Compact-open topology

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In mathematics, the compact-open topology is a topology defined on the set of continuous maps between two topological spaces. The compact-open topology is one of the commonly used topologies on function spaces, and is applied in homotopy theory and functional analysis. It was introduced by Ralph Fox in 1945 [1].


Let Template:Mvar and Template:Mvar be two topological spaces, and let C(X, Y) denote the set of all continuous maps between Template:Mvar and Template:Mvar. Given a compact subset Template:Mvar of Template:Mvar and an open subset Template:Mvar of Template:Mvar, let V(K, U) denote the set of all functions f  ∈ C(X, Y) such that f (K) ⊂ U. Then the collection of all such V(K, U) is a subbase for the compact-open topology on C(X, Y). (This collection does not always form a base for a topology on C(X, Y).)

When working in the category of compactly generated spaces, it is common to modify this definition by restricting to the subbase formed from those Template:Mvar which are the image of a compact Hausdorff space. Of course, if Template:Mvar is compactly generated and Hausdorff, this definition coincides with the previous one. However, the modified definition is crucial if one wants the convenient category of compactly generated weak Hausdorff spaces to be Cartesian closed, among other useful properties.[1][2][3] The confusion between this definition and the one above is caused by differing usage of the word compact.


  • If * is a one-point space then one can identify C(*, X) with Template:Mvar, and under this identification the compact-open topology agrees with the topology on Template:Mvar.
  • If Template:Mvar is a locally compact Hausdorff (or preregular) space, then the evaluation map e : C(Y, Z) × YZ, defined by e( f , x) =  f (x), is continuous. This can be seen as a special case of the above where Template:Mvar is a one-point space.
  • If Template:Mvar is compact, and Template:Mvar is a metric space with metric Template:Mvar, then the compact-open topology on C(X, Y) is metrisable, and a metric for it is given by e( f , g) = sup{d( f (x), g(x)) : x in X}, for f , gC(X, Y).

Fréchet differentiable functions

Let Template:Mvar and Template:Mvar be two Banach spaces defined over the same field, and let C m(U, Y) denote the set of all Template:Mvar-continuously Fréchet-differentiable functions from the open subset UX to Template:Mvar. The compact-open topology is the initial topology induced by the seminorms

where D0f (x) =  f (x), for each compact subset KU.

See also


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