

Example 3
The space S(\omega_1) \times S(\omega_1) is not countably tight. In fact its tightness character is \omega_1. This fact follows from Theorem 1.1 in [2].

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The set-theoretic angle

Example 2 shows that S(\omega) \times S(\omega^\omega) is not countably tight even though each factor has the strong property of a Frechet space with the first factor being a countable space. The example shows that Frechetness behaves very badly with respect to the product operation. Is there an example of \kappa>\omega such that S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) is countably tight? In particular, is S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1) countably tight?

First off, if Continuum Hypothesis (CH) holds, then Example 2 shows that S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1) is not countably tight since the cardinality of \omega^{\omega} is \omega_1 under CH. So for S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1) to be countably tight, extra set theory assumptions beyond ZFC will have to be used (in fact the extra axioms will have to be compatible with the negation of CH). In fact, it is consistent with ZFC for S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1) to be countably tight. It is also consistent with ZFC for t(S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1))=\omega_1. We point out some facts from the literature to support these observations.

Consider S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) where \kappa>\omega_1. For any regular cardinal \kappa>\omega_1, it is possible that S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) is countably tight. It is also possible for the tightness character of S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) to be \kappa (of course in a different model of set theory). Thus it is hard to pin down the tightness character of the product S(\omega) \times S(\kappa). It all depends on your set theory. In the next section, we point out some facts from the literature to support these observations.

Example 3 points out that the tightness character of S(\omega_1) \times S(\omega_1) is \omega_1, i.e. t(S(\omega_1) \times S(\omega_1))=\omega_1 (this is a fact on the basis of ZFC only). What is t(S(\omega_2) \times S(\omega_2)) or t(S(\kappa) \times S(\kappa)) for any \kappa>\omega_1? The tightness character of S(\kappa) \times S(\kappa) for \kappa>\omega_1 also depends on set theory. We also give a brief explanation by pointing out some basic information from the literature.

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The bounding number

The tightness of the product S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) is related to the cardinal number called the bounding number denoted by \mathfrak{b}.

Recall that \omega^{\omega} is the set of all functions from \omega into \omega. For f,g \in \omega^{\omega}, define f \le^* g by the condition: f(n) \le g(n) for all but finitely many n \in \omega. A set F \subset \omega^{\omega} is said to be a bounded set if F has an upper bound according to \le^*, i.e. there exists some f \in \omega^{\omega} such that g \le^* f for all g \in F. Then F \subset \omega^{\omega} is an unbounded set if it is not bounded. To spell it out, F \subset \omega^{\omega} is an unbounded set if for each f \in \omega^{\omega}, there exists some g \in F such that g \not \le^* f.

Furthermore, F \subset \omega^{\omega} is a dominating set if for each f \in \omega^{\omega}, there exists some g \in F such that f \le^* g. Define the cardinal numbers \mathfrak{b} and \mathfrak{d} as follows:

    \displaystyle \mathfrak{b}=\text{min} \left\{\lvert F \lvert: F \subset \omega^{\omega} \text{ is an unbounded set} \right\}

    \displaystyle \mathfrak{d}=\text{min} \left\{\lvert F \lvert: F \subset \omega^{\omega} \text{ is a dominating set} \right\}

The cardinal number \mathfrak{b} is called the bounding number. The cardinal number \mathfrak{d} is called the dominating number. Note that continuum \mathfrak{c}, the cardinality of \omega^{\omega}, is an upper bound of both \mathfrak{b} and \mathfrak{d}, i.e. \mathfrak{b} \le \mathfrak{c} and \mathfrak{d} \le \mathfrak{c}. How do \mathfrak{b} and \mathfrak{d} relate? We have \mathfrak{b} \le \mathfrak{d} since any dominating set is also an unbounded set.

A diagonal argument (similar to the one in Example 2) shows that no countable F \subset \omega^{\omega} can be unbounded. Thus we have \omega < \mathfrak{b} \le \mathfrak{d} \le \mathfrak{c}. If CH holds, then we have \omega_1 = \mathfrak{b} = \mathfrak{d} = \mathfrak{c}. On the other hand, it is also consistent that \omega < \mathfrak{b} < \mathfrak{d} \le \mathfrak{c}.

We now relate the bounding number to the tightness of S(\omega) \times S(\kappa). The following theorem is from Theorem 1.3 in [3].

Theorem 1 – Theorem 1.3 in [3]
The following conditions hold:

  • For \omega \le \kappa <\mathfrak{b}, the space S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) is countably tight.
  • The tightness character of S(\omega) \times S(\mathfrak{b}) is \mathfrak{b}, i.e. t(S(\omega) \times S(\mathfrak{b}))=\mathfrak{b}.

Thus S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) is countably tight for any uncountable \kappa <\mathfrak{b}. In particular if \omega_1 <\mathfrak{b}, then S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1) is countably tight. According to Theorem 5.1 in [6], this is possible.

Theorem 2 – Theorem 5.1 in [6]
Let \tau and \lambda be regular cardinal numbers such that \omega_1 \le \tau \le \lambda. It is consistent with ZFC that \mathfrak{b}=\mathfrak{d}=\tau and \mathfrak{c}=\lambda.

Theorem 2 indicates that it is consistent with ZFC that the bounding number \mathfrak{b} can be made to equal any regular cardinal number. In the model of set theory in which \omega_1 <\mathfrak{b}, S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1) is countably tight. Likewise, in the model of set theory in which \omega_1 < \kappa <\mathfrak{b}, S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) is countably tight.

On the other hand, if the bounding number is made to equal an uncountable regular cardinal \kappa, then t(S(\omega) \times S(\kappa))=\kappa. In particular, t(S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1))=\omega_1 if \mathfrak{b}=\omega_1.

The above discussion shows that the tightness of S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) is set-theoretic sensitive. Theorem 2 indicates that it is hard to pin down the location of the bounding number \mathfrak{b}. Choose your favorite uncountable regular cardinal, there is always a model of set theory in which \mathfrak{b} is your favorite uncountable cardinal. Then Theorem 1 ties the bounding number to the tightness of S(\omega) \times S(\kappa). Thus the exact value of the tightness character of S(\omega) \times S(\kappa) depends on your set theory. If your favorite uncountable regular cardinal is \omega_1, then in one model of set theory consistent with ZFC, t(S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1))=\omega (when \omega_1 <\mathfrak{b}). In another model of set theory, t(S(\omega) \times S(\omega_1))=\omega_1 (when \omega_1 =\mathfrak{b}).

One comment about the character of the fan S(\omega) at the point \infty. As indicated earlier, the character at \infty is the dominating number \mathfrak{d}. Theorem 2 tells us that it is consistent that \mathfrak{d} can be any uncountable regular cardinal. So for the fan S(\omega), it is quite difficult to pinpoint the status of a basic topological property such as character of a space. This is another indication that the sequential fan is highly dependent on additional axioms beyond ZFC.

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The collectionwise Hausdorff property

Now we briefly discuss the tightness of t(S(\kappa) \times S(\kappa)) for any \kappa>\omega_1. The following is Theorem 1.1 in [2].

Theorem 3 – Theorem 1.1 in [2]
Let \kappa be any infinite regular cardinal. The following conditions are equivalent.

  • There exists a first countable < \kappa-collectionwise Hausdorff space which fails to be a \kappa-collectionwise Hausdorff space.
  • t(S(\kappa) \times S(\kappa))=\kappa.

The existence of the space in the first condition, on the surface, does not seem to relate to the tightness character of the square of a sequential fan. Yet the two conditions were proved to be equivalent [2]. The existence of the space in the first condition is highly set-theory sensitive. Thus so is the tightness of the square of a sequential fan. It is consistent that a space in the first condition exists for \kappa=\omega_2. Thus in that model of set theory t(S(\omega_2) \times S(\omega_2))=\omega_2. It is also consistent that there does not exist a space in the first condition for \kappa=\omega_2. Thus in that model, t(S(\omega_2) \times S(\omega_2))<\omega_2. For more information, see [3].

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Remarks

Sequential fans and their products are highly set-theoretic in nature and are objects that had been studied extensively. This is only meant to be a short introduction. Any interested readers can refer to the small list of articles listed in the reference section and other articles in the literature.

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Exercise

Use Theorem 3 to show that t(S(\omega_1) \times S(\omega_1))=\omega_1 by finding a space X that is a first countable < \omega_1-collectionwise Hausdorff space which fails to be a \omega_1-collectionwise Hausdorff space.

For any cardinal \kappa, a space X is \kappa-collectionwise Hausdorff (respectively < \kappa-collectionwise Hausdorff) if for any closed and discrete set A \subset X with \lvert A \lvert \le \kappa (repectively \lvert A \lvert < \kappa), the points in A can be separated by a pairwise disjoint family of open sets.

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Reference

  1. Bella A., van Mill J., Tight points and countable fan-tightness, Topology Appl., 76, (1997), 1-27.
  2. Eda K., Gruenhage G., Koszmider P., Tamano K., Todorčeviće S., Sequential fans in topology, Topology Appl., 67, (1995), 189-220.
  3. Eda K., Kada M., Yuasa Y., Tamano K., The tightness about sequential fans and combinatorial properties, J. Math. Soc. Japan, 49 (1), (1997), 181-187.
  4. Hart, K. P., Nagata J. I., Vaughan, J. E., editors, Encyclopedia of General Topology, First Edition, Elsevier Science Publishers B. V, Amsterdam, 2003.
  5. LaBerge T., Landver A., Tightness in products of fans and psuedo-fans, Topology Appl., 65, (1995), 237-255.
  6. Van Douwen, E. K., The Integers and Topology, Handbook of Set-Theoretic Topology (K. Kunen and J. E. Vaughan, eds), Elsevier Science Publishers B. V., Amsterdam, (1984) 111-167.

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\copyright \ 2015 \text{ by Dan Ma}

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