In

mathematical analysisMathematical analysis, which mathematicians refer to simply as analysis, has its beginnings in the rigorous formulation of infinitesimal calculus. It is a branch of pure mathematics that includes the theories of differentiation, integration and measure, limits, infinite series, and analytic functions...

, a

metric spaceIn mathematics, a metric space is a set where a notion of distance between elements of the set is defined.The metric space which most closely corresponds to our intuitive understanding of space is the 3-dimensional Euclidean space...

*M* is called

**complete** (or

**Cauchy**) if every

Cauchy sequenceIn mathematics, a Cauchy sequence , named after Augustin-Louis Cauchy, is a sequence whose elements become arbitrarily close to each other as the sequence progresses...

of points in

*M* has a

limitThe limit of a sequence is, intuitively, the unique number or point L such that the terms of the sequence become arbitrarily close to L for "large" values of n...

that is also in

*M* or, alternatively, if every Cauchy sequence in

*M* converges in

*M*.

Intuitively, a space is complete if there are no "points missing" from it (inside or at the boundary). Thus, a

**complete metric space** is analogous to a

closed setIn geometry, topology, and related branches of mathematics, a closed set is a set whose complement is an open set. In a topological space, a closed set can be defined as a set which contains all its limit points...

. For instance, the set of

rational numberIn mathematics, a rational number is any number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction a/b of two integers, with the denominator b not equal to zero. Since b may be equal to 1, every integer is a rational number...

s is not complete, because e.g.

is "missing" from it, even though one can construct a Cauchy sequence of rational numbers that converges to it. (See the examples below.) It is always possible to "fill all the holes", leading to the

*completion* of a given space, as explained below.

## Examples

The space

**Q** of

rational numberIn mathematics, a rational number is any number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction a/b of two integers, with the denominator b not equal to zero. Since b may be equal to 1, every integer is a rational number...

s, with the standard metric given by the

absolute valueIn mathematics, the absolute value |a| of a real number a is the numerical value of a without regard to its sign. So, for example, the absolute value of 3 is 3, and the absolute value of -3 is also 3...

, is not complete. Consider for instance the sequence defined by

*x*_{1} := 1 and

*x*_{n+1} :=

*x*_{n}/2 + 1/

*x*_{n}.

This is a Cauchy sequence of rational numbers, but it does not converge towards any rational limit: If the sequence did have a limit

*x*, then necessarily

*x*^{2} = 2, yet no rational number has this property. However, considered as a sequence of

real numberIn mathematics, a real number is a value that represents a quantity along a continuum, such as -5 , 4/3 , 8.6 , √2 and π...

s, it does converge to the

irrational numberIn mathematics, an irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, where a and b are integers, with b non-zero, and is therefore not a rational number....

.

The

open intervalIn mathematics, a interval is a set of real numbers with the property that any number that lies between two numbers in the set is also included in the set. For example, the set of all numbers satisfying is an interval which contains and , as well as all numbers between them...

(0,1), again with the absolute value metric, is not complete either.

The sequence defined by

*x*_{n} = 1/

*n* is Cauchy, but does not have a limit in the given space.

However the closed interval [0,1] is complete; the given sequence does have a limit in this interval.

The space

**R** of real numbers and the space

**C** of

complex numberA complex number is a number consisting of a real part and an imaginary part. Complex numbers extend the idea of the one-dimensional number line to the two-dimensional complex plane by using the number line for the real part and adding a vertical axis to plot the imaginary part...

s (with the metric given by the absolute value) are complete, and so is

Euclidean spaceIn mathematics, Euclidean space is the Euclidean plane and three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, as well as the generalizations of these notions to higher dimensions...

**R**^{n}, with the usual distance metric.

In contrast, infinite-dimensional

normed vector spaceIn mathematics, with 2- or 3-dimensional vectors with real-valued entries, the idea of the "length" of a vector is intuitive and can easily be extended to any real vector space Rn. The following properties of "vector length" are crucial....

s may or may not be complete; those that are complete are

Banach spaceIn mathematics, Banach spaces is the name for complete normed vector spaces, one of the central objects of study in functional analysis. A complete normed vector space is a vector space V with a norm ||·|| such that every Cauchy sequence in V has a limit in V In mathematics, Banach spaces is the...

s. The space C[

*a*,

*b*] of

continuous real-valued functions on a closed and bounded intervalIn mathematical analysis, and especially functional analysis, a fundamental role is played by the space of continuous functions on a compact Hausdorff space with values in the real or complex numbers. This space, denoted by C, is a vector space with respect to the pointwise addition of functions...

is a Banach space, and so a complete metric space, with respect to the supremum norm. However, the supremum norm does not give a norm on the space C(

*a*,

*b*) of continuous functions on (

*a*,

*b*), for it may contain unbounded functions. Instead, with the topology of

compact convergenceIn mathematics compact convergence is a type of convergence which generalizes the idea of uniform convergence. It is associated with the compact-open topology.-Definition:...

, C(

*a*,

*b*) can be given the structure of a

Fréchet spaceIn functional analysis and related areas of mathematics, Fréchet spaces, named after Maurice Fréchet, are special topological vector spaces. They are generalizations of Banach spaces...

: a

locally convex topological vector spaceIn functional analysis and related areas of mathematics, locally convex topological vector spaces or locally convex spaces are examples of topological vector spaces which generalize normed spaces. They can be defined as topological vector spaces whose topology is generated by translations of ...

whose topology can be induced by a complete translation-invariant metric.

The space

**Q**_{p} of

*p*-adic numberIn mathematics, and chiefly number theory, the p-adic number system for any prime number p extends the ordinary arithmetic of the rational numbers in a way different from the extension of the rational number system to the real and complex number systems...

s is complete for any

prime numberA prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. For example 5 is prime, as only 1 and 5 divide it, whereas 6 is composite, since it has the divisors 2...

*p*.

This space completes

**Q** with the

*p*-adic metric in the same way that

**R** completes

**Q** with the usual metric.

If

*S* is an arbitrary set, then the set

*S*^{N} of all

sequenceIn mathematics, a sequence is an ordered list of objects . Like a set, it contains members , and the number of terms is called the length of the sequence. Unlike a set, order matters, and exactly the same elements can appear multiple times at different positions in the sequence...

s in

*S* becomes a complete metric space if we define the distance between the sequences (

*x*_{n}) and (

*y*_{n}) to be 1/

*N*, where

*N* is the smallest index for which

*x*_{N} is

distinct from

*y*_{N}, or 0 if there is no such index.

This space is homeomorphic to the

productIn topology and related areas of mathematics, a product space is the cartesian product of a family of topological spaces equipped with a natural topology called the product topology...

of a countable number of copies of the

discrete spaceIn topology, a discrete space is a particularly simple example of a topological space or similar structure, one in which the points are "isolated" from each other in a certain sense.- Definitions :Given a set X:...

*S*.

## Some theorems

A metric space

*X* is complete if and only if every decreasing sequence of non-empty closed subsets of

*X*, with diameters tending to 0, has a non-empty intersection: if

*F*_{n} is closed and non-empty, for every

*n*, and diam(

*F*_{n}) → 0, then there is a point

*x* ∈

*X* common to all sets

*F*_{n}.

Every

compactIn mathematics, specifically general topology and metric topology, a compact space is an abstract mathematical space whose topology has the compactness property, which has many important implications not valid in general spaces...

metric space is complete, though complete spaces need not be compact. In fact, a metric space is compact

if and only ifIn logic and related fields such as mathematics and philosophy, if and only if is a biconditional logical connective between statements....

it is complete and totally bounded. This is a generalization of the Heine-Borel Theorem, which states that any closed and bounded subspace

*S* of

**R**^{n} is compact and therefore complete.

A closed subspace of a complete space is complete.

http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/AClosedSubsetOfACompleteMetricSpaceIsComplete.html Conversely, a complete subset of a metric space is closed.

http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/ACompleteSubspaceOfAMetricSpaceIsClosed.html.

If

*X* is a set and

*M* is a complete metric space, then the set B(

*X*,

*M*) of all

bounded functionIn mathematics, a function f defined on some set X with real or complex values is called bounded, if the set of its values is bounded. In other words, there exists a real number M...

s

*ƒ* from

*X* to

*M* is a complete metric space. Here we define the distance in B(

*X*,

*M*) in terms of the distance in

*M* as

If

*X* is a

topological spaceTopological spaces are mathematical structures that allow the formal definition of concepts such as convergence, connectedness, and continuity. They appear in virtually every branch of modern mathematics and are a central unifying notion...

and

*M* is a complete metric space, then the set C

_{b}(

*X*,

*M*) consisting of all continuous bounded functions

*ƒ* from

*X* to

*M* is a closed subspace of B(

*X*,

*M*) and hence also complete.

The

Baire category theoremThe Baire category theorem is an important tool in general topology and functional analysis. The theorem has two forms, each of which gives sufficient conditions for a topological space to be a Baire space....

says that every complete metric space is a

Baire spaceIn mathematics, a Baire space is a topological space which, intuitively speaking, is very large and has "enough" points for certain limit processes. It is named in honor of René-Louis Baire who introduced the concept.- Motivation :...

. That is, the

unionIn set theory, the union of a collection of sets is the set of all distinct elements in the collection. The union of a collection of sets S_1, S_2, S_3, \dots , S_n\,\! gives a set S_1 \cup S_2 \cup S_3 \cup \dots \cup S_n.- Definition :...

of countably many nowhere dense subsets of the space has

emptyIn mathematics, and more specifically set theory, the empty set is the unique set having no elements; its size or cardinality is zero. Some axiomatic set theories assure that the empty set exists by including an axiom of empty set; in other theories, its existence can be deduced...

interiorIn mathematics, specifically in topology, the interior of a set S of points of a topological space consists of all points of S that do not belong to the boundary of S. A point that is in the interior of S is an interior point of S....

.

The

Banach fixed point theoremIn mathematics, the Banach fixed-point theorem is an important tool in the theory of metric spaces; it guarantees the existence and uniqueness of fixed points of certain self-maps of metric spaces, and provides a constructive method to find those fixed points...

states that a contraction mapping on a complete metric space admits a fixed point. The fixed point theorem is often used to prove the

inverse function theoremIn mathematics, specifically differential calculus, the inverse function theorem gives sufficient conditions for a function to be invertible in a neighborhood of a point in its domain...

on complete metric spaces such as Banach spaces.

The expansion constant of a metric space is the

infimumIn mathematics, the infimum of a subset S of some partially ordered set T is the greatest element of T that is less than or equal to all elements of S. Consequently the term greatest lower bound is also commonly used...

of all constants

such that whenever the family

intersects pairwise, the intersection

is nonempty. A metric space is complete if and only if its expansion constant is

.

## Completion

For any metric space

*M*, one can construct a complete metric space

*M*** (which is also denoted as ), which contains ****M*** as a dense subspace.*

It has the following universal propertyIn various branches of mathematics, a useful construction is often viewed as the “most efficient solution” to a certain problem. The definition of a universal property uses the language of category theory to make this notion precise and to study it abstractly.This article gives a general treatment...

: if N* is any complete metric space and *f* is any uniformly continuous function from *M* to *N*, then there exists a unique uniformly continuous function *f' * from *M' * to *N*, which extends *f*.*

The space M is determined

up toIn mathematics, the phrase "up to x" means "disregarding a possible difference in x".For instance, when calculating an indefinite integral, one could say that the solution is f "up to addition by a constant," meaning it differs from f, if at all, only by some constant.It indicates that...

isometryIn mathematics, an isometry is a distance-preserving map between metric spaces. Geometric figures which can be related by an isometry are called congruent.Isometries are often used in constructions where one space is embedded in another space...

by this property, and is called the

*completion* of

*M*.

The completion of

*M* can be constructed as a set of

equivalence classes of Cauchy sequences in

*M*. For any two Cauchy sequences (

*x*_{n})

_{n} and (

*y*_{n})

_{n} in

*M*, we may define their distance as

- d(
*x*,*y*) = lim_{n} d(*x*_{n},*y*_{n}).

(This limit exists because the real numbers are complete.) This is only a

pseudometricPseudometric may refer to:* Pseudo-Riemannian manifold* Pseudometric space...

, not yet a metric, since two different Cauchy sequences may have the distance 0. But "having distance 0" is an

equivalence relationIn mathematics, an equivalence relation is a relation that, loosely speaking, partitions a set so that every element of the set is a member of one and only one cell of the partition. Two elements of the set are considered equivalent if and only if they are elements of the same cell...

on the set of all Cauchy sequences, and the set of equivalence classes is a metric space, the completion of

*M*. The original space is embedded in this space via the identification of an element

*x* of

*M* with the equivalence class of sequences converging to

*x* (i.e. the equivalence class containing the sequence with constant value

*x*). This defines an

isometryIn mathematics, an isometry is a distance-preserving map between metric spaces. Geometric figures which can be related by an isometry are called congruent.Isometries are often used in constructions where one space is embedded in another space...

onto a dense subspace, as required. Notice, however, that this construction makes explicit use of the completeness of the real numbers,

so completion of the rational numbers needs a slightly different treatment.

CantorGeorg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor was a German mathematician, best known as the inventor of set theory, which has become a fundamental theory in mathematics. Cantor established the importance of one-to-one correspondence between the members of two sets, defined infinite and well-ordered sets,...

's construction of the real numbers is similar to the above construction; the real numbers are the completion of the rational numbers using the ordinary absolute value to measure distances. The additional subtlety to contend with is that it is not logically permissible to use the completeness of the real numbers in their own construction. Nevertheless, equivalence classes of Cauchy sequences are defined as above, and the set of equivalence classes is easily shown to be a

fieldIn abstract algebra, a field is a commutative ring whose nonzero elements form a group under multiplication. As such it is an algebraic structure with notions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, satisfying certain axioms...

that has the rational numbers as a subfield. This field is complete, admits a natural total ordering, and is the unique totally ordered complete field (up to isomorphism). It is

*defined* as the field of real numbers (see also Construction of the real numbers for more details). One way to visualize this identification with the real numbers as usually viewed is that the equivalence class consisting of those Cauchy sequences of rational numbers that "ought" to have a given real limit is identified with that real number. The truncations of the decimal expansion give just one choice of Cauchy sequence in the relevant equivalence class.

For a prime

*p*, the

*p*-adic numberIn mathematics, and chiefly number theory, the p-adic number system for any prime number p extends the ordinary arithmetic of the rational numbers in a way different from the extension of the rational number system to the real and complex number systems...

s arise by completing the rational numbers with respect to a different metric.

If the earlier completion procedure is applied to a

normed vector spaceIn mathematics, with 2- or 3-dimensional vectors with real-valued entries, the idea of the "length" of a vector is intuitive and can easily be extended to any real vector space Rn. The following properties of "vector length" are crucial....

, the result is a

Banach spaceIn mathematics, Banach spaces is the name for complete normed vector spaces, one of the central objects of study in functional analysis. A complete normed vector space is a vector space V with a norm ||·|| such that every Cauchy sequence in V has a limit in V In mathematics, Banach spaces is the...

containing the original space as a dense subspace, and if it is applied to an

inner product spaceIn mathematics, an inner product space is a vector space with an additional structure called an inner product. This additional structure associates each pair of vectors in the space with a scalar quantity known as the inner product of the vectors...

, the result is a

Hilbert spaceThe mathematical concept of a Hilbert space, named after David Hilbert, generalizes the notion of Euclidean space. It extends the methods of vector algebra and calculus from the two-dimensional Euclidean plane and three-dimensional space to spaces with any finite or infinite number of dimensions...

containing the original space as a dense subspace.

## Topologically complete spaces

Note that completeness is a property of the

*metric* and not of the

*topology*Topology is a major area of mathematics concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing...

, meaning that a complete metric space can be homeomorphic to a non-complete one.

An example is given by the real numbers, which are complete but homeomorphic to the open interval (0,1), which is not complete.

Another example is given by the

irrational numberIn mathematics, an irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, where a and b are integers, with b non-zero, and is therefore not a rational number....

s, which are not complete as a subspace of the real numbers but are homeomorphic to

**N**^{N} (see the sequence example in

*Examples* above).

In

topologyTopology is a major area of mathematics concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing...

one considers

**topologically complete** (or

**completely metrizable**)

**spaces**, spaces for which there exists at least one complete metric inducing the given topology.

Completely metrizable spaces can be characterized as those spaces that can be written as an

intersectionIn mathematics, the intersection of two sets A and B is the set that contains all elements of A that also belong to B , but no other elements....

of countably many open subsets of some complete metric space. Since the conclusion of the

Baire category theoremThe Baire category theorem is an important tool in general topology and functional analysis. The theorem has two forms, each of which gives sufficient conditions for a topological space to be a Baire space....

is purely topological, it applies to these spaces as well.

A topological space homeomorphic to a separable complete metric space is called a

Polish spaceIn the mathematical discipline of general topology, a Polish space is a separable completely metrizable topological space; that is, a space homeomorphic to a complete metric space that has a countable dense subset. Polish spaces are so named because they were first extensively studied by Polish...

.

## Alternatives and generalizations

Since

Cauchy sequenceIn mathematics, a Cauchy sequence , named after Augustin-Louis Cauchy, is a sequence whose elements become arbitrarily close to each other as the sequence progresses...

s can also be defined in general

topological groupIn mathematics, a topological group is a group G together with a topology on G such that the group's binary operation and the group's inverse function are continuous functions with respect to the topology. A topological group is a mathematical object with both an algebraic structure and a...

s, an alternative to relying on a metric structure for defining completeness and constructing the completion of a space is to use a group structure. This is most often seen in the context of

topological vector spaceIn mathematics, a topological vector space is one of the basic structures investigated in functional analysis...

s, but requires only the existence of a continuous "subtraction" operation. In this setting, the distance between two points

and

is gauged not by a real number

via the metric

in the comparison

, but by an open neighbourhood

of

via subtraction in the comparison

.

A common generalisation of these definitions can be found in the context of a

uniform spaceIn the mathematical field of topology, a uniform space is a set with a uniform structure. Uniform spaces are topological spaces with additional structure which is used to define uniform properties such as completeness, uniform continuity and uniform convergence.The conceptual difference between...

, where an entourage is a set of all pairs of points that are at no more than a particular "distance" from each other, and the

*uniform structure* is the given collection of entourages for the space and outline of the paper.

It is also possible to replace Cauchy

*sequences* in the definition of completeness by Cauchy

*nets* or Cauchy filters.

If every Cauchy net (or equivalently every Cauchy filter) has a limit in

*X*, then

*X* is called complete.

One can furthermore construct a completion for an arbitrary uniform space similar to the completion of metric spaces. The most general situation in which Cauchy nets apply is

Cauchy spaceIn general topology and analysis, a Cauchy space is a generalization of metric spaces and uniform spaces for which the notion of Cauchy convergence still makes sense. Cauchy spaces were introduced by H. H. Keller in 1968, as an axiomatic tool derived from the idea of a Cauchy filter, in order to...

s; these too have a notion of completeness and completion just like uniform spaces.

A topological space may be completely uniformisable without being completely metrisable; it is then still not topologically complete.