Compactification (mathematics) - Definition

Definition

An embedding of a topological space X as a dense subset of a compact space is called a compactification of X. It is often useful to embed topological spaces in compact spaces, because of the special properties compact spaces have.

Embeddings into compact Hausdorff spaces may be of particular interest. Since every compact Hausdorff space is a Tychonoff space, and every subspace of a Tychonoff space is Tychonoff, we conclude that any space possessing a Hausdorff compactification must be a Tychonoff space. In fact, the converse is also true; being a Tychonoff space is both necessary and sufficient for possessing a Hausdorff compactification.

The fact that large and interesting classes of non-compact spaces do in fact have compactifications of particular sorts makes compactification a common technique in topology.

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