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In topology and related areas of mathematics, a quotient space (also called an identification space) is, intuitively speaking, the result of identifying or "gluing together" certain points of a given space. The points to be identified are specified by an equivalence relation. This is commonly done in order to construct new spaces from given ones.
## Definition

## Examples

## Properties

## Compatibility with other topological notions

## See also

### Topology

### Algebra

## References

Suppose X is a topological space and ~ is an equivalence relation on X. We define a topology on the quotient set X/~ (the set consisting of all equivalence classes of ~) as follows: a set of equivalence classes in X/~ is open if and only if their union is open in X. This is the quotient topology on the quotient set X/~.

Equivalently, the quotient topology can be characterized in the following manner: Let q : X → X/~ be the projection map which sends each element of X to its equivalence class. Then the quotient topology on X/~ is the finest topology for which q is continuous.

Given a surjective map f : X → Y from a topological space X to a set Y we can define the quotient topology on Y as the finest topology for which f is continuous. This is equivalent to saying that a subset V ⊆ Y is open in Y if and only if its preimage f^{−1}(V) is open in X. The map f induces an equivalence relation on X by saying x_{1}~x_{2} if and only if f(x_{1}) = f(x_{2}). The quotient space X/~ is then homeomorphic to Y (with its quotient topology) via the homeomorphism which sends the equivalence class of x to f(x).

In general, a surjective, continuous map f : X → Y is said to be a quotient map if Y has the quotient topology determined by f.

- Gluing. Often, topologists talk of gluing points together. If X is a topological space and points $x,y\; in\; X$ are to be "glued", then what is meant is that we are to consider the quotient space obtained from the equivalence relation a ~ b if and only if a = b or a = x, b = y (or a = y, b = x). The two points are henceforth interpreted as one point.
- Consider the unit square I
^{2}= [0,1]×[0,1] and the equivalence relation ~ generated by the requirement that all boundary points be equivalent, thus identifying all boundary points to a single equivalence class. Then I^{2}/~ is homeomorphic to the unit sphere S^{2}. - Adjunction space. More generally, suppose X is a space and A is a subspace of X. One can identify all points in A to a single equivalence class and leave points outside of A equivalent only to themselves. The resulting quotient space is denoted X/A. The 2-sphere is then homeomorphic to the unit disc with its boundary identified to a single point: D
^{2}/∂D^{2}. - Consider the set X = R of all real numbers with the ordinary topology, and write x ~ y if and only if x−y is an integer. Then the quotient space X/~ is homeomorphic to the unit circle S
^{1}via the homeomorphism which sends the equivalence class of x to exp(2πix). - A vast generalization of the previous example is the following: Suppose a topological group G acts continuously on a space X. One can form an equivalence relation on X by saying points are equivalent if and only if they lie in the same orbit. The quotient space under this relation is called the orbit space, denoted X/G. In the previous example G = Z acts on R by translation. The orbit space R/Z is homeomorphic to S
^{1}.

Warning: The notation R/Z is somewhat ambiguous. If Z is understood to be a group acting on R then the quotient is the circle. However, if Z is thought of as a subspace of R, then the quotient is an infinite bouquet of circles joined at a single point.

Quotient maps q : X → Y are characterized among surjective maps by the following property: if Z is any topological space and f : Y → Z is any function, then f is continuous if and only if f O q is continuous.

The quotient space X/~ together with the quotient map q : X → X/~ is characterized by the following universal property: if g : X → Z is a continuous map such that a~b implies g(a)=g(b) for all a and b in X, then there exists a unique continuous map f : X/~ → Z such that g = f O q. We say that g descends to the quotient.

The continuous maps defined on X/~ are therefore precisely those maps which arise from continuous maps defined on X that respect the equivalence relation (in the sense that they send equivalent elements to the same image). This criterion is constantly being used when studying quotient spaces.

Given a continuous surjection f : X → Y it is useful to have criteria by which one can determine if f is a quotient map. Two sufficient criteria are that f be open or closed. Note that these conditions are only sufficient, not necessary. It is easy to construct examples of quotient maps which are neither open nor closed.

- Separation
- In general, quotient spaces are ill-behaved with respect to separation axioms. The separation properties of X need not be inherited by X/~, and X/~ may have separation properties not shared by X.
- X/~ is a T1 space if and only if every equivalence class of ~ is closed in X.
- If the quotient map is open then X/~ is a Hausdorff space if and only if ~ is a closed subset of the product space X×X.
- Connectedness
- If a space is connected or path connected, then so are all its quotient spaces.
- A quotient space of a simply connected or contractible space need not share those properties.
- Compactness
- If a space is compact, then so are all its quotient spaces.
- A quotient space of a locally compact space need not be locally compact.
- Dimension
- The topological dimension of a quotient space can be more (as well as less) than the dimension of the original space; space-filling curves provide such examples.

- Stephen Willard, General Topology, (1970) Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading Massachusetts.

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Last updated on Friday September 19, 2008 at 15:40:45 PDT (GMT -0700)

View this article at Wikipedia.org - Edit this article at Wikipedia.org - Donate to the Wikimedia Foundation

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