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Semmes - Real Analysis, Quantitative Topology, And Geometric Complexity

Semmes - Real Analysis, Quantitative Topology, And Geometric Complexity

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Real Analysis, Quantitative Topology, and
Geometric Complexity
Stephen Semmes
This survey originated with the John J. Gergen Memorial Lectures at
Duke University in January, 1998. The author would like to thank the Math-
ematics Department at Duke University for the opportunity to give these
lectures. See [Gro1, Gro2, Gro3, Sem12] for related topics, in somewhat
different directions.
Contents
1 Mappings and distortion 3
2 The mathematics of good behavior much of the time, and
the BMO frame of mind 10
3 Finite polyhedra and combinatorial parameterization prob-
lems 17
4 Quantitative topology, and calculus on singular spaces 26
5 Uniform rectifiability 36
5.1 Smoothness of Lipschitz and bilipschitz mappings . . . . . . . 42
5.2 Smoothness and uniform rectifiability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
5.3 A class of variational problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Appendices
A Fourier transform calculations 54
The author was partially supported by the National Science Foundation.
1
B Mappings with branching 56
C More on existence and behavior of homeomorphisms 59
C.1 Wildness and tameness phenomena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
C.2 Contractable open sets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
C.2.1 Some positive results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
C.2.2 Ends of manifolds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
C.3 Interlude: looking at infinity, or looking near a point . . . . . 72
C.4 Decomposition spaces, 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
C.4.1 Cellularity, and the cellularity criterion . . . . . . . . . 81
C.5 Manifold factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
C.6 Decomposition spaces, 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
C.7 Geometric structures for decomposition spaces . . . . . . . . . 89
C.7.1 A basic class of constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
C.7.2 Comparisons between geometric and topological prop-
erties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
C.7.3 Quotient spaces can be topologically standard, but ge-
ometrically tricky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
C.7.4 Examples that are even simpler topologically, but still
nontrivial geometrically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
C.8 Geometric and analytic results about the existence of good
coordinates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
C.8.1 Special coordinates that one might consider in other
dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
C.9 Nonlinear similarity: Another class of examples . . . . . . . . 118
D Doing pretty well with spaces which may not have nice co-
ordinates 118
E Some simple facts related to homology 125
References 137
2
1 Mappings and distortion
A very basic mechanism for controlling geometric complexity is to limit the
way that distances can be distorted by a mapping.
If distances are distorted by only a small amount, then one might think
of the mapping as being approximately “flat”. Let us look more closely at
this, and see what actually happens.
Let δ be a small positive number, and let f be a mapping from the
Euclidean plane R
2
to itself. Given two points x, y ∈ R
2
, let [x − y[ denote
the usual Euclidean distance between them. We shall assume that
(1 + δ)
−1
[x −y[ ≤ [f(x) −f(y)[ ≤ (1 + δ) [x −y[ (1.1)
for all x, y ∈ R
2
. This says exactly that f does not ever shrink or expand
distances by more than a factor of 1 + δ.
What does this really mean about the behavior of f? A first point is that
if δ were equal to 0, so that f does not distort distances at all, then f would
have to be a “rigid” mapping. This means that f could be expressed as
f(x) = A(x) + b, (1.2)
where b is an element of R
2
and A is a linear mapping on R
2
which is either a
rotation or a combination of a rotation and a reflection. This is well known,
and it is not hard to prove. For instance, it is not hard to show that the
assumption that f preserve distances implies that f takes lines to lines, and
that it preserve angles, and from there it is not hard to see that f must be
of the form (1.2) as above.
If δ is not equal to zero, then one would like to say that f is approximately
equal to a rigid mapping when δ is small enough. Here is a precise statement.
Let D be a (closed) disk of radius r in the plane. This means that there is a
point w ∈ R
2
such that
D = ¦x ∈ R
2
: [x −w[ ≤ r¦. (1.3)
Then there is a rigid mapping T : R
2
→ R
2
, depending on D and f, such
that
r
−1
sup
x∈D
[f(x) −T(x)[ ≤ small(δ), (1.4)
where small(δ) depends only on δ, and not on D or f, and has the property
that
small(δ) →0 as δ → 0. (1.5)
3
There are a number of ways to look at this. One can give direct construc-
tive arguments, through basic geometric considerations or computations. In
particular, one can derive explicit bounds for small(δ) in terms of δ. Re-
sults of this kind are given in [Joh]. There are also abstract and inexplicit
methods, in which one argues by contradiction using compactness and the
Arzela–Ascoli theorem. (In some related but different contexts, this can be
fairly easy or manageable, while explicit arguments and estimates are less
clear.)
The presence of the factor of r
−1
on the left side of (1.4) may not make
sense at first glance, but it is absolutely on target, and indispensable. It
reflects the natural scaling of the problem, and converts the left-hand side of
(1.4) into a dimensionless quantity, just as δ is dimensionless. One can view
this in terms of the natural invariances of the problem. Nothing changes here
if we compose f (on either side) with a translation, rotation, or reflection,
and the same is true if we make simultaneous dilations on both the domain
and the range of equal amounts. In other words, if a is any positive number,
and if we define f
a
: R
2
→R
2
by
f
a
(x) = a
−1
f(ax), (1.6)
then f
a
satisfies (1.1) exactly when f does. The approximation condition
(1.4) is formulated in such a way as to respect the same kind of invariances
as (1.1) does, and the factor of r
−1
accounts for the dilation-invariance.
This kind of approximation by rigid mappings is pretty good, but can we
do better? Is it possible that the approximation works at the level of the
derivatives of the mappings, rather than just the mappings themselves?
Here is another way to think about this, more directly in terms of dis-
tance geometry. Let us consider a simple mechanism by which mappings
that satisfy (1.1) can be produced, and ask whether this mechanism gives
everything. Fix a nonnegative number k, and call a mapping g : R
2
→ R
2
is k-Lipschitz if
[g(x) −g(y)[ ≤ k [x −y[ (1.7)
for all x, y ∈ R
2
. This condition is roughly equivalent to saying that the
differential of g has norm less than or equal to k everywhere. Specifically,
if g is differentiable at every point in R
2
, and if the norm of its differen-
tial is bounded by k everywhere, then (1.7) holds, and this can be derived
from the mean value theorem. The converse is not quite true, however,
because Lipschitz mappings need not be differentiable everywhere. They
4
are differentiable almost everywhere, in the sense of Lebesgue measure. (See
[Fed, Ste1, Sem12].) To get a proper equivalence one can consider derivatives
in the sense of distributions.
If f = S + g, where S is a rigid mapping and g is k-Lipschitz, and if
k ≤ 1/2 (say), then f satisfies (1.1) with δ = 2k. (More precisely, one can
take δ = (1 − k)
−1
− 1.) This is not hard to check. When k is small, this
is a much stronger kind of approximation of f by rigid mappings than (1.4)
is. In particular, it implies that the differential of f is uniformly close to the
differential of S.
To what extent can one go in the opposite direction, and say that if f
satisfies (1.1) with δ small, then f can be approximated by rigid mappings
in this stronger sense? Let us begin by looking at what happens with the
differential of f at individual points. Let x be some point in R
2
, and assume
that the differential df
x
of f at x exists. Thus df
x
is a linear mapping from
R
2
to itself, and
f(x) + df
x
(y −x) (1.8)
provides a good approximation to f(y) for y near x, in the sense that
[f(y) −¦f(x) + df
x
(y −x)¦[ = o([y −x[). (1.9)
One can also think of the differential as the map obtained from f by “blowing
up” at x. This corresponds to the formula
df
x
(v) = lim
t→0
t
−1
(f(x + tv) −f(x)), (1.10)
with t taken from positive real numbers.
It is not hard to check that df
x
, as a mapping on R
2
(with x fixed),
automatically satisfies (1.1) when f does. Because the differential is already
linear, standard arguments from linear algebra imply that it is close to a
rotation or to the composition of a rotation and a reflection when δ is small,
and with easy and explicit estimates for the degree of approximation.
This might sound pretty good, but it is actually much weaker than some-
thing like a representation of f as S + g, where S is a rigid mapping and g
is k-Lipschitz with a reasonably-small value of k. If there is a representation
of this type, then it means that the differential df
x
of f is always close to
the differential of S, which is constant, i.e., independent of x. The simple
method of the preceding paragraph implies that df
x
is always close to being
a rotation or a rotation composed with a reflection, but a priori the choice
5
of such a linear mapping could depend on x in a strong way. That is very
different from saying that there is a single linear mapping that works for
every x.
Here is an example which shows how this sort of phenomenon can happen.
(See also [Joh].) Let us work in polar coordinates, so that a point z in R
2
is represented by a radius r ≥ 0 and an angle θ. We define f : R
2
→ R
2
by
saying that if x is described by the polar coordinates (r, θ), then
f(x) has polar coordinates (r, θ + log r). (1.11)
Here is a small positive number that we get to choose. Of course f should
also take the origin to itself, despite the fact that the formula for the angle
degenerates there.
Thus f maps each circle centered at the origin to itself, and on each such
circle f acts by a rotation. We do not use a single rotation for the whole
plane, but instead let the rotation depend logarithmically on the radius, as
above. This has the effect of transforming every line through the origin into a
logarithmic spiral. This spiral is very “flat” when is small, but nonetheless
it does wrap around the origin infinitely often in every neighborhood of the
origin.
It is not hard to verify that this construction leads to a mapping f that
satisfies (1.1), with a δ that goes to 0 when does, and at an easily com-
putable (linear) rate. This gives an example of a mapping that cannot be
represented as S +g with S rigid and g k-Lipschitz for a fairly small value of
k (namely, k < 1). For if f did admit such a representation, it would not be
able to transform lines into curves that spiral around a fixed point infinitely
often; instead it would take a line L to a curve Γ which can be realized as
the graph of a function over the line S(L). The spirals that we get can never
be realized as a graph of a function over any line. This is not hard to check.
This spiralling is not incompatible with the kind of approximation by
rigid mappings in (1.4). Let us consider the case where D is a disk centered
at the origin, which is the worst-case scenario anyway. One might think that
(1.4) fails when we get too close to the origin (as compared to the radius
of D), but this is not the case. Let T be the rotation on R
2
that agrees
with f on the boundary of D. If is small (which is necessary in order for
the δ to be small in (1.1)), then T provides a good approximation to f on
D in the sense of (1.4). In fact, T provides a good approximation to f at
the level of their derivatives too on most of D, i.e., on the complement of a
6
small neighborhood of the origin. The approximation of derivatives breaks
down near the origin, but the approximation of values does not, as in (1.4),
because f and T both take points near the origin to points near the origin.
This example suggests another kind of approximation by rigid mappings
that might be possible. Given a disk D of radius r and a mapping f that
satisfies (1.1), one would like to have a rigid mapping T on R
2
so that (1.4)
holds, and also so that
1
πr
2

D
|df
x
−dT| dx ≤ small

(δ), (1.12)
where small

(δ) is, as before, a positive quantity which depends only on δ
(and not on f or D) and which tends to 0 when δ tends to 0. Here dx refers
to the ordinary 2-dimensional integration against area on R
2
, and we think
of df
x
− dT as a matrix-valued function of x, with |df
x
− dT| denoting its
norm (in any reasonable sense).
In other words, instead of asking that the differential of f be approxi-
mated uniformly by the differential of a rigid mapping, which is not true in
general, one can ask only that the differential of f be approximated by the
differential of T on average.
This does work, and in fact one can say more. Consider the expression
P(λ) = Probability(¦x ∈ D : |df
x
−dT| ≥ small

(δ) λ¦), (1.13)
where λ is a positive real number. Here “probability” means Lebesgue mea-
sure divided by πr
2
, which is the total measure of the disk D. The inequality
(1.12) implies that
P(λ) ≤
1
λ
(1.14)
for all λ > 0. It turns out that there is actually a universal bound for P(λ)
with exponential decay for λ ≥ 1. This was proved by John [Joh] (with
concrete estimates).
Notice that uniform approximation of the differential of f by the differ-
ential of T would correspond to a statement like
P(λ) = 0 (1.15)
for all λ larger than some fixed (universal) constant. John’s result of expo-
nential decay is about the next best thing.
7
As a technical point, let us mention that one can get exponential decay
conditions concerning the way that |df
x
−dT| should be small most of the
time in a kind of trivial manner, with constants that are not very good (at
all), using the linear decay conditions with good constants, together with the
fact that df is bounded, so that |df
x
−dT| is bounded. In the exponential
decay result mentioned above, the situation is quite different, and one keeps
constants like those from the linear decay condition. This comes out clearly
in the proof, and we shall see more about it later.
This type of exponential decay occurs in a simple way in the example
above, in (1.11). (This also comes up in [Joh].) One can obtain this from
the presence of log r in the angle coordinate in the image. The use of the
logarithm here is not accidental, but fits exactly with the requirements on
the mapping. For instance, if one differentiates log r in ordinary Cartesian
coordinates, then one gets a quantity of size 1/r, and this is balanced by the
r in the first part of the polar coordinates in (1.11), to give a result which is
bounded.
It may be a bit surprising, or disappointing, that uniform approximation
to the differential of f does not work here. After all, we did have “uniform”
(or “supremum”) bounds in the hypothesis (1.1), and so one might hope
to have the same kind of bounds in the conclusion. This type of failure of
supremum bounds is quite common, and in much the same manner as in the
present case. We shall return to this in Section 2.
How might one prove (1.12), or the exponential decay bounds for P(λ)?
Let us start with a slightly simpler situation. Imagine that we have a rec-
tifiable curve γ in the plane whose total length is only slightly larger than
the distance between its two endpoints. If the length of γ were equal to the
distance between the endpoints, then γ would have to be a straight line seg-
ment, and nothing more. If the length is slightly larger, then γ has to stay
close to the line segment that joins its endpoints. In analogy with (1.12), we
would like to say that the tangents to γ are nearly parallel, on average, to
the line that passes through the endpoints of γ.
In order to analyze this further, let z(t), t ∈ R, a ≤ t ≤ b, be a parame-
terization of γ by arclength. This means that z(t) should be 1-Lipschitz, so
that
[z(s) −z(t)[ ≤ [s −t[ (1.16)
for all s, t ∈ [a, b], and that [z

(t)[ = 1 for almost all t, where z

(t) denotes
8
the derivative of z(t). Set
ζ =
z(b) −z(a)
b −a
=
1
b −a

b
a
z

(t) dt. (1.17)
Let us compute
1
b −a

b
a
[z

(s) −ζ[
2
ds, (1.18)
which controls the average oscillation of z

(s). Let ', ` denote the standard
inner product on R
2
, so that
[x −y[
2
= 'x −y, x −y` = 'x, x` −2'x, y` +'y, y` (1.19)
= [x[
2
−2'x, y` +[y[
2
for all x, y ∈ R
2
. Applying this with x = z

(s), y = ζ, we get that
1
b −a

b
a
[z

(s) −ζ[
2
ds = 1 −2
1
b −a

b
a
'z

(s), ζ` ds +[ζ[
2
, (1.20)
since [z

(s)[ = 1 a.e., and ζ does not depend on s. The middle term on the
right side reduces to
2'ζ, ζ`, (1.21)
because of (1.17). Thus (1.20) yields
1
b −a

b
a
[z

(s) −ζ[
2
ds = 1 −2[ζ[
2
+[ζ[
2
= 1 −[ζ[
2
. (1.22)
On the other hand, [z(b) − z(a)[ is the same as the distance between the
endpoints of γ, and b − a is the same as the length of γ, since z(t) is the
parameterization of γ by arclength. Thus [ζ[ is exactly the ratio of the
distance between the endpoints of γ to the length of γ, by (1.17), and 1−[ζ[
2
is a dimensionless quantity which is small exactly when the length of γ and
the distance between its endpoints are close to each other (proportionately).
In this case (1.22) provides precise information about the way that z

(s) is
approximately a constant on average. (These computations follow ones in
[CoiMe2].)
One can use these results for curves for looking at mappings from R
2
(or
R
n
) to itself, by considering images of segments under the mappings. This
does not seem to give the proper bounds in (1.12), in terms of dependence
on δ, though. In this regard, see John’s paper [Joh]. (Compare also with
9
Appendix A.) Note that for curves by themselves, the computations above
are quite sharp, as indicated by the equality in (1.22). See also [CoiMe2].
The exponential decay of P(λ) requires more work. A basic point is
that exponential decay bounds can be derived in a very general way once
one knows (1.12) for all disks D in the plane. This is a famous result of
John and Nirenberg [JohN], which will be discussed further in Section 2. In
the present situation, having estimates like (1.12) for all disks D (and with
uniform bounds) is quite natural, and is essentially automatic, because of
the invariances of the condition (1.1) under translations and dilations. In
other words, once one has an estimate like (1.12) for some fixed disk D and
all mappings f which satisfy (1.1), one can conclude that the same estimate
works for all disks D, because of invariance under translations and dilations.
2 The mathematics of good behavior much
of the time, and the BMO frame of mind
Let us start anew for the moment, and consider the following question in
analysis. Let h be a real-valued function on R
2
. Let ∆ denote the Laplace
operator, given by
∆ =

2
∂x
2
1
+

2
∂x
2
2
, (2.1)
where x
1
, x
2
are the standard coordinates on R
2
. To what extent does the
behavior of ∆h control the behavior of the other second derivatives of h?
Of course it is easy to make examples where ∆h vanishes at a point but
the other second derivatives do not vanish at the same point. Let us instead
look for ways in which the overall behavior of ∆h can control the overall
behavior of the other second derivatives.
Here is a basic example of such a result. Let us assume (for simplicity)
that h is smooth and that it has compact support, and let us write ∂
1
and

2
for ∂/∂x
1
and ∂/∂x
2
, respectively. Then

R
2
[∂
1

2
h(x)[
2
dx ≤

R
2
[∆h(x)[
2
dx. (2.2)
This is a well-known fact, and it can be derived as follows. We begin with
the identity

R
2

1

2
h(x) ∂
1

2
h(x) dx =

R
2

2
1
h(x) ∂
2
2
h(x) dx, (2.3)
10
which uses two integrations by parts. On the other hand,

R
2
[∆h(x)[
2
dx =

R
2
(∂
2
1
h(x) + ∂
2
2
h(x))
2
dx (2.4)
=

R
2
(∂
2
1
h(x))
2
+ 2 ∂
2
1
h(x) ∂
2
2
h(x) + (∂
2
2
h(x))
2
dx.
Combining this with (2.3) we get that

R
2
[∆h(x)[
2
dx −2

R
2
[∂
1

2
h(x)[
2
dx (2.5)
=

R
2
(∂
2
1
h(x))
2
+ (∂
2
2
h(x))
2
dx.
This implies (2.2), and with an extra factor of 2 on the left-hand side, because
the right side of (2.5) is nonnegative. (One can improve this to get a factor
of 4 on the left side of (2.2), using the right-hand side of (2.5).)
In short, the L
2
norm of ∆h always bounds the L
2
norm of ∂
1

2
h. There
are similar bounds for L
p
norms when 1 < p < ∞. Specifically, for each p in
(1, ∞), there is a constant C(p) such that

R
2
[∂
1

2
h(x)[
p
dx ≤ C(p)

R
2
[∆h(x)[
p
dx (2.6)
whenever h is a smooth function with compact support. This is a typical
example of a “Calder´ on–Zygmund inequality”, as in [Ste1]. Such inequalities
do not work for p = 1 or ∞, and the p = ∞ case is like the question
of supremum estimates in Section 1. Note that the p = 1 and p = ∞
cases are closely connected to each other, because of duality (of spaces and
operators); the operators ∆ and ∂
1

2
here are equal to their own transposes,
with respect to the standard bilinear form on functions on R
2
(defined by
taking the integral of the product of two given functions). In a modestly
different direction, there are classical results which give bounds in terms of
the norm for H¨ older continuous (or Lipschitz) functions of order α, for every
α ∈ (0, 1), instead of the L
p
norm. To be explicit, given α, this norm for a
function g on R
2
can be described as the smallest constant A such that
[g(x) −g(y)[ ≤ A[x −y[
α
(2.7)
for all x, y ∈ R
2
. One can view this as a p = ∞ situation, like the L

norm for g, but with a positive order α of smoothness, unlike L

. There is
11
a variety of other norms and spaces which one can consider, and for which
there are results about estimates along the lines of (2.6), but for the norm in
question instead of the L
p
norm.
The p = ∞ version of (2.6) would say that there is a constant C such
that
sup
x∈R
2
[∂
1

2
h(x)[ ≤ C sup
x∈R
2
[∆h(x)[ (2.8)
whenever h is smooth and has compact support. In order to see that this is
not the case, consider the function h(x) given by
h(x) = x
1
x
2
log(x
2
1
+ x
2
2
), (2.9)
x = (x
1
, x
2
). It is not hard to compute ∆h and ∂
1

2
h explicitly, and to see
that ∆h is bounded while ∂
1

2
h is not. Indeed,

1

2
h(x) = log(x
2
1
+ x
2
2
) + bounded terms, (2.10)
while the logarithm does not survive in ∆h, because ∆(x
1
x
2
) ≡ 0.
This choice of h is neither smooth nor compactly supported, but these
defects can be corrected easily. For smoothness we can consider instead
h

(x) = x
1
x
2
log(x
2
1
+ x
2
2
+ ), (2.11)
where > 0, and then look at what happens as → 0. To make the support
compact we can simply multiply by a fixed cut-off function that does not
vanish at the origin. With these modifications we still get a singularity at
the origin as → 0, and we see that (2.8) cannot be true (with a fixed
constant C that does not depend on h).
This is exactly analogous to what happened in Section 1, i.e., with a
uniform bound going in but not coming out. Instead of a uniform bound for
the output, we also have a substitute in terms of “mean oscillation”, just as
before. To be precise, let D be any disk in R
2
of radius r, and consider the
quantity
1
πr
2

D
[∂
1

2
h(x) −Average
D
(∂
1

2
h)[ dx, (2.12)
where “Average
D

1

2
h” is the average of ∂
1

2
h over the disk D, i.e.,
Average
D
(∂
1

2
h) =
1
πr
2

D

1

2
h(u) du. (2.13)
12
Instead of (2.8), it is true that there is a constant C > 0 so that
1
πr
2

D
[∂
1

2
h(x) −Average
D
(∂
1

2
h)[ dx ≤ C sup
x∈R
2
[∆h(x)[ (2.14)
for every disk D in R
2
of radius r and every smooth function h with compact
support. This is not too hard to prove; roughly speaking, the point is to
“localize” the L
2
estimate that we had before. (More general results of this
nature are discussed in [GarcR, Jou, Ste2].)
Let us formalize this estimate by defining a new space of functions, namely
the space BMO of functions of bounded mean oscillation, introduced by John
and Nirenberg in [JohN]. A locally-integrable function g on R
2
is said to lie
in BMO if there is a nonnegative number k such that
1
πr
2

D
[g(x) −Average
D
(g)[ dx ≤ k (2.15)
for every disk D in R
2
of radius r. In this case we set
|g|

= sup
D
1
πr
2

D
[g(x) −Average
D
(g)[ dx, (2.16)
with the supremum taken over all disks D in R
2
. This is the same as saying
that |g|

is the smallest number k that satisfies (2.15). One refers to |g|

as the “BMO norm of g”, but notice that |g|

= 0 when g is equal to a
constant almost everywhere. (The converse is also true.)
This definition may look a little crazy, but it works quite well in practice.
Let us reformulate (2.14) by saying that there is a constant C so that
|∂
1

2
h|

≤ C |∆h|

, (2.17)
where |φ|

denotes the L

norm of a given function φ. In other words,
although the L

norm of ∂
1

2
h is not controlled (for all h) by the L

norm
of ∆h, the BMO norm of ∂
1

2
h is controlled by the L

norm of ∆h.
Similarly, one of the main points in Section 1 can be reformulated as
saying that if a mapping f : R
2
→ R
2
distorts distances by only a small
amount, as in (1.1), then the BMO norm |df|

of the differential of f is
small (and with precise estimates being available).
In Section 1 we mentioned a stronger estimate with exponential decay
in the measure of certain “bad” sets. This works for all BMO functions,
13
and can be given as follows. Suppose that g is a BMO function on R
2
with
|g|

≤ 1, and let D be a disk in R
2
with radius r. As in (1.13), consider the
“distribution function” P(λ) defined by
P(λ) = Probability(¦x ∈ D : [g(x) −Average
D
(g)[ ≥ λ¦), (2.18)
where “Probability” means Lebesgue measure divided by the area πr
2
of D.
Under these conditions, there is a universal bound for P(λ) with exponential
decay, i.e., an inequality of the form
P(λ) ≤ B
−λ
for λ ≥ 1, (2.19)
where B is a positive number greater than 1, and B does not depend on g
or D. This is a theorem of John and Nirenberg [JohN].
Although we have restricted ourselves to R
2
here for simplicity, everything
goes over in a natural way to Euclidean spaces of arbitrary dimension. In
fact, there is a much more general framework of “spaces of homogeneous
type” in which basic properties of BMO (and other aspects of real-variable
harmonic analysis) carry over. See [CoiW1, CoiW2], and compare also with
[GarcR, Ste2]. This framework includes certain Carnot spaces that arise in
several complex variables, like the unit sphere in C
n
with the appropriate
(noneuclidean) metric.
The exponential decay bound in (2.19) helps to make precise the idea that
BMO functions are very close to being bounded (which would correspond to
having P(λ) = 0 for all sufficiently large λ). The exponential rate of decay
implies that BMO functions lie in L
p
locally for all finite p, but it is quite a
bit stronger than that.
A basic example of a BMO function is log [x[. This is not hard to check,
and it shows that exponential decay in (2.19) is sharp, i.e., one does not have
superexponential decay in general. This example also fits with (2.10), and
with the “rotational” part of the differential of the mapping f in (1.11).
In general, BMO functions can be much more complicated than the loga-
rithm. Roughly speaking, the total “size” of the unboundedness is no worse
than for the logarithm, as in (2.19), but the arrangement of the singularities
can be more intricate, just as one can make much more complex singular
examples than in (2.9) and (1.11). There are a lot of tools available in har-
monic analysis for understanding exactly how BMO functions behave. (See
[GarcR, Garn, Jou, Ste2], for instance.)
14
BMO functions show up all over the place. One can reformulate the
basic scenario in this section with the Laplacian and ∂
1

2
by saying that the
pseudodifferential or singular integral operator

1

2

(2.20)
maps L

to BMO, and this holds for similar operators (of order 0) much
more generally (as in [GarcR, Garn, Jou, Ste2]). This will be discussed a bit
further in Appendix A. Note that the nonlinear problem in Section 1 has a
natural linearization which falls into this rubric. (See Appendix A.)
Sobolev embeddings provide another class of linear problems in which
BMO comes up naturally. One might wish that a function g on R
n
that
satisfies ∇g ∈ L
n
(R
n
) (in the sense of distributions) were bounded or con-
tinuous, but neither of these are true in general, when n > 1. However,
such a function g is always in BMO, and in the subspace VMO (“vanish-
ing mean oscillation”), in which the measurements of mean oscillation (as
in the left side of (2.15) when n = 2) tend to 0 as the radius r goes to 0.
This is a well-known analogue of continuity in the context of BMO. (See
[BrezN, GarcR, Garn, Sem12, Ste2].)
BMO arises in a lot of nonlinear problems, in addition to the one in Sec-
tion 1. For instance, there are circumstances in which one might wish that the
derivative of a conformal mapping in the complex plane were bounded, and it
is not, but there are natural estimates in terms of BMO. More precisely, it is
BMO for the logarithm of the derivative that comes up most naturally. This
is closely related to BMO conditions for tangents to curves under certain
geometric conditions. See [CoiMe1, CoiMe2, CoiMe3, Davi1, JerK1, Pom1,
Pom2, Pom3], for instance. Some basic computations related to the latter
were given in Section 1, near the end. In general dimensions (larger than 1),
BMO shows up naturally as the logarithm of the density for harmonic mea-
sure for Lipschitz domains, and for the logarithm of Jacobians of quasiconfor-
mal mappings. See [Dah1, Dah2, JerK2, Geh3, Rei, Ste2] and the references
therein. In all dimensions, there are interesting classes of “weights”, posi-
tive functions which one can use as densities for modifications of Lebesgue
measure, whose logarithms lie in BMO, and which in fact correspond to open
subsets of BMO (for real-valued functions). These weights have good proper-
ties concerning L
p
boundedness of singular integral and other operators, and
they also show up in other situations, in connection with conformal mappings
in the plane, harmonic measure, and Jacobians of quasiconformal mappings
15
in particular, as above. See [GarcR, Garn, Jou, Ste2, StrT] for information
about these classes of weights.
There is a simple reason for BMO functions to arise frequently as some
kind of logarithm. In many nonlinear problems there is a symmetry which
permits one to multiply some quantity by a constant without changing any-
thing in a significant way. (E.g., think of rescaling or rotating a domain, or
a mapping, or multiplying a weight by a positive constant.) At the level of
the logarithm this invariance is converted into a freedom to add constants,
and this is something that BMO accommodates automatically.
To summarize a bit, there are a lot of situations in which one has some
function that one would like to be bounded, but it is not, and for which
BMO provides a good substitute. One may not expect at first to have to
take measure theory into account, but then it comes up on its own, or works
in a natural or reasonable way.
Before leaving this section, let us return to the John–Nirenberg theorem,
i.e., the exponential decay estimate in (2.19). How might one try to prove
this? The first main point is that one cannot prove (2.19) for a particular
disk D using only a bound like (2.15) for that one disk. That would only
give a rate of decay on the order of 1/λ. Instead one uses (2.15) over and
over again, for many different disks.
Here is a basic strategy. Assume that g is a BMO function with |g|

≤ 1.
First use (2.15) for D itself (with k = 1) to obtain that the set of points x
in D such that
[g(x) −Average
D
(g)[ ≥ 10, (2.21)
is pretty small (in terms of probability). On the bad set where this happens,
try to make a good covering by smaller disks on which one can apply the
same type of argument. The idea is to then show that the set of points x in
D which satisfy
[g(x) −Average
D
(g)[ ≥ 10 + 10 (2.22)
is significantly smaller still, and by a definite proportion. If one can repeat
this forever, then one can get exponential decay as in (2.19). More precisely,
at each stage the size of the deviation of g(x) from Average
D
(g) will increase
by the addition of 10, while the decrease in the measure of the bad set will
decrease multiplicatively.
This strategy is roughly correct in spirit, but to carry it out one has to be
more careful in the choice of “bad” set at each stage, and in the transition
16
from one stage to the next. In particular, one should try to control the differ-
ence between the average of g over one disk and over one of the smaller disks
created in the next step of the process. As a practical matter, it is simpler to
work with cubes instead of disks, for the way that they can be decomposed
evenly into smaller pieces. The actual construction used is the “Calder´ on–
Zygmund decomposition”, which itself has a lot of other applications. See
[JohN, GarcR, Garn, Jou, Ste2, Sem12] for more information.
3 Finite polyhedra and combinatorial param-
eterization problems
Let us now forget about measure theory for the time being, and look at a
problem which is, in principle, purely combinatorial.
Fix a positive integer d, and let P be a d-dimensional polyhedron. We
assume that P is a finite union of d-dimensional simplices, so that P has
“pure” dimension d (i.e., with no lower-dimensional pieces sticking off on
their own).
Problem 3.1 How can one tell if P is a PL (piecewise-linear) manifold? In
other words, when is P locally PL-equivalent to R
d
at each point?
To be precise, P is locally PL-equivalent to R
d
at a point x ∈ P if there
is a neighborhood of x in P which is homeomorphic to an open set in R
d
through a mapping which is piecewise-linear.
This is really just a particular example of a general issue, concerning
existence and complexity of parameterizations of a given set. Problem 3.1 has
the nice feature that finite polyhedra and piecewise-linear mappings between
them can, in principle, be described in finite terms.
Before we try to address Problem 3.1 directly, let us review some prelim-
inary matters. It will be convenient to think of P as being like a simplicial
complex, so that it is made up of simplices which are always either disjoint
or meet in a whole face of some (lower) dimension. Thus we can speak about
the vertices of P, the edges, the 2-dimensional faces, and so on, up to the
d-dimensional faces.
Since P is a finite polyhedron, its local structure at any point is pretty
simple. Namely, P looks like a cone over a (d−1)-dimensional polyhedron at
every point. To make this precise, imagine that Q is some finite polyhedron
17
in some R
n
, and let z be a point in R
n
which is affinely-independent of Q,
i.e., which lies in the complement of an (affine) plane that contains Q. (We
can always replace R
n
with R
n+1
, if necessary, to ensure that there is such
a point.) Let c(Q) denote the set which consists of all rays in R
n
which
emanate from z and pass through an element of Q. We include z itself in
each of these rays. This defines the “cone over Q centered at z”. It does
not really depend on the choice of z, in the sense that a different choice of z
leads to a set which is equivalent to the one just defined through an invertible
affine transformation.
If x is a “vertex” of P, in the sense described above, then there is a
natural way to choose a (d − 1)-dimensional polyhedron Q so that P is the
same as the cone over Q centered at x in a neighborhood of x. Let us call Q
the link of P at x. (Actually, with this description Q is only determined up
to piecewise-linear equivalence, but this is adequate for our purposes.)
Now suppose that x is not a vertex. One can still realize P as a cone
over a (d−1)-dimensional polyhedron near x, but one can also do something
more precise. If x is not a vertex, then there is a positive integer k and
a k-dimensional face F of P such that x lies in the interior of F. In this
case there is a (d − k −1)-dimensional polyhedron Q such that P is locally
equivalent to R
k
c(Q) near x, with x in P corresponding to a point (y, z)
in R
k
c(Q), where z is the center of c(Q). This same polyhedron Q works
for all the points in the interior of F, and we call Q the link of F.
Basic Fact 3.2 P is everywhere locally equivalent to R
d
if and only if all of
the various links of P (of all dimensions) are piecewise-linearly equivalent to
standard spheres (of the same dimension).
Here the “standard sphere of dimension m” can be taken to be the bound-
ary of the standard (m + 1)-dimensional simplex.
Basic Fact 3.2 is standard and not hard to see. The “if” part is immediate,
since one knows exactly what the cone over a standard sphere looks like, but
for the converse there is a bit more to check. A useful observation is that
if Q is a j-dimensional polyhedron whose cone c(Q) is piecewise-linearly
equivalent to R
j+1
in a neighborhood of the center of c(Q), then Q must
be piecewise-linearly equivalent to a standard j-dimensional sphere. This
is pretty easy to verify, and one can use it repeatedly for the links of P of
codimension larger than 1. (A well-known point here is that one should be
careful not to use radial projections to investigate links around vertices, but
18
suitable pseudo-radial projections, to fit with the piecewise-linear structure,
and not just the topological structure.)
A nice feature of Basic Fact 3.2 is that it sets up a natural induction in
the dimensions, since the links of P always have dimension less than P. This
leads to the following question.
Problem 3.3 If Q is a finite polyhedron which is a k-dimensional PL man-
ifold, how can one tell if Q is a PL sphere of dimension k?
It is reasonable to assume here that Q is a PL-manifold, because of the
way that one can use Basic Fact 3.2 and induction arguments.
Problem 3.3 is part of the matter of the Poincar´e conjecture, which would
seek to say that Q is a PL sphere as soon as it is homotopy-equivalent to a
sphere. This has been established in all dimensions except 3 and 4. (Com-
pare with [RouS].) In dimension 4 the Poincar´e conjecture was settled by
M. Freedman [Fre] in the “topological” category (with ordinary homeomor-
phisms (continuous mappings with continuous inverses) and topological man-
ifolds), but it remains unknown in the PL case. The PL case is equivalent
to the smooth version in this dimension, and both are equivalent to the or-
dinary topological version in dimension 3. (A brief survey related to these
statements is given in Section 8.3 of [FreQ].) Although the Poincar´e conjec-
ture is known to hold in the PL category in all higher dimensions (than 4), it
does not always work in the smooth category, because of exotic spheres (as
in [Mil1, KerM]).
If the PL version of the Poincar´e conjecture is true in all dimensions, then
this would give one answer to the question of recognizing PL manifolds among
finite polyhedra in Problem 3.1. Specifically, our polyhedron P would be a
PL manifold if and only if its links are all homotopy-equivalent to spheres
(of the correct dimension).
This might seem like a pretty good answer, but there are strong difficulties
concerning complexity for matters of homotopy. In order for a k-dimensional
polyhedron Q to be a homotopy sphere, it has to be simply connected in
particular, at least when j ≥ 2. In other words, it should be possible to
continuously deform any loop in Q to a single point, or, equivalently, to take
any continuous mapping from a circle into Q and extend it to a continuous
mapping from a closed disk into Q. This extension can entail enormous
complexity, in the sense that the filling to the disk might have to be of much
greater complexity than the original loop itself.
19
This is an issue whose geometric significance is often emphasized by Gro-
mov. To describe it more precisely it is helpful to begin with some related
algebraic problems, concerning finitely-presented groups.
Let G be a group. A finite presentation of G is given by a finite list
g
1
, g
2
, . . . , g
n
of generators for G together with a finite set r
1
, r
2
, . . . , r
m
of
“relations”. The latter are (finite) words made out of the g
i
’s and their
inverses. Let us assume for convenience that the set of relations includes the
inverses of all of its elements, and also the empty word. The r
j
’s are required
to be trivial, in the sense that they represent the identity element of G. This
implies that arbitrary products of conjugates of the r
j
’s also represent the
identity element, and the final requirement is that if w is any word in the g
i
’s
and their inverses which represents the identity element in G, then it should
be possible to obtain w from some product of conjugates of the r
j
’s through
cancellations of subwords of the form g
−1
i
g
i
and g
i
g
−1
i
.
For instance, the group Z
2
can be described by two generators a, b and
one relation, aba
−1
b
−1
. As another concrete example, there is the (Baumslag–
Solitar) group with two generators x, y and one relation x
2
yx
−1
y
−1
.
Suppose that a group G and finite presentation of G are given and fixed,
and let w be a word in the generators of G and their inverses. Given this
information, how can one decide whether w represents the identity element
in G? This is called “the word problem” (for G). It is a famous result that
there exist finite presentations of groups for which there is no algorithm to
solve the word problem. (See [Man].)
To understand what this really means, let us first notice that the set of
trivial words for the given presentation is “recursively enumerable”. This
means that there is an algorithm for listing all of the trivial words. To do
this, one simply has to have the algorithm systematically generate all possible
conjugates of the relations, all possible products of conjugates of relations,
and all possible words derived from these through cancellations as above.
In this way the algorithm will constantly generate trivial words, and every
trivial word will eventually show up on the list.
However, this does not give a finite procedure for determining that a given
word is not trivial. A priori one cannot conclude that a given word is not
trivial until one goes through the entire list of trivial words.
The real trouble comes from the cancellations. In order to establish the
triviality of a given word w, one might have to make derivations through
words which are enormously larger, with a lot of collapsing at the end. If one
had a bound for the size of the words needed for at least one derivation of the
20
triviality of a given word w, a bound in terms of an effectively computable
(or “recursive”) function of the length of w, then the word problem would
be algorithmically solvable. One could simply search through all derivations
of at most a computable size.
This would not be very efficient, but it would be an algorithm. As it is,
even this does not always work, and there are finitely-presented groups for
which the derivations of triviality may need to involve words of nonrecursive
size compared to the given word.
One should keep in mind that for a given group and a given presentation
there is always some function f(n) on the positive integers so that trivial
words of length at most n admit derivations of their triviality through words
of size no greater than f(n). This is true simply because there are only
finitely many words of size at most n, and so one can take f(n) to be the
maximum size incurred in some finite collection of derivations. The point is
that such a function f may not be bounded by a recursive function. This
means that f could be really huge, larger than any tower of exponentials, for
instance.
The same kind of phenomenon occurs geometrically, for deciding whether
a loop in a given polyhedron can be continuously contracted to a point.
This is because any finite presentation of a group G can be coded into a
finite polyhedron, in such a way that the group G is represented by the
fundamental group of the polyhedron. This is a well-known construction in
topology.
Note that while the fundamental group of a space is normally defined in
terms of continuous (based) loops in the space and the continuous deforma-
tions between them, in the case of finite polyhedra it is enough to consider
polygonal loops and deformations which are piecewise-linear (in addition to
being continuous). This is another standard fact, and it provides a convenient
way to think about complexity for loops and their deformations.
Although arbitrary finite presentations can be coded into finite polyhedra,
as mentioned above, this is not the same as saying that they can be coded
into compact manifolds. It turns out that this does work when the dimension
is at least 4, i.e., for each n ≥ 4 it is true that every finite presentation can be
coded into a compact PL manifold of dimension n. This type of coding can be
used to convert algorithmic unsolvability results for problems in group theory
into algorithmic unsolvability statements in topology. For instance, there
does not exist an algorithm to decide when a given finite presentation for a
group actually defines the trivial group, and, similarly, there does not exist
21
an algorithm for deciding when a given manifold (of dimension at least 4) is
simply-connected. See [BooHP, Mark1, Mark2, Mark3] for more information
and results.
Let us mention that in dimensions 3 and less, it is not true that arbitrary
finitely-presented groups can be realized as fundamental groups of compact
manifolds. Fundamental groups of manifolds are very special in dimensions
1 and 2, as is well known. The situation in dimension 3 is more compli-
cated, but there are substantial restrictions on the groups that can arise
as fundamental groups. As an aspect of this, one can look at restrictions
related to Poincar´e duality. In a different vein, the fundamental group of a
3-dimensional manifold has the property that all of its finitely-generated sub-
groups are finitely-presented. See [Sco], and Theorem 8.2 on p70 of [Hem1].
See also [Jac]. In another direction, there are relatively few abelian groups
which can arise as subgroups of fundamental groups of 3-dimensional mani-
folds. See [Eps, EvaM], Theorems 9.13 and 9.14 on p84f of [Hem1], and p67-9
of [Jac]. At any rate, it is a large open problem to know exactly what groups
arise as fundamental groups of 3-dimensional manifolds.
See also [Thu] and Chapter 12 of [Eps+] concerning these groups. The
book [Eps+] treats a number of topics related to computability and groups,
and not just in connection with fundamental groups of 3-manifolds. This
includes broad classes of groups for which positive results and methods are
available. See [Far] as well in this regard.
Beginning in dimension 5, it is known that there is no algorithm for
deciding when a compact PL manifold is piecewise-linearly equivalent to a
standard (PL) sphere. This is a result of S. Novikov. See Section 10 of
[VolKF], and also the appendix to [Nab]. (Note that in dimensions less than
or equal to 3, such algorithms do exist. This is classical for dimensions 1,
2; see [Rub1, Rub2, Tho] concerning dimension 3, and related problems and
results.) Imagine that we have a PL manifold M of some dimension n whose
equivalence to a standard sphere is true but “hard” to check. According to
the solution of the Poincar´e conjecture in these dimensions, M will be equiv-
alent to an n-sphere if it is homotopy-equivalent to S
n
. For standard reasons
of algebraic topology, this will happen exactly when M is simply-connected
and has trivial homology in dimensions 2 through n − 1. (Specifically, this
uses Theorem 9 and Corollary 24 on pages 399 and 405, respectively, of [Spa].
It also uses the existence of a degree-1 mapping from M to S
n
to get started
(i.e., to have a mapping to which the aforementioned results can be applied),
and the fact that the homology of M and S
n
vanish in dimensions larger
22
than n, and are equal to Z in dimension n. To obtain the degree-1 mapping
from M to S
n
, one can start with any point in M and a neighborhood of that
point which is homeomorphic to a ball. One then collapses the complement of
that neighborhood to a point, which gives rise to the desired mapping.) The
vanishing of homology can be determined algorithmically, and so if the equiv-
alence of M with an n-sphere is “hard” for algorithmic verification, then the
problem must occur already with the simple-connectivity of M. (Concerning
this statement about homology, see Appendix E.)
To determine whether M is simply-connected it is enough to check that a
finite number of loops in M can be contracted to a point, i.e., some collection
of generators for the fundamental group. If this is “hard”, then it means
that the complexity of the contractions should be enormous compared to the
complexity of M. For if there were a bound in terms of a recursive function,
then one could reverse the process and use this to get an algorithm which
could decide whether M is PL equivalent to a sphere, and this is not possible.
If M is a hard example of a PL manifold which is equivalent to an n-
sphere, then any mapping from M to the sphere which realizes this equiv-
alence must necessarily be of very high complexity as well. Because of the
preceding discussion, this is also true for mappings which are homotopy-
equivalences, or even which merely induce isomorphisms on π
1
, if one includes
as part of the package of data enough information to justify the condition
that the induced mapping on π
1
be an isomorphism. (For a homotopy equiva-
lence, for instance, one could include the mapping f from M to the n-sphere,
a mapping g from the n-sphere to M which is a homotopy-inverse to f, and
mappings which give homotopies between f ◦ g and g ◦ f to the identity
on the n-sphere and M, respectively.) This is because one could use the
mapping to reduce the problem of contracting a loop in M to a point to
the corresponding problem for the n-sphere, where the matter of bounds is
straightforward.
Similar considerations apply to the problem of deciding when a finite
polyhedron P is a PL manifold. Indeed, given a PL manifold M whose
equivalence to a sphere is in question, one can use it to make a new poly-
hedron P by taking the “suspension” of M. This is defined by taking two
points y and z which lie outside of a plane that contains M, and then taking
the union of all of the (closed) line segments that go from either of y or z
to a point in M. One should also be careful to choose y and z so that these
line segments never meet, except in the trivial case of line segments from y
and z to the same point x in M, with x being the only point of intersection
23
of the two segments. (One can imagine y and z as lying on “opposite sides”
of an affine plane that contains M.)
If M is equivalent to a sphere, then this operation of suspension produces
a PL manifold equivalent to the sphere of 1 larger dimension, as one can
easily check. If M is not PL equivalent to a sphere, then the suspension P
of M is not a PL manifold at all. This is because M is the link of P at the
vertices y and z, by construction, so that one is back to the situation of Basic
Fact 3.2.
Just as there are PL manifolds M whose equivalence with a sphere is
hard, the use of the suspension shows that there are polyhedra P for which
the property of being a PL manifold is hard to establish. Through the type
of arguments outlined above, when PL coordinates exist for a polyhedron P,
they may have to be of enormous complexity compared to the complexity
of P itself. This works more robustly than just for PL coordinates, i.e., for
any information which is strong enough to give the simple-connectivity of
the links of P. Again, this follows the discussion above.
We have focussed on piecewise-linear coordinates for finite polyhedra for
the sake of simplicity, but similar themes of complexity come up much more
generally, and in a number of different ways. In particular, existence and
complexity of parameterizations is often related in a strong manner to the
behavior of something like π
1
, sometimes in a localized form, as with the
links of a polyhedron. For topology of manifolds in high dimensions, π
1
and
the filling of loops with disks comes up in the Whitney lemma, for instance.
This concerns the separation of crossings of submanifolds through the use
of embedded 2-dimensional disks, and it can be very useful for making some
geometric constructions. (A very nice brief review of some of these matters is
given in Section 1.2 of [DonK].) Localized π
1
-type conditions play a crucial
role in taming theorems in geometric topology. Some references related to
this are [Bin5, Bin6, Bin8, Bur, BurC, Can1, Can2, Dave1, Dave2, Edw1,
Moi, Rus1, Rus2].
In Appendix C, we shall review some aspects of geometric topology and
the existence and behavior of parameterizations, and the role of localized
versions of fundamental groups in particular.
As another type of example, one has the famous “double suspension”
results of Edwards and Cannon [Can1, Can3, Dave2, Edw2]. Here one starts
with a finite polyhedron H which is a manifold with the same homology as
a sphere of the same dimension, and one takes the suspension (described
above) of the suspension of H to get a new polyhedron K. The result is
24
that K is actually homeomorphic to a sphere. A key point is that H is not
required to be simply-connected. When π
1
(H) = 0, it is not possible for the
homeomorphism from K to a standard sphere to be piecewise-linear, or even
Lipschitz (as in (1.7)). Concerning the latter, see [SieS]. Not much is known
about the complexity of the homeomorphisms in this case. (We shall say a
bit more about this in Section 5 and Subsection C.5.)
Note that if J is obtained as a single suspension of H, and if π
1
(H) = 0,
then J cannot be a topological manifold at all (at least if the dimension of H
is at least 2). Indeed, if M is a topological manifold of dimension n, then for
every point p in M there are arbitrarily small neighborhoods U of p which are
homeomorphic to an open n-ball, and U`¦p¦ must then be simply-connected
when n ≥ 3. This cannot work for the suspension J of H when π
1
(H) = 0,
with p taken to be one of the two cone points introduced in the suspension
construction.
However, J has the advantage over H that it is simply-connected. This
comes from the process of passing to the suspension (and the fact that H
should be connected, since it has the same homology as a sphere). It is for
this reason that the cone points of K do not have the same trouble as in J
itself, with no small deleted neighborhoods which are simply-connected. The
singularities at the cone points in J lead to trouble with the codimension-2
links in K, but this turns out not to be enough to prevent K from being a
topological manifold, or a topological sphere. It does imply that the home-
omorphisms involved have to distort distances in a very strong way, as in
[SieS].
In other words, local homeomorphic coordinates for K do exist, but
they are necessarily much more complicated than PL homeomorphisms, even
though K is itself a finite polyhedron. As above, there is also a global home-
omorphism from K to a sphere. The first examples of finite polyhedra which
are homeomorphic to each other but not piecewise-linearly equivalent were
given by Milnor [Mil2]. See also [Sta2]. This is the “failure of the Hauptver-
mutung” (in general). These polyhedra are not PL manifolds, and it turns
out that there are examples of compact PL manifolds which are homeomor-
phic but not piecewise-linearly equivalent too. See [Sie2] for dimensions 5
and higher, and [DonK, FreQ] for dimension 4. In dimensions 3 and lower,
this does not happen [Moi, Bin6]. The examples in [Mil2, Sta2, Sie2] involved
non-PL homeomorphisms whose behavior is much milder than in the case of
double-suspension spheres. There are general results in this direction for PL
manifolds (and more broadly) in dimensions greater than or equal to 5. See
25
[Sul1, SieS]. Analogous statements fail in dimension 4, by [DonS].
Some other examples where homeomorphic coordinates do not exist, or
necessarily have complicated behavior, even though the geometry behaves
well in other ways, are given in [Sem7, Sem8].
See [DaviS4, HeiS, HeiY, M¨ ul
ˇ
S, Sem3, Tor1, Tor2] for some related topics
concerning homeomorphisms and bounds for their behavior.
One can try to avoid difficulties connected to π
1
by using mappings with
branching rather than homeomorphisms. This is discussed further in Ap-
pendix B.
Questions of algorithmic undecidability in topology have been revisited
in recent years, in particular by Nabutovsky and Weinberger. See [NabW1,
NabW2], for instance, and the references therein.
4 Quantitative topology, and calculus on sin-
gular spaces
One of the nice features of Euclidean spaces is that it is easy to work with
functions, derivatives, and integrals. Here is a basic example of this. Let f
be a real-valued function on R
n
which is continuously differentiable and has
compact support, and fix a point x ∈ R
n
. Then
[f(x)[ ≤
1
ν
n

R
n
1
[x −y[
n−1
[∇f(y)[ dy, (4.1)
where ν
n
denotes the (n − 1)-dimensional volume of the unit sphere in R
n
,
and dy refers to ordinary n-dimensional volume.
This inequality provides a way to say that the values of a function are
controlled by averages of its derivative. In this respect it is like Sobolev and
isoperimetric inequalities, to which we shall return in a moment.
To prove (4.1) one can proceed as follows (as on p125 of [Ste1]). Let v be
any element of R
n
with [v[ = 1. Then
f(x) = −


0

∂t
f(x + tv) dt, (4.2)
by the fundamental theorem of calculus. Thus
[f(x)[ ≤


0
[∇f(x + tv)[ dt. (4.3)
26
This is true for every v in the unit sphere of R
n
, and by averaging over these
v’s one can derive (4.1) from (4.3).
To put this into perspective, it is helpful to look at a situation where
analogous inequalities make sense but fail to hold. Imagine that one is inter-
ested in inequalities like (4.1), but for 2-dimensional surfaces in R
3
instead of
Euclidean spaces themselves. Let S be a smoothly embedded 2-dimensional
submanifold of R
3
which looks like a 2-plane with a bubble attached to it.
Specifically, let us start with the union of a 2-plane P and a standard (round)
2-dimensional sphere Σ which is tangent to P at a single point z. Then cut
out a little neighborhood of z, and glue in a small “neck” as a bridge between
the plane and the sphere to get a smooth surface S.
If the neck in S is very small compared to the size of Σ, then this is bad
for an inequality like (4.1). Indeed, let x be the point on Σ which is exactly
opposite from z, and consider a smooth function f which is equal to 1 on most
of Σ (and at x in particular) and equal to 0 on most of P. More precisely,
let us choose f so that its gradient is concentrated near the bridge between
Σ and P. If f makes the transition from vanishing to being 1 in a reasonable
manner, then the integral of [∇f[ on S will be very small. This is not hard
to check, and it is bad for having an inequality like (4.1), since the left-hand
side would be 1 and the right-hand side would be small. In particular, one
could not have uniform bounds that would work for arbitrarily small bridges
between P and Σ.
The inequality (4.1) is a relative of the usual Sobolev and isoperimetric
inequalities, which say the following. Fix a dimension n again, and an ex-
ponent p that satisfies 1 ≤ p < n. Define q by 1/q = 1/p − 1/n, so that
p < q < ∞. The Sobolev inequalities assert the existence of a constant
C(n, p) such that

R
n
[f(x)[
q
dx
1
q
≤ C(n, p)

R
n
[∇f(x)[
p
dx
1
p
(4.4)
for all functions f on R
n
that are continuously differentiable and have com-
pact support. One can also allow more general functions, with ∇f interpreted
in the sense of distributions.
The isoperimetric inequality states that if D is a domain in R
n
(which is
bounded and has reasonably smooth boundary, say), then
n-dimensional volume of D (4.5)
≤ C(n) ((n −1)-dimensional volume of ∂D)
n
n−1
.
27
This is really just a special case of (4.4), with p = 1 and f taken to be the
characteristic function of D (i.e., the function that is equal to 1 on D and 0
on the complement of D). In this case ∇f is a (vector-valued) measure, and
the right-hand side of (4.4) should be interpreted accordingly. Conversely,
Sobolev inequalities for all p can be derived from isoperimetric inequalities,
by applying the latter to sets of the form
¦x ∈ R
n
: [f(x)[ > t¦, (4.6)
and then making suitable integrations in t.
The sharp version of the isoperimetric inequality states that (4.5) holds
with the constant C(n) that gives equality in the case of a ball. See [Fed].
One can also determine sharp constants for (4.4), as on p39 of [Aub].
Note that the choice of the exponent n/(n −1) in the right side of (4.5)
is determined by scaling considerations, i.e., in looking what happens to the
two sides of (4.5) when one dilates the domain D by a positive factor. The
same is true of the relationship between p and q in (4.4), and the power n−1
in the kernel on the right side of (4.1).
The inequality (4.1) is a basic ingredient in one of the standard methods
for proving Sobolev and isoperimetric inequalities (but not necessarily with
sharp constants). Roughly speaking, once one has (4.1), the rest of the
argument works at a very general level of integral operators on measure
spaces, rather than manifolds and derivatives. This is not quite true for the
p = 1 case of (4.4), for which the general measure-theoretic argument gives
a slightly weaker result. See Chapter V of [Ste1] for details. The slightly
weaker result does give an isoperimetric inequality (4.5), and it is not hard
to recover the p = 1 case of (4.4) from the weaker version using a bit more
of the localization properties of the gradient than are kept in (4.1). (See also
Appendix C of [Sem9], especially Proposition C.14.)
The idea of these inequalities makes sense much more broadly than just
on Euclidean spaces, but they may not always work very well, as in the
earlier example with bubbling. To consider this further, let M be a smooth
Riemannian manifold of dimension n, and let us assume for simplicity that
M is unbounded (like R
n
). Let us also think of M as coming equipped with
a distance function d(x, y) with the usual properties (d(x, y) is nonnegative,
symmetric in x and y, vanishes exactly when x = y, and satisfies the triangle
inequality). One might take d(x, y) to be the geodesic distance associated
to the Riemannian metric on M, but let us not restrict ourselves to this
28
case. For instance, imagine that M is a smooth submanifold of some higher-
dimensional R
k
, and that d(x, y) is simply the ambient Euclidean distance
[x − y[ inherited from R
k
. In general this could be much smaller than the
geodesic distance.
We shall make the standing assumption that the distance d(x, y) and the
Riemannian geodesic distance are approximately the same, each bounded by
twice the other, on sufficiently small neighborhoods about any given point
in M. This ensures that d(x, y) is compatible with quantities defined locally
on M using the Riemannian metric, like the volume measure, and the length
of the gradient of a function. Note that this local compatibility condition
for the distance function d(x, y) and the Riemannian metric is satisfied au-
tomatically in the situation mentioned above, where M is a submanifold of
a larger Euclidean space and d(x, y) is inherited from the ambient Euclidean
distance. We shall also require that the distance d(x, y) be compatible with
the (manifold) topology on M, and that it be complete. This prevents things
like infinite ends in M which asymptotically approach finite points in M with
respect to d(x, y).
The smoothness of M should be taken in the character of an a priori
assumption, with the real point being to have bounds that do not depend on
the presence of the smoothness in a quantitative way. Indeed, the smoothness
of M will not really play an essential role here, but will be convenient, so that
concepts like volume, gradient, and lengths of gradients are automatically
meaningful.
Suppose for the moment that M is bilipschitz equivalent to R
n
equipped
with the usual Euclidean metric. This means that there is a mapping φ from
R
n
onto M and a constant k such that
k
−1
[z −w[ ≤ d(φ(z), φ(w)) ≤ k [z −w[ for all z, w ∈ R
n
. (4.7)
In other words, φ should neither expand or shrink distances by more than
a bounded amount. This implies that φ does not distort the corresponding
Riemannian metrics or volume by more than bounded factors either, as one
can readily show. In this case the analogues of (4.1), (4.4), and (4.5) all
hold for M, with constants that depend only on the constants for R
n
and
the distortion factor k. This is because any test of these inequalities on M
can be “pulled back” to R
n
using φ, with the loss of information in moving
between M and R
n
limited by the bilipschitz condition for φ.
This observation helps to make clear the fact that inequalities like (4.1),
(4.4), and (4.5) do not really require much in the way of smoothness for
29
the underlying space. Bounds on curvature are not preserved by bilipschitz
mappings, just as bounds on higher derivative of functions are not preserved.
Bilipschitz mappings can allow plenty of spiralling and corners in M (or
approximate corners, since we are asking that M that be smooth a priori).
Although bilipschitz mappings are appropriate here for the small amount
of regularity involved, the idea of a “parameterization” is too strong for
the purposes of inequalities like (4.1), (4.4), and (4.5). One might say that
these inequalities are like algebraic topology, but more quantitative, while
parameterizations are more like homeomorphisms, which are always more
difficult. (Some other themes along these lines will be discussed in Appendix
D. Appendix C is related to this as well. See also [HanH].)
I would like to describe now some conditions on M which are strong
enough to give bounds as in (4.1), but which are quite a bit weaker than the
existence of a bilipschitz parameterization. First, let us explicitly write down
the analogue of (4.1) for M. If x is any element of M, this analogue would
say that there is a constant C so that
[f(x)[ ≤ C

M
1
d(x, y)
n−1
[∇f(y)[ dV ol(y) (4.8)
for all continuously differentiable functions f on M, where [∇f(y)[ and the
volume measure dV ol(y) are defined in terms of the Riemannian structure
that comes with M.
The next two definitions give the conditions on M that we shall consider.
These and similar notions have come up many times in various parts of
geometry and analysis, as in [Ale, AleV2, AleV3, As1, As2, As3, CoiW1,
CoiW2, Gro1, Gro2, HeiKo1, HeiKo2, HeiKo2, HeiY, Pet1, Pet2, V¨ ai6].
Definition 4.9 (The doubling condition) A metric space (M, d(x, y)) is
said to be doubling (with constant L
0
) if each ball B in M with respect to
d(x, y) can be covered by at most L
0
balls of half the radius of B.
Notice that Euclidean spaces are automatically doubling, with a con-
stant L
0
that depends only on the dimension. Similarly, every subset of a
(finite-dimensional) Euclidean space is doubling, with a uniform bound for
its doubling constant.
Definition 4.10 (Local linear contractability) A metric space (M, d(x, y))
is said to be locally linearly contractable (with constant L
1
) if the following is
30
true. Let B be a ball in M with respect to d(x, y), and with radius no greater
than L
−1
1
times the diameter of M. (Arbitrary radii are permitted when M is
unbounded, as in the context of the present general discussion.) Then (local
linear contractability means that) it should be possible to continuously con-
tract B to a point inside of L
1
B, i.e., inside the ball with the same center as
B and L
1
times the radius.
This is a kind of quantitative and scale-invariant condition of local con-
tractability. It prevents certain types of cusps or bubbling, for instance.
Both this and the doubling condition hold automatically when M admits
a bilipschitz parameterization by R
n
, with uniform bounds in terms of the
bilipschitz constant k in (4.7) (and the dimension for the doubling condition).
Theorem 4.11 If M and d(x, y) are as before, and if (M, d(x, y)) satisfies
the doubling and local linear contractability conditions with constants L
0
and
L
1
, respectively, then (4.8) holds with a constant C that depends only on L
0
,
L
1
, and the dimension n.
This was proved in [Sem9]. Before we look at some aspects of the proof,
some remarks are in order about what the conclusions really mean.
In general one cannot derive bounds for Sobolev and isoperimetric in-
equalities for M just using (4.8). One might say that (4.8) is only as good
as the behavior of the volume measure on M. If the volume measure on M
behaves well, with bounds for the measure of balls like ones on R
n
, then one
can derive conclusions from (4.8) in much the same way as for Euclidean
spaces. See Appendices B and C in [Sem9].
The doubling and local linear contractability conditions do not them-
selves say anything about the behavior of the volume on M, and indeed they
tolerate fractal behavior perfectly well. To see this, consider the metric space
which is R
n
as a set, but with the metric [x − y[
α
, where α is some fixed
number in (0, 1). This is a kind of abstract and higher-dimensional version
of standard fractal snowflake curves in the plane. However, the doubling and
local linear contractability conditions work just as well for (R
n
, [x −y[
α
) as
for (R
n
, [x −y[), just with slightly different constants.
How might one prove Theorem 4.11? It would be nice to be able to
mimic the proof of (4.1), i.e., to find a family of rectifiable curves in M
which go from x to infinity and whose arclength measures have approximately
the same kind of distribution in M as rays in R
n
emanating from a given
31
point. Such families exist (with suitable bounds) when M admits a bilipschitz
parameterization by R
n
, and they also exist in more singular circumstances.
Unfortunately, it is not so clear how to produce families of curves like
these without some explicit information about the space M in question. This
problem was treated in a special case in [DaviS1], with M a certain kind of
(nonsmooth) conformal deformation of R
n
. The basic idea was to obtain
these curves from level sets of certain mappings with controlled behavior.
When n = 2, for instance, imagine a standard square Q, with opposing
vertices p and q. The boundary of Q can be thought of as a pair of paths α,
β from p to q, each with two segments, two sides of Q. If τ is a function on
Q which equals 0 on α and 1 on β (and is somewhat singular at p and q),
then one can try to extract a family of paths from p to q in Q from the level
sets
¦x ∈ R
2
: τ(x) = t¦, 0 < t < 1. (4.12)
For the standard geometry on R
2
one can write down a good family of curves
and a good function τ explicitly. For a certain class of conformal deformations
of R
2
one can make constructions of functions τ with approximately the same
behavior as in the case of the standard metric, and from these one can get
controlled families of curves.
These constructions of functions τ used the standard Euclidean geometry
in the background in an important way. For the more general setting of
Theorem 4.11 one needs to proceed somewhat differently, and it is helpful
to begin with a different formulation of the kind of auxiliary functions to be
used.
Given a point x in R
n
, there is an associated spherical projection π
x
:
R
n
`¦x¦ → S
n−1
given by
π
x
(u) =
u −x
[u −x[
. (4.13)
This projection is topologically nondegenerate, in the sense that it has degree
equal to 1. Here the “degree” can be defined by restricting π
x
to a sphere
around x and taking the degree of this mapping (from an (n−1)-dimensional
sphere to another one) in the usual sense. (See [Mas, Mil3, Nir] concerning
the notion of degree of a mapping.) Also, this mapping satisfies the bound
[dπ
x
(u)[ ≤ C [u −x[
−1
(4.14)
for all u ∈ R
n
`¦x¦, where dπ
x
(u) denotes the differential of π
x
at u, and
C is some constant. One can write down the differential of π
x
explicitly,
32
and (4.14) can be replaced by an equality, but this precision is not needed
here, and not available in general. The rays in R
n
that emanate from x are
exactly the fibers of the mapping π
x
, and bounds for the distribution of their
arclength measures can be seen as a consequence of (4.14), using the “co-area
theorem” [Fed, Morg, Sim].
One can also think of π
x
as giving (4.1) in the following manner. Let ω
denote the standard volume form on S
n−1
, a differential form of degree n−1,
and normalized so that
S
n−1
ω = 1. (4.15)
Let λ denote the differential form on R
n
`¦0¦ obtained by pulling ω back
using π
x
. Then (4.14) yields
[λ(u)[ ≤ C

[u −x[
−n+1
(4.16)
for all u ∈ R
n
`¦x¦, where C

is a slightly different constant from before.
In particular, λ is locally integrable across x (and smooth everywhere else).
This permits one to take the exterior derivative of λ on all of R
n
in the
(distributional) sense of currents [Fed, Morg], and the result is that dλ is
the current of degree n which is a Dirac mass at x. More precisely, dλ = 0
away from x because ω is automatically closed (being a form of top degree
on S
n−1
), and because the pull-back of a closed form is always closed. The
Dirac mass at x comes from a standard Stokes’ theorem computation, which
uses the observation that the integral of λ over any (n − 1)-sphere in R
n
around x is equal to 1. (The latter is one way to formulate the fact that the
degree of π
x
is 1.)
This characterization of dλ as a current on R
n
means that

R
n
df ∧ λ = −f(x) (4.17)
when f is a smooth function on R
n
with compact support. This yields
(4.1), because of (4.16). (A similar use of differential forms was employed in
[DaviS1].)
The general idea of the mapping π
x
also makes sense in the context of
Theorem 4.11. Let M, d(y, z) be as before, and fix a point x in M. One
would like to find a mapping π
x
: M`¦x¦ → S
n−1
which is topologically
nondegenerate and satisfies
[dπ
x
(u)[ ≤ K d(u, x)
−1
(4.18)
33
for some constant K and all u ∈ M`¦x¦. Note that now the norm of the
differential of π
x
involves the Riemannian metric on M. For the topological
nondegeneracy of π
x
, let us ask that it have nonzero degree on small spheres
in M that surround x in a standard way. This makes sense, because of the
a priori assumption that M be smooth.
If one can produce such a mapping π
x
, then one can derive (4.8) as a
consequence, using the same kind of argument with differential forms as
above. One can also find enough curves in the fibers of π
x
, with control on
the way that their arclength measures are distributed in M, through the use
of co-area estimates. For this the topological nondegeneracy of π
x
is needed
for showing that the fibers of π
x
connect x to infinity in M.
In the context of conformal deformations of R
n
, as in [DaviS1], such
mappings π
x
can be obtained as perturbations to the standard mapping in
(4.13). This is described in [Sem10]. For Theorem 4.11, the method of [Sem9]
does not use mappings quite like π
x
, but a “stabilized” version from which
one can draw similar conclusions. In this stabilized version one looks for
mappings from M to S
n
(instead of S
n−1
) which are constant outside of a
(given) ball, topologically nontrivial (in the sense of nonzero degree), and
which satisfy suitable bounds on their differentials. These mappings are like
snapshots of pieces of M, and one has to move them around in a controlled
manner. This means moving them both in terms of location (the center of
the supporting ball) and scale (the radius of the ball).
At this stage the hypotheses of Theorem 4.11 may make more sense.
Existence of mappings like the ones described above is a standard matter
in topology, except for the question of uniform bounds. The hypotheses of
Theorem 4.11 (the doubling condition and local linear contractability) are
also in the nature of quantitative topology. Note, however, that the kind of
bounds involved in the hypotheses of the theorem and the construction of
mappings into spheres are somewhat different from each other, with bounds
on the differentials being crucial for the latter, while control over moduli of
continuity does not come up in the former. (The local linear contractability
condition restricts the overall distances by which points are displaced in
the contractions, but not the sizes of the smaller-scale oscillations, as in a
modulus of continuity.) In the end the bounds for the differentials come
about because the hypotheses of Theorem 4.11 permit one to reduce various
constructions and comparisons to finite models of controlled complexity.
In the proof of Theorem 4.11 there are three related pieces of information
that come out, namely (1) estimates for the behavior of functions on our
34
space M in terms of their derivatives, as in (4.8), (2) families of curves in M
which are well-distributed in terms of arclength measure, and (3) mappings
to spheres with certain estimates and nondegeneracy properties. These three
kinds of information are closely linked, through various dualities, but to some
extent they also have their own lives. Each would be immediate if M had
a bilipschitz parameterization by R
n
, but in fact they are more robust than
that, and much easier to verify.
Indeed, one of the original motivations for [DaviS1] was the problem of de-
termining which conformal deformations of R
n
lead to metric spaces (through
the geodesic distance) which are bilipschitz equivalent to R
n
. The deforma-
tions are allowed to be nonsmooth here, but this does not matter too much,
because of the natural scale-invariance of the problem, and because one seeks
uniform bounds. This problem is the same in essence as asking which (pos-
itive) functions on R
n
arise as the Jacobian of a quasiconformal mapping,
modulo multiplication by a positive function which is bounded and bounded
away from 0.
Some natural necessary conditions are known for these questions, with a
principal ingredient coming from [Geh3]. It was natural to wonder whether
the necessary conditions were also sufficient. As a test for this, [DaviS1]
looked at the Sobolev and related inequalities that would follow if the nec-
essary conditions were sufficient. These inequalities could be stated directly
in terms of the data of the problems, the conformal factor or prospective
Jacobian. The conclusion of [DaviS1] was that these inequalities could be
derived directly from the conditions on the data, independently of whether
these conditions were sufficient for the existence of bilipschitz/quasiconformal
mappings as above.
In [Sem8] it was shown that the candidate conditions are not sufficient for
the existence of such mappings, at least in dimensions 3 and higher. (Dimen-
sion 2 remains open.) The simplest counterexamples involved considerations
of localized fundamental groups, in much the same fashion as in Section 3.
(Another class of counterexamples were based on a different mechanism, al-
though these did not start in dimension 3.) These counterexamples are all
perfectly well-behaved in terms of the doubling and local linear contractabil-
ity properties, and in fact are much better than that.
Part of the bottom line here is that spaces can have geometry which
behaves quite well for many purposes even if they do not behave so well in
terms of parameterizations.
For some other aspects of “quantitative topology”, see [Ale, AleV2, AleV3,
35
Att1, Att2, BloW, ChaF, Che, Fer1, Fer2, Fer3, Fer4, Geh2, Gro1, Gro2,
HeiY, HeiS, Luu, Pet1, Pet2, TukV, V¨ ai3, V¨ ai5, V¨ ai6]. Related matters of
Sobolev and other inequalities on non-smooth spaces come up in [HeiKo2,
HeiKo2, HeiKo+], in connection with the behavior of quasiconformal map-
pings.
5 Uniform rectifiability
A basic fact in topology is that there are spaces which are manifold factors
but not manifolds. That is, there are topological spaces M such that MR
is a manifold (locally homeomorphic to a Euclidean space) but M is not.
This can even happen for finite polyhedra, because of the double-suspension
results of Edwards and Cannon. See [Dave2, Edw2, Kir] for more information
and specific examples. (We shall say a bit more about this in Appendix C.)
Uniform rectifiability is a notion of controlled geometry that trades topol-
ogy for estimates. It tolerates some amount of singularities, like holes and
crossings, and avoids some common difficulties with homeomorphisms, such
as manifold factors.
The precise definition is slightly technical, and relies on measure theory
in a crucial way. In many respects it is analogous to the notion of BMO from
Section 2. The following is a preliminary concept that helps to set the stage.
Definition 5.1 (Ahlfors regularity) Fix n and d, with n a positive integer
and 0 < d ≤ n. A set E contained in R
n
is said to be (Ahlfors) regular of
dimension d if it is closed, and if there is a positive Borel measure µ supported
on E and a constant C > 0 such that
C
−1
r
d
≤ µ(B(x, r)) ≤ C r
d
(5.2)
for all x ∈ E and 0 < r ≤ diamE. Here B(x, r) denotes the (open) ball with
center x and radius r.
Roughly speaking, this definition asks that E behave like ordinary Eu-
clidean space in terms of the distribution of its mass. Notice that d-planes sat-
isfy this condition automatically, with µ equal to the ordinary d-dimensional
volume. The same is true for compact smooth manifolds, and finite polyhe-
dra which are given as unions of d-dimensional simplices (i.e., with no lower-
dimensional pieces sticking off in an isolated manner). There are also plenty
36
of “fractal” examples, like self-similar Cantor sets and snowflake curves. In
particular, the dimension d can be any (positive) real number.
A basic fact is that if E is regular and µ is as in Definition 5.1, then µ is
practically the same as d-dimensional Hausdorff measure H
d
restricted to E.
Specifically, µ and H
d
are each bounded by constant multiples of the other
when applied to subsets of E. This is not hard to prove, and it shows that
µ is essentially unique. Definition 5.1 could have been formulated directly in
terms of Hausdorff measure, but the version above is a bit more elementary.
Let us recall the definition of a bilipschitz mapping. Let A be a set in
R
n
, and let f be a mapping from A to some other set in R
n
. We say that f
is k-bilipschitz, where k is a positive number, if
k
−1
[x −y[ ≤ [f(x) −f(y)[ ≤ k [x −y[ (5.3)
for all x, y ∈ A.
Definition 5.4 (Uniform rectifiability) Let E be a subset of R
n
which
is Ahlfors regular of dimension d, where d is a positive integer, d < n, and
let µ be a positive measure on E as in Definition 5.1. Then E is uniformly
rectifiable if there exists a positive constant k so that for each x ∈ E and
each r > 0 with r ≤ diamE there is a closed subset A of E ∩ B(x, r) such
that
µ(A) ≥
9
10
µ(E ∩ B(x, r)) (5.5)
and
there is a k-bilipschitz mapping f from A into R
d
. (5.6)
In other words, inside of each “snapshot” E∩B(x, r) of E there should be
a large subset, with at least 90% of the points, which is bilipschitz equivalent
to a subset of R
d
, and with a uniform bound on the bilipschitz constant.
This is like asking for a controlled parameterization, except that we allow for
holes and singularities.
Definition 5.4 should be compared with the classical notion of (count-
able) rectifiability, in which one asks that E be covered, except for a set of
measure 0, by a countable union of sets, each of which is bilipschitz equiva-
lent to a subset of R
d
. Uniform rectifiability implies this condition, but it is
stronger, because it provides quantitative information at definite scales, while
the classical notion really only gives asymptotic information as one zooms in
37
at almost any point. See [Fal, Fed, Mat] for more information about classical
rectifiability.
Normally one would be much happier to simply have bilipschitz coor-
dinates outright, without having to allow for bad sets of small measure
where this does not work. In practice bilipschitz coordinates simply do
not exist in many situations where one might otherwise hope to have them.
This is illustrated by the double-suspension spheres of Edwards and Can-
non [Can1, Can3, Dave2, Edw2], and the observations about them in [SieS].
Further examples are given in [Sem7, Sem8].
The use of arbitrary scales and locations is an important part of the story
here, and is very similar to the concept of BMO. At the level of a single snap-
shot, a fixed ball B(x, r) centered on E, the bad set may seem pretty wild, as
nothing is said about what goes on there in (5.5) or (5.6). However, uniform
rectifiability, like BMO, applies to all snapshots equally, and in particular to
balls in which the bad set is concentrated. Thus, inside the bad set, there
are in fact further controls. We shall see other manifestations of this later,
and the same basic principle is used in the John–Nirenberg theorem for BMO
functions (discussed in Section 2).
Uniform rectifiability provides a substitute for (complete) bilipschitz co-
ordinates in much the same way that BMO provides a substitute for L

bounds, as in Section 2. Note that L

bounds and bilipschitz coordinates
automatically entail uniform control over all scales and locations. This is
true just because of the way they are defined, i.e., a bounded function is
bounded in all snapshots, and with a uniform majorant. With BMO and
uniform rectifiability the scale-invariance is imposed by hand.
It may be a little surprising that one can get anything new through con-
cepts like BMO and uniform rectifiability. For instance, suppose that f is a
locally-integrable function on R
k
, and that the averages
1
ω
k
t
k

B(z,t)
[f(w)[ dw (5.7)
are uniformly bounded, independently of z and t. Here ω
k
denotes the volume
of the unit ball in R
k
, so that ω
k
t
k
is the volume of B(z, t). This implies
that f must itself be bounded by the same amount almost everywhere on
R
k
, since
f(u) = lim
t→0
1
ω
k
t
k

B(z,t)
f(w) dw (5.8)
38
almost everywhere on R
k
. Thus a uniform bound for the size of the snapshots
does imply a uniform bound outright. For BMO the situation is different
because one asks only for a uniform bound on the mean oscillation in every
ball. In other words, one also has the freedom to make renormalizations by
additive constants when moving from place to place, and this gives enough
room for some unbounded functions, like log [x[. Uniform rectifiability is like
this as well, although with different kinds of “renormalizations” available.
These remarks might explain why some condition like uniform rectifiabil-
ity could be useful or natural, but why the specific version above in particu-
lar? Part of the answer to this is that nearly all definitions of this nature are
equivalent to the formulation given above. For instance, the 9/10 in (5.5) can
be replaced by any number strictly between 0 and 1. See [DaviS3, DaviS5]
for more information.
Another answer lies in a theme often articulated by Coifman, about the
way that operator theory can provide a good guide for geometry. One of
the original motivations for uniform rectifiability came from the “Calder´ on
program” [Cal2], concerning the L
p
-boundedness of certain singular operators
on curves and surfaces of minimal smoothness. David [Davi2, Davi3, Davi5]
showed that uniform rectifiability of a set E implies L
p
-boundedness of wide
classes of singular operators on E. (See [Cal1, Cal2, CoiDM, CoiMcM] and
the references therein for related work connected to the Calder´ on program.)
In [DaviS3], a converse was established, so that uniform rectifiability of an
Ahlfors-regular set E is actually equivalent to the boundedness of a suitable
class of singular integral operators (inherited from the ambient Euclidean
space R
n
). See also [DaviS2, DaviS5, MatMV, MatP].
Here is a concrete statement about uniform rectifiability in situations
where well-behaved parameterizations would be natural but may not exist.
Theorem 5.9 Let E be a subset of R
n
which is regular of dimension d. If
E is also a d-dimensional topological manifold and satisfies the local linear
contractability condition (Definition 4.10), then E is uniformly rectifiable.
Note that Ahlfors-regularity automatically implies the doubling condition
(Definition 4.9).
Theorem 5.9 has been proved by G. David and myself. Now-a-days we
have better technology, which allows for versions of this which are localized
to individual “snapshots”, rather than using all scales and locations at once.
See [DaviS11] (with some of the remarks in Section 12.3 of [DaviS11] helping
39
to provide a bridge to the present formulation). We shall say a bit more
about this, near the end of Subsection 5.3.
The requirement that E be a topological manifold is convenient, but
weaker conditions could be used. For that matter, there are natural variations
of local linear contractability too.
One can think of Theorem 5.9 and related results in the following terms.
Given a compact set K, upper bounds for the d-dimensional Hausdorff mea-
sure of K together with lower bounds for the d-dimensional topology of K
should lead to strong information about the geometric behavior of K. See
[DaviS9, DaviS11, Sem6] for more on this.
To understand better what Theorem 5.9 means, let us begin by observing
that the hypotheses of Theorem 5.9 would hold automatically if E were
bilipschitz equivalent to R
d
, or if E were compact and admitted bilipschitz
local coordinates from R
d
. Under these conditions, a test of the hypotheses
of Theorem 5.9 on E can be converted into a similar test on R
d
, where it
can then be resolved in a straightforward manner.
A similar argument shows that the hypotheses of Theorem 5.9 are “bilip-
schitz invariant”. More precisely, if F is another subset of R
n
which is
bilipschitz equivalent to E, and if the hypotheses of Theorem 5.9 holds for
one of E and F, then it automatically holds for the other.
Since the existence of bilipschitz coordinates implies the hypotheses of
Theorem 5.9, we cannot ask for more than that in the conclusions. In other
words, bilipschitz coordinates are at the high end of what one can hope for in
the context of Theorem 5.9. The hypotheses of Theorem 5.9 do in fact rule
out a lot of basic obstructions to the existence of bilipschitz coordinates, like
cusps, fractal behavior, self-intersections and approximate self-intersections,
and bubbles with very small necks. (Compare with Section 4, especially The-
orem 4.11 and the discussion of its proof and consequences.) Nonetheless, it
can easily happen that a set E satisfies the hypotheses of Theorem 5.9 but
does not admit bilipschitz local coordinates. Double-suspension spheres pro-
vide spectacular counterexamples for this (using the observations of [SieS]).
Additional counterexamples are given in [Sem7, Sem8].
We should perhaps emphasize that the assumption of being a topological
manifold in Theorem 5.9 does not involve bounds. By contrast, uniform
rectifiability does involve bounds, which is part of the point. In the context
of Theorem 5.9, the proof shows that the uniform rectifiability constants for
the conclusion are controlled in terms of the constants that are implicit in
the hypotheses, i.e., in Ahlfors-regularity, the linear contractability condition,
40
and the dimension.
If bilipschitz coordinates are at the high end of what one could hope for,
what happens if one asks for less? What if one asks for homeomorphic local
coordinates with some control, but not as much? For instance, instead of
bounding the “rate” of continuity through Lipschitz conditions like
[f(x) −f(y)[ ≤ C [x −y[ (5.10)
(for some C and all x, y in the domain of f), one could work with H¨ older
continuity conditions, which have the form
[f(x) −f(y)[ ≤ C

[x −y[
γ
. (5.11)
Here γ is a positive number, sometimes called the H¨ older “exponent”. As
usual, (5.11) is supposed to hold simultaneously for all x and y in the domain
of f, and with a fixed constant C

. When x and y are close to each other and
γ is less than 1, this type of condition is strictly weaker than that of being
Lipschitz. Just as f(x) = [x[ is a standard example of a Lipschitz function
that is not differentiable at the origin, g(x) = [x[
γ
is a basic example of a
function that is H¨ older continuous of order γ, γ ≤ 1, but not of any order
larger than γ, in any neighborhood of the origin.
Instead of local coordinates which are bilipschitz, one could consider ones
that are “bi-H¨ older”, i.e., H¨ older continuous and with H¨ older continuous in-
verse. It turns out that double-suspension spheres do not admit bi-H¨ older
local coordinates when the H¨ older exponent γ lies above an explicit thresh-
old. Specifically, if P is an n-dimensional polyhedron which is the double-
suspension of an (n − 2)-dimensional homology sphere that is not simply
connected, then there are points in P (along the “suspension circle”) for
which bi-H¨ older local coordinates of exponent γ > 1/(n − 2) do not exist.
This comes from the same argument as in [SieS]. More precisely, around
these points in P, there do not exist homeomorphic local coordinates from
subsets of R
n
for which the inverse mapping is H¨ older continuous of order
γ > 1/(n −2) (without requiring a H¨ older condition for the mapping itself).
Given any positive number a, there are examples in [Sem8] so that local
coordinates (at some points) cannot have their inverses be H¨ older continuous
of order a. These examples do admit bi-H¨ older local coordinates (with a
smaller exponent), and even “quasisymmetric” [TukV] coordinates, and they
satisfy the hypotheses of Theorem 5.9. In [Sem7] there are examples which
satisfy the hypotheses of Theorem 5.9, but for which no uniform modulus of
41
continuity for local coordinate mappings and their inverses is possible (over
all scales and locations).
Related topics will be discussed in Appendix C.
5.1 Smoothness of Lipschitz and bilipschitz mappings
Another aspect of uniform rectifiability is that it provides the same amount of
“smoothness” as when there is a global bilipschitz parameterization. To make
this precise, let us first look at the smoothness of Lipschitz and bilipschitz
mappings.
A mapping f : R
d
→ R
n
is Lipschitz if there is a constant C so that
(5.10) holds for all x, y in R
d
. The space of Lipschitz mappings is a bit
simpler than the space of bilipschitz mappings, because the former is a vector
space (and even a Banach space) while the latter is not. For the purposes of
“smoothness” properties, though, there is not really any difference between
the two. Bilipschitz mappings are always Lipschitz, and anything that can
happen with Lipschitz mappings can also happen with bilipschitz mappings
(by adding new components, or considering x+h(x) when h(x) has Lipschitz
norm less than 1 to get a bilipschitz mapping).
One should also not worry too much about the difference between Lips-
chitz mappings which are defined on all of R
d
, and ones that are only defined
on a subset. Lipschitz mappings into R
n
that are defined on a subset of R
d
can always be extended to Lipschitz mappings on all of R
d
. This is a stan-
dard fact. There are also extension results for bilipschitz mappings, if one
permits oneself to replace the image R
n
with a Euclidean space of larger
dimension (which is not too serious in the present context).
For considerations of “smoothness” we might as well restrict our attention
to functions which are real-valued, since the R
n
-valued case can always be
reduced to that.
Two basic facts about Lipschitz functions on R
d
are that they are dif-
ferentiable almost everywhere (with respect to Lebesgue measure), and that
for each η > 0 they can be modified on sets of Lebesgue measure less than η
(depending on the function) in such a way as to become continuously differ-
entiable everywhere. See [Fed].
These are well-known results, but they do not tell the whole story. They
are not quantitative; they say a lot about the asymptotic behavior (on aver-
age) of Lipschitz mappings at very small scales, but they do not say anything
about what happens at scales of definite size.
42
To make this precise, let a Lipschitz mapping f : R
d
→ R be given, and
fix a point x ∈ R
d
and a radius t > 0. We want to measure how well f is
approximated by an affine function on the ball B(x, t). To do this we define
the quantity α(x, t) by
α(x, t) = inf
A∈A
sup
y∈B(x,t)
t
−1
[f(y) −A(y)[. (5.12)
Here / denotes the (vector space) of affine functions on R
d
. The part on the
right side of (5.12) with just the supremum (and not the infimum) measures
how well the particular affine function A approximates f inside B(x, t), and
then the infimum gives us the best approximation by any affine function for
a particular choice of x and t. The factor of t
−1
makes α(x, t) scale properly,
and be dimensionless. In particular, α(x, t) is uniformly bounded in x and t
when f is Lipschitz, because we can take A(y) to be the constant function
equal to the value of f at x.
The smallness of α(x, t) provides a manifestation of the smoothness of
f. For functions which are twice-continuously differentiable one can get es-
timates like
α(x, t) = O(t), (5.13)
using Taylor’s theorem. If 0 < δ < 1, then estimates like
α(x, t) = O(t
δ
) (5.14)
(locally uniformly in x) correspond to H¨ older continuity of the gradient of f
of order δ. Differentiability almost everywhere of f implies that
lim
t→0
α(x, t) = 0 for almost every x. (5.15)
This does not say anything about any particular t, because one does not
know how long one might have to wait before the limiting behavior kicks in.
Here is a simple example. Let us take d = 1, and consider the function
g
ρ
(x) = ρ sin(x/ρ) (5.16)
on R. Here ρ is any positive number. Now, g
ρ
(x) is Lipschitz with norm 1
no matter how ρ is chosen. This is not hard to check; for instance, one can
take the derivative to get that
g

ρ
(x) = cos(x/ρ) (5.17)
43
so that [g

ρ
(x)[ ≤ 1 everywhere. This implies that
[g
ρ
(u) −g
ρ
(v)[ ≤ [u −v[ (5.18)
for all u and v (and all ρ), because of the mean-value theorem, or the funda-
mental theorem of calculus. (One also has that [g

ρ
(x)[ = 1 at some points,
so that the Lipschitz norm is always equal to 1.)
If ρ is very small, then one has to wait a long time before the limit in
(5.15) takes full effect, because α(x, t) will not be small when t = ρ. In fact,
there is then a positive lower bound for α(x, t) that does not depend on x
or ρ (assuming that t is taken to be equal to ρ). This is not hard to verify
directly. One does not really have to worry about ρ here, because one can
use scaling arguments to reduce the lower bound to the case where ρ = 1.
Thus a bound on the Lipschitz norm is not enough to say anything about
when the limit in (5.15) will take effect. These examples work uniformly in
x, so that one cannot avoid the problem by removing a set of small measure
or anything like that.
However, there is something else that one can observe about these exam-
ples. Fix a ρ, no matter how large or small. The corresponding quantities
α(x, t) will not be too small when t is equal to ρ, as mentioned above, but
they will be small when t is either much smaller than ρ, or much larger than
ρ. At scales much smaller than ρ, g
ρ
(x) is approximately affine, because the
smoothness of the sine function has a chance to kick in, while at larger scales
g
ρ
(x) is simply small outright compared to t (and one can take A = 0 as the
approximating affine function).
In other words, for the functions g
ρ
(x) there is always a bad scale where
the α(x, t)’s may not be small, and that bad scale can be arbitrarily large or
small, but the bad behavior is confined to approximately just one scale.
It turns out that something similar happens for arbitrary Lipschitz func-
tions. The bad behavior cannot always be confined to a single scale — one
might have sums of functions like the g
ρ
’s, but with very different choices of
ρ — but, on average, the bad behavior is limited to a bounded number of
scales.
Let us be more precise, and define a family of functions which try to
count the number of “bad” scales associated to a given point x. Fix a radius
r > 0, and also a small number , which will provide our threshold for what
is considered “small”. We assume that a lipschitz function f on R
d
has been
fixed, as before. Given x ∈ R
d
, define N
r
(x) to be the number of nonnegative
44
integers j such that
α(x, 2
−j
r) ≥ . (5.19)
These j’s represent the “bad” scales for the point x, and below the radius r.
It is easy to see that (5.15) implies that N
r
(x) < ∞for almost all x. There
is a more quantitative statement which is true, namely that the average of
N
r
(x) over any ball B in R
d
of radius r is finite and uniformly bounded,
independently of the ball B and the choice of r. That is,
r
−d

B
N
r
(x) dx ≤ C(n,
−1
|f|
Lip
), (5.20)
where C(n, s) is a constant that depends only on n and s, and |f|
Lip
denotes
the Lipschitz norm of f. This is a kind of “Carleson measure condition”.
Before we get to the reason for this bound, let us consider some examples.
For the functions g
ρ
(x) in (5.16), the functions N
r
(x) are simply uniformly
bounded, independently of x, r, and ρ. This is not hard to check. Notice
that the bound does depend on , i.e., it blows up as → 0. As another
example, consider the function f defined by
f(x) = [x[. (5.21)
For this function we have that N
r
(0) = ∞ as soon as is small enough. This
is because α(0, t) is positive and independent of t, so that (5.19) holds for all
j when is sufficiently small. Thus N
r
(x) is not uniformly bounded in this
case. In fact it has a logarithmic singularity near 0, with N
r
(x) behaving
roughly like log(r/[x[), and this is compatible with (5.20) for B centered at
0. If one is far enough away from the origin (compared to r), then N
r
(x)
simply vanishes, and there is nothing to do.
In general one can have mixtures of the two types of phenomena. Another
interesting class of examples to consider are functions of the form
f(x) = dist(x, F), (5.22)
where F is some nonempty subset of R
d
which is not all of R
d
, and dist(x, F)
is defined (as usual) by
dist(x, F) = inf¦[x −z[ : z ∈ F¦. (5.23)
It is a standard exercise that such a function f is always Lipschitz with norm
at most 1. Depending on the behavior of the set F, this function can have
45
plenty of sharp corners, like [x[ has at the origin, and plenty of oscillations
roughly like the ones in the functions g
ρ
. In particular, the oscillations can
occur at lots of different scales as one moves from point to point. However,
one does not really have oscillations at different scales overlapping each other.
Whenever the elements of F become dense enough to make a lot of oscilla-
tions, the values of f become small in compensation. (One can consider
situations where F has points at regularly-spaced intervals, for instance.)
How might one prove an estimate like (5.20)? This is part of a larger
story in harmonic analysis, called Littlewood–Paley theory, some of whose
classical manifestations are described in [Ste1]. The present discussion is
closer in spirit to [Dor] for the measurements of oscillation used, and indeed
(5.20) can be derived from the results in [Dor].
There are stronger estimates available than (5.20). Instead of simply
counting how often the α(x, t)’s are larger than some threshold, as in the
definition of N
r
(x) above, one can work with sums of the form


¸
j=0
α(x, 2
−j
r)
q
1
q
. (5.24)
The “right” choice of q is 2, but to get this one should modify the definition
of α(x, t) (in most dimensions) so that the measurement of approximation of
f by an affine function uses a suitable L
p
norm, rather than the supremum.
(That the choice of q = 2 is the “right” one reflects some underlying orthog-
onality, and is a basic point of Littlewood–Paley theory. At a more practical
level, q = 2 is best because it works for the estimates for the α(x, t)’s and
allows reverse estimates for the size of the gradient of f in terms of the sizes
of the α(x, t)’s.)
In short, harmonic analysis provides a fairly thorough understanding of
the sizes of the α(x, t)’s and related quantities, and with quantitative esti-
mates. This works for Lipschitz functions, and more generally for functions
in Sobolev spaces.
There is more to the matter of smoothness of Lipschitz functions than
this, however. The α(x, t)’s measure how well a given function f can be
approximated by an affine function on a ball B(x, t), but they do not say
too much about how these approximating affine functions might change with
x and t. In fact, there are classical examples of functions for which the
α(x, t)’s tend to 0 uniformly as t →0, and yet the derivative fails to exist at
almost every point. Roughly speaking, the affine approximations keep spin-
ning around as t → 0, without settling down on a particular affine function,
46
as would happen when the derivative exists. (A faster rate of decay for the
α(x, t)’s, as in (5.14), would prevent this from happening.)
For Lipschitz functions, the existence of the differential almost everywhere
implies that for almost every x the gradients of the approximating affine
functions on B(x, t) do not have to spin around by more than a finite amount
as t goes between some fixed number r and 0. In fact, quantitative estimates
are possible, in much the same manner as before. Again one fixes a threshold
, and one can measure how many oscillations of size at least there are in
the gradients of the affine approximations as t ranges between 0 and r. For
this there are uniform bounds on the averages of these numbers, just as in
(5.20).
This type of quantitative control on the oscillations of the gradients of the
affine approximations of f comes from Carleson’s Corona construction, as in
[Garn]. This construction was initially applied to the behavior of bounded
holomorphic functions in the unit disk of the complex plane, but in fact it
is a very robust real-variable method. For example, the type of bound just
mentioned in the previous paragraph (on the average number of oscillations of
the gradients of the affine approximations as t goes from r to 0) is completely
analogous to one for the boundary behavior of harmonic functions given in
Corollary 6.2 on p348 of [Garn].
A more detailed discussion of the Corona construction in the context of
Lipschitz functions can be found in Chapter IV.2 of [DaviS5].
The Corona construction and the known estimates for affine approxima-
tions as discussed above provide a fairly complete picture of the “smoothness”
of Lipschitz functions. They also provide an interesting way to look at “com-
plexity” of Lipschitz functions, and one that is quite different from what is
suggested more naively by the definition (5.10).
5.2 Smoothness and uniform rectifiability
The preceding discussion of smoothness for Lipschitz and bilipschitz map-
pings has natural extensions to the geometry of sets in Euclidean spaces.
Instead of approximations of functions by affine functions, one can consider
approximations of sets by affine planes. Differentials of mappings correspond
to tangent planes for sets.
One can think of “embedding” the discussion for functions into one for
sets by taking a function and replacing it with its graph. This is consistent
with the correspondence between affine functions and d-planes, and between
47
differentials and tangent planes.
How might one generalize the α(x, t)’s (5.12) to the context of sets? Fix
a set E in R
n
and a dimension d < n, and let x ∈ E and t > 0 be given. In
analogy with (5.12), consider the quantity β(x, t) defined by
β(x, t) = inf
P∈P
d
sup¦t
−1
dist(y, P) : y ∈ E ∩ B(x, t)¦. (5.25)
Here {
d
denotes the set of d-dimensional affine planes in R
n
, and dist(y, P)
is defined as in (5.23). In other words, we take a “snapshot” of E inside
the ball B(x, t), and we look at the optimal degree of approximation of E by
d-planes in B(x, t). The factor of t
−1
in (5.25) makes β(x, t) a scale-invariant,
dimensionless quantity. Notice that β(x, t) is always less than or equal to 1,
no matter the behavior of E, as one can see by taking P to be any d-plane
that goes through x. The smoothness of E is reflected in how small β(x, t)
is.
If E is the image of a bilipschitz mapping φ : R
d
→ R
n
, then there is a
simple correspondence between the β(x, t)’s on E and the α(z, s)’s for φ on
R
d
. This permits one to transfer the estimates for the α’s on R
d
to estimates
for the β’s on E, and one could also go backwards.
It turns out that the type of estimates that one gets for the β’s in this
way when E is bilipschitz equivalent to R
d
also work when E is uniformly
rectifiable. Roughly speaking, this because the estimates for the α’s and β’s
are not uniform ones, but involve some kind of integration, and in a way
which is compatible with the measure-theoretic aspects of the Definition 5.4.
This is very much analogous to results in the context of BMO functions,
especially a theorem of Str¨ omberg. (See Chapter IV.1 in [DaviS5] for some
general statements of this nature.)
To my knowledge, the first person to look at estimates like these for sets
was P. Jones [Jon1]. In particular, he used the sharp quadratic estimates
that correspond to Littlewood–Paley theory to give a new approach to the
L
2
boundedness of the Cauchy integral operator on nonsmooth curves. Here
“quadratic” means q = 2 in the context of (5.24).
In [Jon3], Jones showed how quadratic estimates on the β’s could actually
be used to characterize subsets of rectifiable curves. The quadratic nature
of the estimates, which come naturally from orthogonality considerations
in Littlewood–Paley theory and harmonic analysis, can, in this context, be
more directly linked to the ordinary Pythagorean theorem, as in [Jon3]. A
completion of Jones’ results for 1-dimensional sets in Euclidean spaces of
48
higher dimension was given in [Oki].
Analogues of Jones’ results for (Ahlfors-regular) sets of higher dimen-
sion are given in [DaviS3]. More precisely, if E is a d-dimensional Ahlfors-
regular set in R
n
, then the uniform rectifiability of E is equivalent to certain
quadratic Carleson measure conditions for quantities like β(x, t) in (5.25).
One cannot use β(x, t) itself in general, with the supremum on the right side
of (5.25) (there are counterexamples due to Fang and Jones), but instead one
can replace the supremum with a suitable L
p
norm for a range of p’s that
depends on the dimension (and is connected to Sobolev embeddings). This
corresponds to the situation for sharp estimates of quantities like α(x, t) in
the context of Lipschitz functions, as in [Dor].
The problem of building parameterizations is quite different when d > 1
than in the 1-dimensional case. This is a basic fact, and a recurring theme of
classical topology. Making parameterizations for 1-dimensional sets is largely
a matter of ordering, i.e., lining up the points in a good way. For rectifiable
curves there is a canonical way to regulate the “speed” of a parameteriza-
tion, using arclength. In higher dimensions none of these things are true,
although conformal coordinates sometimes provide a partial substitute when
d = 2. See [DaviS4, M¨ ul
ˇ
S, HeiKo1, Sem3, Sem7]. In [DeTY] a different
kind of “normalized coordinates” are discussed for d = 3, but the underlying
partial differential equation is unfortunately not elliptic. Part of the point
of uniform rectifiability was exactly to try to come to grips with the issue of
parameterizations in higher dimensions. (See also Appendix C in connection
with these topics.)
Although this definition (5.25) of β(x, t) provides a natural version of
the α(x, t)’s from (5.12), it is not the only choice to consider. There is a
“bilateral” version, in which one measures both the distance from points in
E to the approximating d-plane (as in (5.25)) as well as distances from points
in the d-plane to E. Specifically, given a set E in R
n
, a point x ∈ E, a radius
t > 0, and a d-plane P in R
n
, set
Approx(E, P, x, t) = sup¦t
−1
dist(y, P) : y ∈ E ∩ B(x, t)¦ (5.26)
+sup¦t
−1
dist(z, E) : z ∈ P ∩ B(x, t)¦
and then define the bilateral version of β(x, t) by
bβ(x, t) = inf
P∈P
d
Approx(E, P, x, t). (5.27)
This takes “holes” in E into account, which the definition of β(x, t) does not.
For instance, β(x, t) = 0 if and only if there is a d-plane P
0
such that every
49
point in E∩B(x, t) lies in P
0
, while for bβ(x, t) to be 0 it should also be true
that every point in P
0
∩ B(x, t) lies in E (assuming that E is closed, as in
the definition of Ahlfors regularity).
It turns out that the bβ(x, t)’s behave a bit differently from the β(x, t)’s,
in the following sense. Imagine that we do not look for something like sharp
quadratic estimates, as we did before, but settle for cruder “thresholding”
conditions, as discussed in Subsection 5.1. In other words, one might fix an
> 0, and define a function N

r
(x) which counts the number of times that
bβ(x, 2
−j
r) is greater than or equal to , with j ∈ Z
+
(as in the discussion
around (5.19)). For uniformly rectifiable sets one has bounds on the averages
of N

r
(x) exactly as in (5.20), but now integrating over E instead of R
d
. A
slightly surprising fact is that the converse is also true, i.e., estimates like
these for the bβ’s are sufficient to imply the uniform rectifiability of the set E,
at least if E is Ahlfors-regular of dimension d. This was proved in [DaviS5].
In the context of functions, this type of thresholding condition is too weak,
in that one can have the α(x, t)’s going to 0 uniformly as t → 0 for functions
which are differentiable almost nowhere, as mentioned in Subsection 5.1.
Similarly, there are Ahlfors-regular sets which are “totally unrectifiable” (in
the sense of [Fal, Fed, Mat]) and have the β(x, t)’s tending to 0 uniformly as
t → 0. (See [DaviS3].) For the bβ’s the story is simply different. On the other
hand, the fact that suitable thresholding conditions on the bβ’s are sufficient
to imply uniform rectifiability relies heavily on the assumption that E be
Ahlfors-regular, while mass bounds are part of the conclusion (rather than
the hypothesis) in Jones’ results, and no counterpart to the mass bounds are
included in the above-mentioned examples for functions. One does have mass
bounds for the examples in [DaviS3] (of totally-unrectifiable Ahlfors-regular
sets for which the β(x, t)’s tend to 0 uniformly as t →0), and there the issue
is more in the size of the holes in the set. The bβ’s, by definition, control
the sizes of holes. Note that this result for the bβ’s does have antecedents
for the classical notion of (countable) rectifiability, as in [Mat].
There are a number of variants of the bβ’s, in which one makes compar-
isons with other collections of sets besides d-planes, like unions of d-planes,
for instance. See [DaviS5].
Perhaps the strongest formulation of smoothness for uniformly rectifiable
sets is the existence of a “Corona decomposition”. This is a geometric version
of the information that one can get about a Lipschitz function from the
methods of Carleson’s Corona construction (as mentioned in Subsection 5.1).
Roughly speaking, in this condition one controls not only how often E is well-
50
approximated by a d-plane, but how fast the d-planes turn as well. This can
also be formulated in terms of good approximations of E by flat Lipschitz
graphs.
Although a bit technical, the existence of a Corona decomposition is
perhaps the most useful way of managing the complexity of a uniformly
rectifiable set. Once one has a Corona decomposition, it is generally pretty
easy to derive whatever else one would like to know. Conversely, in practice
the existence of a Corona decomposition can be a good place to start if one
wants to prove that a set is uniformly rectifiable.
In fact, there is a general procedure for finding a Corona decomposition
when it exists, and one which is fairly simple (and very similar to Carleson’s
Corona construction). The difficult part is to show that this procedure works
in the right way, with the correct estimates. Specifically, it is a stopping-time
argument, and one does not want to have to stop too often. This is a nice
point, because in general it is not so easy to build something like a good
parameterization of a set, even if one knows a priori that it exists. In this
context, there are in principle methods for doing this.
See [DaviS2, DaviS3, DaviS5, DaviS10, Sem1] for more information about
Corona decompositions of uniformly rectifiable sets and the way that they
can be used. The paper [DaviS10] is written in such a way as to try to convey
some of the basic concepts and constructions without worrying about why the
theorems are true (which is much more complicated). In particular, the basic
procedure for finding Corona decompositions when they exist is discussed.
See [GarnJ, Jon1, Jon3] for some other situations in which Carleson’s Corona
construction is used geometrically.
5.3 A class of variational problems
Uniform rectifiability is a pretty robust condition. If one has a set which
looks roughly as though it ought to be uniformly rectifiable, then there is a
good chance that it is. This as opposed to sets which look roughly as though
they should admit a well-behaved (homeomorphic) parameterization, and do
not (as discussed before).
In this subsection we would like to briefly mention a result of this type,
concerning a minimal surface problem with nonsmooth coefficients. Let
g(x) be a Borel measurable function on R
n
, and assume that g is positive,
51
bounded, and bounded away from 0, so that
0 < m ≤ g(x) ≤ M (5.28)
for some constants m, M and all x ∈ R
n
. Let Q
0
, Q
1
be a pair of (closed)
cubes in R
n
, with sides parallel to the axes, and assume that Q
0
is contained
in the interior of Q
1
.
Let U be an open subset of Q
1
which contains the interior of Q
0
. Consider
an integral like

∂U
g(x) dν
U
(x), (5.29)
where dν
U
denotes the measure that describes the (n−1)-dimensional volume
of subsets of ∂U. This would be defined as in calculus when ∂U is at least
a little bit smooth (like C
1
), but in general one has to be more careful.
One can simply take for dν
U
the restriction of (n−1)-dimensional Hausdorff
measure to ∂U, but for technical reasons it is often better to define dν
U
using
distributional derivatives of the characteristic function of U, as in [Giu]. For
this one would work with sets U which have “finite perimeter”, which means
exactly that the distributional first derivatives of the characteristic function
of U are measures of finite mass.
Here is one way in which this kind of functional, and the minimization
of this kind of functional, can come up. Let F be a closed subset of R
n
.
Imagine that one is particularly interested in domains U which have their
boundary contained in F, or very nearly so. On the other hand, one might
also wish to limit irregularities in the behavior of the boundary of U. For this
type of situation one could choose g so that it is much smaller on F than on
the complement of F, and then look for minimizers of (5.29) to find domains
with a good balance between the behavior of ∂U and the desire to have it be
contained (as much as possible) in F. (See [DaviS9] for an example of this.)
When do minimizers of (5.29) exist, and how do they behave? If one works
with sets of finite perimeter, and if the function g is lower semi-continuous,
then one can obtain the existence of minimizers through standard techniques
(as in [Giu]). That is, one takes limits of minimizing sequences for (5.29)
using weak compactness, and one uses the lower semi-continuity of g to get
lower semi-continuity of (5.29) with respect to suitable convergence of the
U’s. The latter ensures that the limit of the minimizing sequence is actually
a minimum. Note that the “obstacle” conditions that U contain the interior
of Q
0
and be contained in Q
1
prevents the minimization from collapsing into
something trivial.
52
As to the behavior of minimizers of (5.29), one cannot expect much in
the way of smoothness in general. For instance, if the boundary of U can
be represented locally as the graph of a Lipschitz function, then U in fact
minimizes (5.29) for a suitable choice of g. Specifically, one can take g to be
a sufficiently small positive constant on ∂U, and to be equal to 1 everywhere
else. That such a choice of g works is not very hard to establish, and more
precise results are given in [DaviS9].
Conversely, minimizers of (5.29) are always Ahlfors-regular sets of dimen-
sion n − 1, and uniformly rectifiable. This is shown in [DaviS9], along with
some additional geometric information which is sufficient to characterize the
class of sets U which occur as minimizers for functionals of the form (5.29)
(with g bounded and bounded away from 0). If a set U arises as the mini-
mizer for some g, it is also a minimizer with g chosen as above, i.e., a small
positive constant on ∂U and equal to 1 everywhere else.
The same regularity results work for a suitable class of “quasiminimizers”
of the usual area functional, and one that includes minimizers for (5.29) as
a special case.
Uniform rectifiability provides a natural level of structure for situations
like this, where stronger forms of smoothness cannot be expected, but quan-
titative bounds are reasonable to seek. Note that properties of ordinary
rectifiability always hold for boundaries of sets of finite perimeter, regardless
of any minimizing or quasiminimizing properties. See [Giu].
Analogous results about regularity work for sets of higher codimension as
well, although this case is more complicated technically. See [DaviS11] for
more information. One can use this framework of minimization (with respect
to nonsmooth coefficient functions g) as a tool for studying the structure of
sets in R
n
with upper bounds on their d-dimensional Hausdorff measure
and lower bounds for their d-dimensional topology. This brings one back
to Theorem 5.9 and related questions, and in particular more “localized”
versions of it.
To put it another way, minimization of functionals like these can provide
useful means for obtaining “existence results” for approximate parameter-
izations with good behavior, through uniform rectifiability. See [DaviS9,
DaviS11]. Part of the motivation for this came from an earlier argument
of Morel and Solimini [MoreS]. Their argument concerned the existence of
curves containing a given set, with good properties in terms of the distribu-
tion of the arc-length measure of these curves, under more localized condi-
tions on the given set (at all locations and scales). See Lemma 16.27 on p207
53
of [MoreS].
A Fourier transform calculations
If φ(x) is an integrable function on R
n
, then its Fourier transform
´
φ(ξ) is
defined (for ξ ∈ R
n
) by
´
φ(ξ) =

R
n
e
i x,ξ
φ(x) dx. (A.1)
Here 'x, ξ` denotes the usual inner product for x, ξ ∈ R
n
, and i =

−1.
Often one makes slightly different conventions for this definition — with
some extra factors of π around, for instance — but we shall not bother with
this.
A key feature of the Fourier transform is that it diagonalizes differential
operators. Specifically, if ∂
k
denotes the operator ∂/∂x
k
on R
n
, then
(∂
k
φ)
´
(ξ) = i ξ
k
´
φ(ξ), (A.2)
i.e., differentiation is converted into mere multiplication. For this one should
either make some differentiability assumptions on φ, so that the left side can
be defined in particular, or one should interpret this equation in the sense of
tempered distributions on R
n
. The Fourier transform also carries out this
diagonalization in a controlled manner. That is, there is an explicit inversion
formula (which looks a lot like the Fourier transform itself), and the Fourier
transform preserves the L
2
norm of the function φ, except for a multiplicative
constant, by the Plancherel theorem. See [SteW] for these and other basic
facts about the Fourier transform.
Using Plancherel’s theorem, it is very easy to give another proof of the
L
2
estimate (2.2) from Section 2, and to derive many other inequalities of
a similar nature. One can also use the Fourier transform to give a precise
definition of the operator R = ∂
j

k
/∆, where ∆ is the Laplace operator
¸
n
=1

2

. Specifically, one can define it through the equation
(Rφ)
´
(ξ) =
ξ
j
ξ
k
[ξ[
2
´
φ(ξ). (A.3)
If m(ξ) is any bounded function on R
n
, then
(Tφ)
´
(ξ) = m(ξ)
´
φ(ξ) (A.4)
54
defines a bounded operator on L
2
(R
n
). In general these operators are not
bounded on L
p
for any other value of p, but this is true for many of the
operators that arise naturally in analysis. For instance, suppose that m(ξ)
is homogeneous of degree 0, so that
m(tξ) = m(ξ) when t > 0, (A.5)
and that m(ξ) is smooth away from the origin. Then the associated operator
T is bounded on L
p
for all p with 1 < p < ∞. See [Ste1, SteW]. Note that
this criterion applies to the specific choice of m(ξ) in (A.3) above.
For a multiplier operator as in (A.4) to be bounded on L
1
or L

is
even more exceptional than for L
p
boundedness when 1 < p < ∞. (See
[SteW].) For instance, if m is homogeneous, as above, and not constant,
then the corresponding operator cannot be bounded on L
1
or L

. However,
if m is homogeneous and smooth away from the origin, then the operator
T in (A.4) does determine a bounded operator from L

into BMO. See
[GarcR, Garn, Jou, Ste2]. In fact, T determines a bounded operator from
BMO to itself.
Here is another example. Let φ now be a mapping from R
2
to itself,
with components φ
1
, φ
2
. Consider the differential dφ of φ as a matrix-valued
function, namely,


1
φ
1

1
φ
2

2
φ
1

2
φ
2

. (A.6)
(Let us assume that φ is smooth enough that the differential is at least some
kind of function when taken in the sense of distributions, although one can
perfectly well think of dφ as a matrix-valued distribution.) Let A and S
denote the antisymmetric and symmetric parts of dφ, respectively, so that
A =
dφ −dφ
t
2
, S =
dφ + dφ
t
2
, (A.7)
where dφ
t
denotes the transpose of dφ.
In this case of 2 2 matrices, the antisymmetric part A really contains
only one piece of information, namely

1
φ
2
−∂
2
φ
1
. (A.8)
It is not hard to check that this function can be reconstructed from the
entries of S through operators of the form (A.4), using functions m which
55
are homogeneous of degree 0 and smooth away from the origin. For this one
should add some mild conditions on φ, like compact support, to avoid the
possibility that S vanishes identically but A does not.
Under these conditions, we conclude that the L
p
norm of A is always
bounded by a constant multiple of the L
p
norm of S, 1 < p < ∞, and that
the BMO norm of A is controlled by the L

(or BMO) norm of S. (For the
case of BMO norms, the possibility that S vanishes but A does not causes
no trouble, because A will be constant in that case.)
This example is really a “linearized” version of the problem discussed in
Section 1. Specifically, let us think of f : R
2
→R
2
as being of the form
f(x) = x + φ(x), (A.9)
where is a small parameter. The extent to which f distorts distances is
governed by the matrix-valued function df
t
df, which we can write out as
df
t
df = I + 4 S +
2

t
dφ. (A.10)
Thus the linear term in is governed by S, while A controls the leading
behavior in of the “rotational” part of df.
B Mappings with branching
In general, there can be a lot of trouble with existence and complexity
of homeomorphisms (with particular properties, like specified domain and
range). If one allows mappings with branching, then the story can be very
different.
As a basic example of this, there is a classical result originating with
Alexander to the effect that any oriented pseudomanifold of dimension n
admits an orientation-preserving branched covering over the n-sphere. Let
us state this more carefully, and then see how it is proved.
Let M be a finite polyhedron. We assume that M is given as a finite
union of n-dimensional simplices that meet only in their boundary faces (so
that M is really a simplicial complex). To be a pseudomanifold means that
every (n − 1)-dimensional face in M arises as the boundary face of exactly
two n-dimensional simplices. In effect this says that M looks like a manifold
away from its codimension-2 skeleton (the corresponding statement for the
codimension-1 skeleton being automatic). For the present purposes it would
56
be enough to ask that every (n − 1)-dimensional face in M arise as the
boundary face of at most two n-dimensional simplices, which would be like
a “pseudomanifold with boundary”.
An orientation for an n-dimensional pseudomanifold M means a choice
of orientation (in the usual sense) for each of the constituent n-dimensional
simplices in M, with compatibility of orientations of adjacent n-dimensional
simplices along the common (n −1)-dimensional face. In terms of algebraic
topology, this means that the sum of the n-dimensional simplices in M, with
their orientations, defines an n-dimensional cycle on M.
For the purposes of the Alexander-type result, it will be convenient to
think of the n-sphere as consisting of two standard simplices S
1
and S
2
glued
together along the boundary. This is not quite a polyhedron in the usual
(affine) sense, but one could easily repair this by subdividing S
1
or S
2
. We
also assume that S
1
and S
2
have been oriented, and have opposite orientations
relative to their common boundary.
To define a mapping from M to the n-sphere one would like to simply
identify each of the constituent n-dimensional simplices in M with S
1
or S
2
in a suitable manner. Unfortunately, this does not work, even when n = 2,
but the problem can be fixed using a barycentric subdivision of M. Recall
that the barycenter of a simplex (embedded in some vector space) is the
point in the interior of the simplex which is the average of the vertices of
the simplex. The set of barycenters for M means the set of barycenters of
all of the constituent simplices in M (viewed as a simplicial complex), of all
dimensions, including 0. In particular, the set of barycenters for M includes
the vertices of M (which are themselves 0-dimensional simplices, and their
own barycenters). The barycentric subdivision of M is a refinement of M as
a simplicial complex whose vertices are exactly the set of barycenters of M.
In other words, the set M as a whole does not change, just its decomposition
into simplices, which is replaced by a finer decomposition.
Here is a precise description of the simplices in the barycentric subdivision
of M. Let s
0
, s
1
, . . . , s
k
be a finite sequence of simplices in M, with each s
i
an
i-dimensional simplex which is a face of s
i+1
(when i < k). Let b(s
i
) denote
the barycenter of s
i
. Then b(s
0
), b(s
1
), . . . , b(s
k
) are affinely independent,
and hence determine a k-dimensional simplex. The simplices that arise in
this manner are precisely the ones used for the barycentric subdivision of M.
(See p123 of [Spa] for more details.)
Let
¯
V denote the set of all vertices in the barycentric subdivision of M.
This is the same as the set of points which arise as barycenters of simplices
57
in the original version of M, and in particular we have a natural mapping
from
¯
V to the integers ¦0, 1, . . . , n¦, defined by associating to each point b in
¯
V the dimension of the simplex from which it was derived.
If T is a k-dimensional simplex in the barycentric subdivision of M, then
the mapping from
¯
V to ¦0, 1, . . . , n¦ just described induces a one-to-one
correspondence between the k + 1 vertices of T and the set ¦0, 1, . . . , k¦.
This follows easily from the definitions.
We are now ready to define our mapping from M to the n-sphere. There
are exactly n + 1 vertices in our realization of the n-sphere as the gluing of
S
1
and S
2
. Let us identify these vertices with the integers from 0 to n. Thus
our mapping from
¯
V to ¦0, 1, . . . , n¦ can now be interpreted as a mapping
from the vertices of the barycentric subdivision of M to the vertices of the
n-sphere.
This mapping between vertices admits a canonical linear extension to
each k-dimensional simplex, k < n, in the barycentric subdivision of M. For
the n-dimensional simplices the extension is uniquely determined once one
chooses S
1
or S
2
for the image of the simplex. Because of the orientations,
there is only one natural choice of S
1
or S
2
for each n-dimensional simplex
T, namely the one so that the linear mapping from T onto S
j
is orientation-
preserving.
In the end we get a mapping from the barycentric subdivision of M to
the n-sphere which preserves orientations and which defines an affine iso-
morphism from each n-dimensional simplex T in the domain onto one of S
1
and S
2
. This uses the fact that our initial mapping between vertices was
always one-to-one on the set of vertices in any given simplex in the domain,
by construction.
This completes the proof. We should emphasize that the singularities
of the mapping from M to the n-sphere — i.e., the places where it fails to
be a local homeomorphism — are confined to the codimension-2 skeleton of
the barycentric subdivision of M. This is because of the orientation and
pseudomanifold conditions, which ensure that if a point in M lies in the
interior of an (n − 1)-dimensional simplex in the barycentric subdivision of
M, then the (two) adjacent n-simplices at that point are not sent to the same
S
j
in the image.
The idea of branching also makes sense for mappings that are not piecewise-
linear, and there are well-developed notions of “controlled geometry” in this
case, as with the classes of quasiregular mappings and mappings of bounded
length distortion. See [HeiKiM, MartRiV1, MartRiV2, MartRiV3, MartV,
58
Res, Ric1, V¨ ai2, Vuo], for instance. In [HeiR1, HeiR2] there are examples
where branching maps of controlled geometry can be constructed but suitable
homeomorphisms either do not exist or must distort distances more severely.
Sullivan [Sul2, Sul3] has proposed some mechanisms by which the exis-
tence of local (controlled) branching maps can be deduced, and some ideas
for studying obstructions to controlled homeomorphic coordinates.
See [Gut+, HeiKi, MartRyV] for some recent results about branching and
regularity conditions under which it does not occur. A broader and more
detailed discussion of mappings with branching can be found in [HeiR2]. For
some real-variable considerations of mappings which may branch but enjoy
substantial geometric properties, see [Davi4, Jon2, DaviS4].
C More on existence and behavior of home-
omorphisms
C.1 Wildness and tameness phenomena
Consider the following question. Let n be a positive integer, and let K be
a compact subset of R
n
. If K is homeomorphic to the unit interval [0, 1], is
there
a global homeomorphism from R
n
onto itself (C.1)
which maps K to a straight line segment?
If n = 1, then K itself is a closed line segment, and the answer is “yes”.
When n = 2, the answer is also “yes”, but this is more complicated, and is
more in the spirit of the Sch¨ onflies theorem in the plane. See [Moi], especially
Chapter 10.
When n ≥ 3, the answer to the question above can be “no”. An arc K
is said to be “tame” (or flat) when a homeomorphism does exist as in (C.1),
and “wild” when it does not exist. See [Moi] for some examples of wild arcs
in R
3
.
Smooth arcs are always tame, as are polygonal arcs, i.e., arcs made up of
finitely many straight line segments. For these one can take the correspond-
ing homeomorphism to be smooth or piecewise-linear as well. (Compare with
Theorem 1 on p134 of [Moi], for instance.) In order for an arc to be wild,
some amount of infinite processes are needed.
59
A simple closed curve in R
3
might be smooth or polygonal and still knot-
ted, so that there does not exist a homeomorphism of R
3
onto itself which
maps the curve onto a standard circle (inside a standard 2-dimensional plane
in R
3
). There are many well-known examples of this, like the trefoil knot.
Thus, for a closed curve, one defines “wildness” in a slightly differently way,
in terms of the existence of local flattenings, for instance. This turns out to be
compatible with the case of arcs (for which there is no issue of knottedness),
and there are some other natural variants of this.
Here is another basic example, for sets of higher dimension. Suppose that
γ is a simple closed curve in R
3
, which is a polygonal curve, and which repre-
sents the trefoil knot. Consider the cone over γ, which gives a 2-dimensional
polyhedron in R
4
, and which is in fact piecewise-linearly equivalent to a
standard 2-dimensional cell. One can show that this embedding of the 2-cell
is not locally flat at the cone point, i.e., it cannot be straightened out to
agree with a standard (geometrically flat) embedding by a homeomorphism
defined on a neighborhood in R
4
of the cone point. Similar phenomena occur
for codimension-2 embeddings in R
n
for all n ≥ 4, as in Example 2.3.2 on
p59-60 of [Rus1].
This phenomenon is special to codimension 2, however. Specifically, a
piecewise-linear embedding of a k-dimensional piecewise-linear manifold into
R
n
is locally topologically flat if n−k = 2 (or if k = 1 and n = 3, as before).
See Theorem 1.7.2 on p34 of [Rus1].
In the context of piecewise-linear embeddings, one can also look for local
flattenings which are piecewise-linear. A similar remark applies to other
categories of mappings. We shall not pursue this here.
Wild embeddings of cells and spheres (and other manifolds) exist in R
n
for all n ≥ 3, and for all dimensions of the cells and spheres (from 1 to n−1).
This includes embeddings of cells and spheres which are not equivalent to
piecewise-linear embeddings in codimension 2. We shall mostly consider
here issues of existence of topological flattenings or local flattenings, and
embeddings which are not normally given as piecewise-linear.
See [Bin6, Bur, BurC, Can1, Dave1, Dave2, Edw1, Moi, Rus1, Rus2]
for more information, and for further references. Let us also mention that
embeddings, although wild, may still enjoy substantial good behavior. For
instance, they may be bilipschitz, as in (4.7), or quasisymmetric, in the sense
of [TukV]. (Roughly speaking, an embedding is quasisymmetric if relative
distances are approximately preserved, rather than distances themselves, as
for a bilipschitz mapping.) See [Geh1, LuuV, V¨ ai3] for some basic results
60
about this.
As another version of wildness for embeddings, imagine that one has
a compact set C in some R
n
, and that C is homeomorphic to the usual
middle-thirds Cantor set. Can one move C to a subset of a straight line in
R
n
, through a homeomorphism from R
n
onto itself?
When n = 1 this is automatically true. It is also true when n = 2; see
[Moi], especially Chapter 13. In higher dimensions it is not true in general,
as is shown by a famous construction of Antoine (“Antoine’s necklaces”). See
Chapter 18 of [Moi] and [Bla].
How can one tell when a set is embedded wildly or not? As a simple
case, let us consider Cantor sets. If C is a compact subset of R
n
which lies
in a line and is homeomorphic to the Cantor set, and if n is at least 3, then
the complement of C in R
n
is simply-connected. This is not hard to see.
Basically, if one takes a loop in the complement of C and fills it with a disk
in R
n
, and if that disk happens to run into C, then one can make small
perturbations of the disk to avoid intersecting C.
The complement of C is also simply-connected if there is a global home-
omorphism from R
n
onto itself which maps C into a line. This is merely
because the homeomorphism itself permits one to reduce to the previous
case.
However, Antoine’s necklaces have the property that their complements
are not simply-connected. See [Moi, Bla]. Note that the homology of the
complement of a compact set in R
n
is controlled through the intrinsic topol-
ogy of the set itself, as in Alexander duality [Spa]. In particular, while the
complement of an Antoine’s necklace may not be simply-connected, its 1-
dimensional homology does vanish.
Versions of the fundamental group play an important role for wildness
and taming in general, and not just for Cantor sets. For this one may not
take (or want to take) the fundamental group of the whole complementary
set, but look at more localized forms of the fundamental group. A specific
and basic version of this is the following. Suppose that F is a closed set inside
of some R
n
. Given a point p ∈ F, and a loop γ in R
n
`F which lies close to
p, one would like to know whether it is possible to contract γ to a point in
R
n
`F while staying in a small neighborhood of p. This second neighborhood
of p might not be quite as small the first one; a precise statement would say
that for every > 0 there is a δ > 0 so that if γ lies in B(p, δ) ∩ (R
n
`F),
then γ can be contracted to a point in B(p, ) ∩ (R
n
`F).
This type of condition is satisfied by standard embeddings of sets into
61
R
n
, like Cantor sets, cells, and spheres, at least when the dimension of the
set is different from n − 2. For a point in R
2
, or a line segment in R
3
, etc.,
one would get Z for the corresponding localized fundamental group of the
complement of the set. (In the case of a line segment in R
3
, one should
restrict one’s attention to points p in the interior of the segment for this.)
Conversely, there are results which permit one to go backwards, and say
that localized fundamental group conditions for the complement like these
(localized simple-connectedness conditions in particular) lead to tameness of
a given set, or other kind of “standard” (non-wild) behavior. See [Bin5, Bin6,
Bin8, Bur, BurC, Can1, Can2, Dave1, Dave2, Edw1, Moi, Qui1, Qui2, Rus1,
Rus2] for more information about localized fundamental groups and their
role in wildness phenomena and taming theorems (and for related matters
and further references).
Fundamental groups and localized versions of them have a basic role in
geometric topology in general. Some aspects of this came up before in Section
3, and we shall encounter some more in this appendix.
One might wonder why π
1
and localized versions of it play such an im-
portant role. Some basic points behind this are as follows. For homology (or
cohomology), one often has good information from data in the given situation
through standard results in algebraic topology, like duality theorems. This
definitely does not work for π
1
, as shown by many examples, including the
ones mentioned above, and others later in this appendix. In circumstances
with suitable simple-connectivity, one can pass from information about ho-
mology to information about homotopy (in general dimensions), as in the
Hurewicz and Whitehead theorems. See [Bred1, Spa]. For many construc-
tions, homotopy is closer to what one really needs.
Another basic point concerns the effect of stabilization. A wild embedding
of a set into some R
n
can become tame when viewed as an embedding into
an R
m
with m > n (m = n+1 in particular). The same is true for knotting.
For instance, a smooth loop may be knotted in R
3
, but when viewed as a
subset of R
4
, it is always unknotted. This is easy to see in explicit examples
(like a trefoil knot).
For some simple and general results about wild embeddings in R
n
be-
coming tame in a larger R
m
, see Proposition 4 on p84 of [Dave2], and the
corollaries on p85 of [Dave2]. These involve a famous device of Klee. In con-
crete examples, one can often see the taming in a larger-dimensional space
directly, and explicitly. Examples of wild sets are often made with the help
of various linkings, or something like that, and in a higher-dimensional space
62
one can disentangle the linked parts. This can be accomplished by taking in-
dividual pieces and pulling them into a new dimension, moving them around
freely there, and then putting them back into the original R
n
in a different
way.
This simplifying effect of stabilization also fits with the role of localized
versions of fundamental groups indicated before. Let F be a closed set inside
of some R
n
, and imagine that one has a loop γ in R
n
`F which lies in a small
ball centered at a point in F. In the condition that was discussed earlier, one
would like to contract γ to a point in the complement of F, while remaining
in a small ball. If one thinks of γ and F as being also inside R
n+1
, then
it is easy to contract γ to a point in the complement of F in R
n+1
, while
remaining in a small ball. Specifically, one can first translate γ into a parallel
copy of R
n
inside of R
n+1
, i.e., into R
n
¦a¦ for some a = 0 rather than
R
n
¦0¦ in R
n+1
(using the obvious identifications). This parallel copy is
then disjoint from F, and one can contract the loop in a standard way. Note
that this argument works independently of the behavior of F.
Using taming theorems based on localized fundamental group conditions,
and considerations like those in the previous paragraph, one can get stronger
results on tameness that occurs from stabilization than the ones on p84-
85 in [Dave2] mentioned above. More precisely, instead of needing k extra
dimensions in some cases, it is enough to go from R
n
to R
n+1
. Compare
with the bottom of p390 and the top of p391 in [Dave1], and the references
indicated there. (Compare also with the remarks on p452 of [Can1].)
At any rate, this type of phenomenon, of objects becoming more “tame”
or simple after stabilization, is a very basic one in geometric topology (as
well as other areas, for that matter). We shall encounter a number of other
instances of this in this appendix. As in the present setting, the effect of
stabilization is also frequently related to conditions concerning localized fun-
damental groups. I.e., such conditions often become true, and in a simple
way, after stabilization.
C.2 Contractable open sets
Fix a positive integer n.
If U is a nonempty contractable open subset of R
n
, (C.2)
is U necessarily homeomorphic to the open unit ball in R
n
?
63
For the record, to say that U is contractable means that the identity mapping
on U is homotopic to a constant, through (continuous) mappings from U into
itself. In particular, the homotopy and homology groups of U (of positive
dimension) would then vanish, just as for an n-dimensional ball.
When n = 1, the answer to the question in (C.2) is “yes”. In this case,
U is either the whole real line, an open segment in the real line, or an open
ray. Each of these is easily seen to be homeomorphic to the interval (−1, 1),
which is the unit ball in this case.
If n = 2, then the answer to the question in (C.2) is “yes” again. This is
a well-known fact, and we shall return to it later, in Subsection C.8.
Starting in dimension 3, the answer to the question in (C.2) is “no”.
We shall say something about examples for this in a moment, but let us
first ask ourselves the following: how might one be able to tell that a given
contractable open set in R
n
is not homeomorphic to an n-dimensional ball?
Here again a localized version of the fundamental group is important.
If n ≥ 3, then a necessary condition for a set U to be homeomorphic to
an n-dimensional ball is that U be “simply connected at infinity”. Roughly
speaking, this means that if one takes a closed loop γ out near infinity in U,
then it should be possible to contract γ to a point, while staying out near
infinity too (although perhaps not as much as γ itself is).
Here is a more formal definition. For this we also include “connectedness
at infinity” as a first part.
Definition C.3 Let U be an open set in R
n
, or a topological space more
generally. (Normally one might at least ask that U be locally compact.)
U is connected at infinity if for each compact set K
0
⊆ U there is a larger
compact set L
0
⊆ U such that every pair of points in U`L
0
is contained in
a connected set which is itself contained in U`K
0
. (One can define “arcwise
connectedness at infinity” in a similar manner. The two notions are equiv-
alent under assumptions of local arcwise connectedness, and for topological
manifolds in particular.)
U is simply-connected at infinity if it is connected at infinity, and if for
every compact set K
1
⊆ U there is a larger compact set L
1
⊆ U so that if
γ is an arbitrary closed loop in U`L
1
(i.e., an arbitrary continuous mapping
from the unit circle S
1
into U`L
1
), then γ is homotopic to a constant through
continuous mappings from the circle into U`K
1
.
If U is the unit ball in R
n
, n ≥ 3, then U is simply-connected at infinity.
Indeed, let B(0, r) denote the open ball in R
n
with center 0 and radius r,
64
and let B(0, r) denote the corresponding closed ball. Then every compact
subset of B(0, 1) is contained in B(0, r) for some r < 1. For each r < 1,
B(0, r) is a compact subset of B(0, 1), and B(0, 1)`B(0, r) is connected when
n ≥ 2, and simply-connected when n ≥ 3. This is because B(0, 1)`B(0, r)
is homeomorphic to S
n−1
(r, 1), and S
j
is connected when j ≥ 1, and
simply-connected when j ≥ 2.
The property of being simply-connected at infinity is clearly preserved by
homeomorphisms. Thus to get a contractable open set U in R
n
which is not
homeomorphic to an n-dimensional ball, it suffices to choose U so that it is
not simply-connected at infinity.
If U is contractable, then it is simply-connected itself in particular. If
U is simply-connected, connected at infinity, and not simply-connected at
infinity, then it means that there is a compact set K ⊆ U and loops γ in U
which lie as far towards infinity as one would like (i.e., in the complement of
any given compact subset of U) such that (a) γ can be contracted to a point
in U, and (b) γ cannot be contracted to a point in U`K. To put it another
way, these loops γ can be contracted to points in U, but in doing this one
always has to pass through at least one element of the compact set K.
A mechanism for having this happen for a set U contained in R
3
is given
by the construction of “the Whitehead continuum” [White]. (See also [Dave2,
Kir].) Here is an outline of the procedure.
Start with a standard smooth “round” solid torus T in R
3
. Here T should
be a compact set, i.e., it should contain its boundary.
Next one chooses another smooth solid torus T
1
inside T. More precisely,
T
1
should lie in the interior of T. One chooses T
1
in a particular way, which
can be imagined as follows. (Pictures can be found on p68 of [Dave2] and p82
of [Kir].) First take a “small” solid torus in T, small enough to be contained
in a topological ball in T. One can think of grabbing hold of this small solid
torus at two ends, and then stretching them around the “hole” in the larger
torus T. One stretches them around the two different sides of the hole in
T. To get T
1
, these two ends should hook around each other on the other
side of the hole. In other words, one might imagine having the two ends of
the small solid torus from before, stretched around opposite sides of T, and
then passing one across the other, until they do not touch any more, but are
clasped together, like two hooks, or two links in a chain. The configuration
looks locally like two hooks or links clasped together, but in fact one has two
ends of the single solid torus T
1
, wrapped around the hole in T.
If T
1
is chosen in this way, then it has the following two basic properties.
65
The first is that it is homotopically trivial in T. That is, the identity mapping
on T
1
is homotopic to a constant mapping through (continuous) mappings
from T
1
into T. This follows exactly the description above; in making the
homotopy, one is allowed to stretch or move T
1
around as much as one like,
and one is allowed to have different parts of (images of ) T
1
cross each other in
T. To put it a bit differently, the mappings being deformed are not required
to be injective.
The second property is that T
1
is not “isotopically trivial”. This means
that one cannot continuously deform T
1
through an isotopy of T into a set
which lies in a ball contained in T. In effect, this means that one cannot
continuously deform T
1
inside T in such a way that T
1
ends up in a ball in
T, and so that the deformations do not ever cross each other (unlike the
homotopy in the previous paragraph). If one could get T
1
inside a ball in T,
then one could continue the deformation to get an isotopy into an arbitrarily
small ball. One would not ask for shrinking T
1
to a point here, because this
is automatically prevented by injectivity (independent of clasping or not).
This explains how T and T
1
should be chosen. Since T
1
is a 3-dimensional
smooth solid torus in its own right, one can repeat the process to get another
smooth solid torus T
2
contained in it, and in fact contained in the interior
of T
1
. In other words, since T and T
1
are both smooth solid tori, they
are diffeomorphic to each other in particular, and this can be used to make
precise the idea of “repeating the process”. Specifically, if φ : T →T
1
is such
a diffeomorphism, then one can take T
2
to be φ(T
1
).
One then repeats the process indefinitely, getting smooth solid tori T
j
for
j = 1, 2, . . . such that T
j+1
is contained in the interior of T
j
for each j, and
so that T
j+1
is arranged in T
j
in the same way as T
1
is arranged in T.
Now let W be the intersection of all these solid tori T
j
. This gives a
nonempty compact set in R
3
. We can think of W as lying inside of S
3
,
and then take U = S
3
`W. One can also rotate this around so that U
actually lies in R
3
. One can show that U is contractable, but not simply-
connected at infinity. See [Dave2, Kir, White] for more information. (For the
purposes of looking at U, the complement of W, it can be convenient to use a
modestly different description of the construction, in which one builds U up
from smaller pieces in an “increasing” manner, analogous to the “decreasing”
construction for W above.)
Although U is not homeomorphic to a 3-dimensional ball in this case, the
Cartesian product of U with a nonempty open interval is homeomorphic to
a 4-dimensional ball. This is attributed to Arnold Shapiro in [Bin3]; see also
66
Section 10 of [Bin4] and [Kir]. This is analogous to the effect of stabilization
before, in Subsection C.1. In particular, one can check directly that taking
the Cartesian product with the interval gets rid of the problem that U itself
has with simple-connectivity at infinity. This is a general phenomenon, which
is relevant as well for other situations mentioned in this appendix. A similar
point came up Subsection C.1.
Beginning in dimension 4, there are contractable open sets in R
n
which
are not topological n-balls, and which have the additional feature that their
closures are compact manifolds with boundary. This last does not work
in dimension 3, and, for that matter, the complement of the Whitehead
continuum in S
3
cannot be realized as the interior of a compact manifold
with boundary, whether or not this compact manifold should occur as the
closure of the set in S
3
. The reason is that if such a compact manifold
did exist, its boundary would be a 2-dimensional surface with the homology
of the 2-sphere. We shall say more about this in a moment. In this case
the boundary would have to be homeomorphic to the 2-sphere. This would
contradict the failure of simple-connectivity at infinity for the original space,
since S
2
is simply-connected.
The difference with n ≥ 4 is that the boundary can be a homology (n−1)-
sphere (i.e., a manifold with the same homology as S
n−1
) which is not simply-
connected. The interior then fails to be simply-connected at infinity again,
and is not homeomorphic to an n-ball in particular.
For some related information and references concerning these examples
in dimensions greater than or equal to 4, see [Dave2], including the top of
p94, and the discussion on p103-104.
C.2.1 Some positive results
For dimensions n ≥ 4, it is known that every contractable topological man-
ifold M which is simply-connected at infinity is homeomorphic to R
n
. See
[Sta1] for n ≥ 5, and Corollary 1.2 on p366 of [Fre] for n = 4. A related
reference is [McMZ]. Actually, [Sta1] is stated for the piecewise-linear cat-
egory; one can go from there to the topological category via [KirS]. The
four-dimensional result does not work in the smooth or piecewise-linear cate-
gories (which are equivalent in dimension 4), because of the existence of “fake
R
4
’s (smooth manifolds homeomorphic to R
4
, but not diffeomorphic to it).
Concerning the latter, see [FreQ] (p122 in particular) and [Kir] (Chapter
XIV).
67
These topics are also related to “McMillan’s cellularity criterion”, in
[McM]. A 4-dimensional version of this is given in [Fre], in Theorem 1.11
on p373. We shall discuss cellularity and this criterion further in Subsubsec-
tion C.4.1.
Now let us look more closely at the case of compact manifolds with bound-
ary. Suppose that N is an n-dimensional compact topological manifold with
boundary. Consider the following question:
If N is contractable and ∂N is a topological (n −1)-sphere, (C.4)
is N homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in R
n
?
This question is actually equivalent to the Poincar´e conjecture (in dimension
n, and in the topological category). This is a well-known fact. The main
points are the following. If one is given a compact n-dimensional topological
manifold without boundary which is a homotopy n-sphere, then one can get
an n-dimensional manifold N as in (C.4) from it by cutting out a topological
ball (with tame boundary). If this manifold N is homeomorphic to the closed
unit ball in R
n
, then one can obtain that the original space was homeomor-
phic to the standard n-sphere, by gluing the ball which was removed back in.
(We shall say more about this in Remark C.5.) Conversely, given a manifold
N as in (C.4), one can get a homotopy n-sphere from it by gluing in a ball
along the boundary of N. To go from this and the Poincar´e conjecture to the
conclusion that N is homeomorphic to a closed ball, one can use the “gener-
alized Sch¨ onflies theorem”, discussed later in this subsection (after Remark
C.5).
In particular, the answer to (C.4) is known to be “yes” when n = 3, and
the problem is open for n = 3.
There are some analogous relationships between the Poincar´e conjecture
and contractable open manifolds. Namely, if one starts with a compact n-
dimensional topological manifold without boundary P which is a homotopy
n-sphere, then one can get an n-dimensional contractable open manifold by
removing a point x from P. If n ≥ 3, then P`¦x¦ will also be simply-
connected at infinity, as one can check using the manifold structure of P
around x. If one knows that P`¦x¦ is homeomorphic to R
n
, then one can
deduce that P, which is topologically the same as the one-point compactifi-
cation of P`¦x¦, is homeomorphic to S
n
.
However, it is not as easy to go in the other direction, from contractable
open manifolds which are simply-connected at infinity to compact manifolds
68
which are homotopy-equivalent to a sphere, as it is in (C.4). One can take
the one-point compactification of the open manifold to get a compact space,
but it is not immediately clear that this space is a manifold. The simple-
connectivity at infinity for the open manifold is a necessary condition for
this (when n ≥ 3), but the converse is more complicated. There are broader
issues concerning the behavior of open manifolds at infinity, and we shall
mention some aspects of this in Subsubsection C.2.2 and Subsection C.3.
For the first part, about going from P to an open manifold, suppose
that one is in a situation where there is a general result to the effect that
an n-dimensional contractable open manifold which is simply-connected at
infinity is homeomorphic to R
n
for some fixed n. As above, one can use this
to show that a compact n-dimensional manifold P (without boundary) which
is homotopy-equivalent to S
n
is homeomorphic to S
n
. A complication with
this type of argument is that one does not necessarily say too much about
the behavior of the homeomorphism at the point x which was removed and
added back again (in the notation before), even if one knows more about P
and the homeomorphism between P`¦x¦ and R
n
. In this respect, arguments
that go through compact manifolds with boundary, as in (C.4), can work
better; there are also some tricky aspects in this case, though, and we shall
say more about this next.
Remark C.5 There are some subtleties about gluing in balls in the context
of (C.4) and its correspondence with the Poincar´e conjecture in the smooth
category. If one takes two copies of the closed unit ball in R
n
, and glues
them together using a homeomorphism between their boundaries, then the
resulting space is homeomorphic to a standard n-dimensional sphere. This is
a standard observation (which can be proved using the fact mentioned in the
next paragraph), and it works for any gluing homeomorphism. If the gluing
map is a diffeomorphism, then the resulting space is a smooth manifold in a
natural way, but it may not be diffeomorphic to a standard sphere. Exotic
spheres can be viewed in this manner, as gluings of standard closed balls
through (tricky) diffeomorphisms along their boundaries.
In the topological case, one can use the following fact. Let B
n
denote
the closed unit ball in R
n
. If h is a homeomorphism from ∂B
n
onto itself,
then h can be extended to a homeomorphism from B
n
onto itself. One can
do this by a straightforward “radial extension”. This method also works for
the analogous statement in the piecewise-linear category. However, in the
smooth category, a radial extension like this is not smooth in general at the
69
origin in B
n
. An extension to a diffeomorphism may simply not exist (radial
or not).
In any of the three categories, once one has an extension like this, one can
use it to get an equivalence between the space obtained by gluing together
the two copies of B
n
, and the standard n-dimensional sphere. The extension
unwinds the effect of the gluing map, if the gluing map is not the standard
one. In the smooth case, this may not be possible, and this occurs with
exotic spheres.
Let us look some more at (C.4), in the topological category. If N happens
to be given as a subset of R
n
, in addition to the conditions in (C.4), then N
is homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in R
n
. This can be derived from the
“generalized Sch¨ onflies theorem” [Brow1, Maz, Mors]. This result says that
if one has an embedding f of S
n−1
[−1, 1] into R
n
, then f(S
n−1
¦0¦) can
be realized as the image of S
n−1
under a homeomorphism mapping all of R
n
onto itself. See also Theorem 6 on p38 of [Dave2].
Let us be a bit more precise about the way that the generalized Sch¨ onflies
theorem is used here. The first point is that the boundary of N is “collared”
in N. This means that there is a neighborhood of ∂N in N which is home-
omorphic to ∂N [0, 1), and where the homeomorphism maps each point
z ∈ N to (z, 0) ∈ ∂N ¦0¦. The assumption that N be a topological man-
ifold with boundary gives a local version of this at each point in ∂N, and
one can derive the existence of a global collaring from a result of Brown. See
[Brow2, Con] and Theorem 8 on p40 of [Dave2].
On the other hand, to apply the generalized Sch¨ onflies theorem, one
needs a topological (n−1)-sphere in R
n
which is “bicollared”, i.e., occurs as
f(S
n−1
¦0¦) for some embedding f : S
n−1
[−1, 1] → R
n
. The boundary
of N is collared inside of N, but may not be bi-collared inside R
n
. To deal
with this, one can use a parallel copy of ∂N in the interior of N, provided
by the collaring of ∂N inside N. This parallel copy is now bi-collared in the
interior of N, because of the collaring that we have for N.
If N lies inside R
n
, then this parallel copy is also bi-collared inside R
n
.
One can apply the generalized Sch¨ onflies theorem, to get that the region
in R
n
bounded by this parallel copy of ∂N, together with this copy of ∂N
itself, is homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in R
n
. To get back to N in
its entirety, one uses the original collaring of ∂N inside N, to know that the
missing part of N is homeomorphic to the product of ∂N

= S
n−1
with an
interval, and to glue this to the other piece without causing trouble.
70
Thus one can get a positive answer to (C.4) when N lies inside R
n
, using
the generalized Sch¨ onflies theorem. This is simpler than the solutions of the
Poincar´e conjecture, and it does not require any restrictions on the dimension
n. The assumption of contractability of N is not needed for this either. (For
arbitrary manifolds, not necessarily embedded in R
n
, this assumption would
be crucial.)
In general, if N is an n-dimensional compact topological manifold with
boundary which is contractable, then the boundary ∂N is always a homol-
ogy sphere (has the same homology groups as an (n−1)-dimensional sphere).
This is a well-known fact. One could use Theorem 9.2 on p357 of [Bred1],
for instance. Conversely, any compact (n −1)-dimensional topological man-
ifold without boundary which is a homology sphere can be realized as the
boundary of an n-dimensional compact topological manifold with boundary
which is contractable. This is elementary for n ≤ 3, where the homology
spheres are all ordinary spheres, and can be filled with balls. For n ≥ 5,
this is given in [Ker1], in the piecewise-linear category (for both the ho-
mology sphere and its filling by a contractable manifold). For n ≥ 6, one
can convert this into a statement about topological manifolds, through the
Kirby–Siebenmann theory [KirS]. See also the bottom of p184 of [Dave2].
For n = 5 in the topological category, see the corollary on p197 of [FreQ]. See
also Corollary 2B on p287 of [Dave2] for n ≥ 5 and the topological category.
(For the smooth category in high dimensions, there are complications which
come from the existence of exotic spheres, as in the discovery of Milnor.)
For n = 4, see [Fre, FreQ]. In particular, see Theorem 1.4’ on p367
of [Fre], and Corollary 9.3C on p146 of [FreQ]. In this case it can happen
that the filling by a contractable manifold cannot be given as a piecewise-
linear manifold. The boundary ∂N would always admit a unique piecewise-
linear structure, by well-known results about 3-dimensional manifolds (as in
[Moi]). Concerning the possible lack of piecewise-linear filling for a homology
3-sphere by a contractable 4-manifold, see [Fre, FreQ, Kir].
A famous example of a homology 3-sphere which is not simply-connected
is given by the “Poincar´e homology sphere”. This is a quotient of the stan-
dard S
3
by the (finite) icosahedral group. See Theorem 8.10 on p353 of
[Bred1]. This is a particular example where a contractable filling exists
among topological 4-manifolds, but not among piecewise-linear manifolds.
See [Fre, FreQ, Kir].
If H is a k-dimensional compact manifold (without boundary) which is
k-dimensional homology sphere, and if H is also simply-connected, then H is
71
homotopy-equivalent to the standard k-dimensional sphere. This is a stan-
dard fact from topology, which was also mentioned in Section 3. In this case,
the Poincar´e conjecture in dimension k would seek to say that H should be
homeomorphic to S
k
.
Note that if N is a compact manifold with boundary, then ∂N is simply-
connected if and only if the interior of N is simply-connected at infinity in
the sense of Definition C.3.
C.2.2 Ends of manifolds
Suppose that M is an n-dimensional manifold without boundary which is
“open”, i.e., not compact. What can one say about the “ends” of M?
In particular, when can M be realized as the interior of a compact man-
ifold with boundary? This would be a nice way of “taming” the end.
This type of issue is clearly related to the questions considered through-
out this subsection. It also makes sense in general, whether or not M is
contractable, or one expects it to be homeomorphic to a ball, or one expects
the end to be spherical.
Some sufficient conditions for realizing an open manifold as the interior of
a compact manifold with boundary in high dimensions are given in [BroLL].
A characterization for this is given in [Sie1]. See also [Ker2] concerning the
latter.
For dimension 5 (with 4-dimensional boundaries), see [Qui3] and Section
11.9 of [FreS]. For dimension 4 (with 3-dimensional boundaries), see Theorem
1.12 on p373 of [Fre], and Section 11.9 in [FreQ]. Concerning dimension 3,
see p216 of [FreQ].
In all of these, the fundamental group at infinity plays an important role.
C.3 Interlude: looking at infinity, or looking near a
point
Let M be a topological manifold of dimension n, and without boundary.
Assume that M is open, i.e., not compact.
Define
´
M to be the one-point compactification of M, through the usual
recipe. That is, one adds to M a special point q, the point at infinity, and
the neighborhoods of q in
´
M are given by sets of the form
´
M`K, where K
is a compact subset of M.
72
Consider the following question:
Under what conditions is
´
M a topological manifold? (C.6)
One might look at this as a kind of local question, about the behavior of
a space at a given point, or as a question about large-scale behavior of M.
It is not hard to see that
´
M will be a topological manifold exactly when M
looks like (is homeomorphic to) S
n−1
[0, 1) outside of a set with compact
closure. Equivalently,
´
M is a manifold exactly when M can be realized as
the interior of a compact manifold with boundary, where the boundary is
homeomorphic to S
n−1
. (This uses Brown’s theorem about the existence of
collars for boundaries of manifolds with boundary, as in [Brow2, Con] and
Theorem 8 on p40 of [Dave2].)
The large-scale perspective of (C.6) is somewhat close in outlook to Sub-
section C.2, especially Subsubsection C.2.1, while the local view is perhaps
more like the perspective in Subsection C.1. Concerning the latter, one might
think of local taming properties of embedded sets in terms of existence of
“normal bundles” for the embedded sets. Similarly, one can think of (C.6)
as asking about the existence of a normal bundle for
´
M at the point q. In
this regard, one might compare with the discussion in Section 9.3 in [FreQ],
especially Theorem 9.3A and Corollary 9.3B.
For the record, let us note that a necessary condition for
´
M to be a
manifold is that
M is simply-connected at infinity, (C.7)
at least if n ≥ 3. In “local” language, we can reformulate this condition as
follows: for every neighborhood U of q in
´
M, there is a neighborhood V of q
such that V ⊆ U,
every pair of points x, y ∈ V `¦q¦ lies in a connected set in U`¦q¦, (C.8)
and
every loop γ in V `¦q¦ can be contracted to a point in U`¦q¦. (C.9)
This is similar to the localized fundamental group conditions mentioned in
Subsection C.1.
Let us now think of
´
M as being any topological space, and not necessarily
the one-point compactification of an open manifold. For a given point q ∈
´
M,
one can still ask whether
´
M is an n-dimensional manifold at q, i.e., if there is
73
a neighborhood of q in
´
M which is homeomorphic to an open ball in R
n
. The
necessary condition in the preceding paragraph still applies (when n ≥ 3),
concerning local simple-connectivity of
´
M`¦q¦ near q (as in (C.8) and (C.9)).
For the rest of this subsection, let us assume that n ≥ 3. Note that there
are special results for detecting manifold behavior in a space of dimension 1
or 2. This is reviewed in the introduction of [Fer4].
As a special case, imagine now that
´
M is a finite polyhedron of dimension
n. Let L denote the codimension-1 link of q in
´
M, as discussed in Section 3.
Thus L is an (n −1)-dimensional finite polyhedron, and
´
M looks locally at
q like a cone over L, as in Section 3. (As in Section 3, L is determined up to
piecewise-linear equivalence, but not as a polyhedron.)
In order for
´
M to be an n-dimensional topological manifold in a neigh-
borhood of q, the link L should be fairly close to a standard (n −1)-sphere.
In particular, it is not hard to see that L should be homotopy-equivalent to
S
n−1
. This implies that L should be connected and simply-connected, under
our assumption that n is at least 3.
In fact, in the case where
´
M is a finite polyhedron, the connectedness
and simple-connectedness of the link L around q are equivalent to the local
connectivity and simple-connectivity conditions for
´
M`¦q¦ near q indicated
above, with (C.8) and (C.9). This is not hard to see, and it is also rather
nice. To put it a bit differently, imagine that one starts with the class of
finite polyhedra, and then tries to go to more general contexts of topological
spaces. The local connectivity and simple-connectivity conditions for
´
M`¦q¦
at q as described above provide a way to capture the information in the
connectedness and simple-connectedness of the codimension-1 link at q in the
case where
´
M is a polyhedron, in a manner that makes sense for arbitrary
topological spaces, without special structure as one has for finite polyhedra.
These local connectedness and simple-connectedness conditions for
´
M`¦q¦
at q should be compared with local connectedness and simple-connectedness
conditions for
´
M itself. If
´
M is a polyhedron, then any point q in
´
M auto-
matically has the feature that there are arbitrarily small neighborhoods U of
q in
´
M which can be contracted to q while staying near q, and, in fact, while
staying in U itself. This is because
´
M looks locally like a cone at q.
In the next subsection we shall look at another case of this kind of “local
manifold” question.
74
C.4 Decomposition spaces, 1
Let n be a positive integer, and let K be a nonempty compact subset of R
n
.
One could also consider general manifolds instead of R
n
here, but we shall
generally stick to Euclidean spaces for simplicity. The main ideas come up
in this case anyway.
Imagine shrinking K to a single point, while leaving the rest of R
n
alone,
and looking at the topological space that results. This can be defined more
formally as follows. Let us write R
n
/K for the set which consists of the points
in R
n
which do not lie in K, together with a single point which corresponds
to K itself. In other words, this is where we shrink K to a single point. This
set can be given a topology in a standard way, so that a subset U of R
n
/K is
open if and only if its inverse image back in R
n
is open. Here “inverse image”
uses the automatic quotient mapping R
n
to R
n
/K. (In concrete terms, the
inverse image of U in R
n
means the set of points in R
n
which correspond to
elements of U, where one includes all points in K if the element of R
n
/K
associated to K lies in U.)
This type of quotient R
n
/K is a special case of a “decomposition space”.
We shall discuss the general situation further in Subsection C.6, but this
special case already includes a lot of interesting examples and phenomena.
Now let us consider the following question:
Given K as above, when is R
n
/K a topological manifold? (C.10)
This is really a special case of the situation in Subsection C.3. For this
it is better to use S
n
instead of R
n
, so that S
n
/K — defined in the same
manner as above — is equivalent to the one-point compactification of S
n
`K.
Let us consider some basic examples. If K consists of only a single point,
then R
n
/K is automatically the same as R
n
itself, and there is nothing to
do. If K is a finite set with more than one element, then it is easy to see
that R
n
/K is not a manifold. If we let q denote the point in R
n
/K which
corresponds to K, then (R
n
/K)`¦q¦ does not enjoy the local connectedness
property that it should if R
n
/K were a manifold at q, as in (C.8) in Subsec-
tion C.3. More precisely, this local connectedness property for the comple-
ment of ¦q¦ would be necessary only when n ≥ 2. When n = 1, one does
not have to have this local connectedness condition, but then (R
n
/K)`¦q¦
would have too many local components near q for R
n
/K to be a manifold at
q. (That is, there would be more than 2 such local components.)
75
Now suppose that K is a straight line segment in R
n
. In this event,
R
n
`K is homeomorphic to R
n
again. This is not hard to check. This would
also work if K were a standard rectangular cell of higher dimension in R
n
.
More generally, this works if K is a tame cell in R
n
, meaning the image of
a standard rectangular cell under a homeomorphism of R
n
onto itself. This
follows automatically from the case of standard rectangular cells.
However, if one merely assumes that K is homeomorphic to a standard
rectangular cell, then it is not necessarily true that R
n
/K is a manifold!
This is another aspect of wild embeddings, from Subsection C.1. We shall
say more about this as the subsection goes on. A concrete example is given
by taking K to be a copy of the Fox–Artin wild arc in R
3
. (Compare with
[Fer4].)
Note that we are not saying that R
n
/K is always not a manifold when K
is wildly embedded. The converse is true, that K must be wildly embedded
when R
n
/K is not a manifold (and K is a topological cell). This is just a
rephrasal of the remark above, that R
n
/K is a manifold when K is a tamely
embedded cell.
Here is a slightly more foolish example, which one might view as a gener-
alization of the earlier comments about the case where K is a finite set with
more than a single point. Imagine now that K is a copy of the j-dimensional
sphere S
j
, 1 ≤ j ≤ n − 1. For this let us use a standard, smooth, round
sphere; it is not a matter of wildness that we want to consider.
In this case R
n
/K is never a topological manifold. If j = n − 1, then
R
n
/K is homeomorphic to the union of R
n
and an n-sphere, with the two
meeting at a single point. This point is the one that corresponds to K
in R
n
/K. Let us denote this point by q again, as above. In this case
(R
n
/K)`¦q¦ does not have the right local-connectedness property at q in
order for R
n
/K to be a manifold, as in (C.8) in Subsection C.3.
If j = n − 2, then one runs into trouble with local simple-connectivity
of (R
n
/K)`¦q¦ at q, as in (C.9) in Subsection C.3. For this one might
think about the special case where n = 3, so that K is a standard circle
in R
3
. It is easy to take small loops in R
3
`K, lying close to K, which are
nonetheless linked with K. These loops then project down into (R
3
/K)`¦q¦,
where they can be as close to the point q as one likes, but they are never
contractable in (R
3
/K)`¦q¦ at all, let alone in small neighborhoods of q (as
in (C.9) in Subsection C.3). This is the same as saying that these loops are
not contractable inside of R
n
`K, which is equivalent to (R
n
/K)`¦q¦.
When j < n − 2, then one has similar obstructions to R
n
/K being a
76
manifold, but in terms of the failure of higher-dimensional forms of local
connectedness of (R
n
/K)`¦q¦ (using homology or homotopy). This is anal-
ogous to the cases already described, when j = n − 1 or n − 2. We shall
say more about this soon, but for the moment let us go on to some other
matters.
For this example, where K is taken to be a standard j-dimensional sphere,
note that R
n
/K itself is locally contractable at q. This is as opposed to con-
nectedness properties of (R
n
/K)`¦q¦, and it is analogous to what happens
in the case of finite polyhedra. Specifically, for finite polyhedra one always
has local contractability, but the behavior near a given point of punctured
neighborhoods around that point are another matter. The latter is connected
to the behavior of the codimension-1 link of the polyhedron around the given
point, as in Subsection C.3.
In the present case, where we have R
n
/K with K a standard round j-
dimensional sphere, one can see the local contractability of R
n
/K at the
point q (corresponding to K) as follows. In R
n
, one can take a tubular
neighborhood of K, which is homeomorphic to the Cartesian product of
the j-sphere K and an (n −j)-dimensional ball. This neighborhood can be
contracted onto K in a simple way, and this leads to the local contractability
of R
n
/K at q.
Now let us consider the case of the Whitehead continuum, from Subsection
C.2. We should not really say the Whitehead continuum here, as there is
some flexibility in the construction, which can lead to the resulting set W not
being pinned down completely. This ambiguity will not really cause trouble
for us here, and we can work with any compact set W in R
3
which is obtained
as in the procedure described in Subsection C.2.
The set W has the feature of being cell-like, as in the following definition.
Definition C.11 (Cell-like sets) A compact set K in R
n
is said to be cell-
like if K can be contracted to a point inside of any neighborhood U of itself
in R
n
.
Compare with [Dave2], especially p120. That the Whitehead continuum
W is cell-like is not hard to see from the construction of W, as the intersection
of a decreasing sequence of solid tori with certain properties. Specifically, for
this the key point is that the th solid torus can be contracted to a point
inside the previous one.
If K is a topological cell, then K is contractable to a point inside of itself,
without using the extra bit of room provided by a small neighborhood of
77
itself. This is also independent of the way that K might be embedded into
some R
n
, i.e., wildly or tamely. In this respect, W is like a topological cell
(and hence the name “cell-like” for the property in Definition C.11).
For W, it is not true that R
3
/W is a topological manifold. If we let
q denote the point in R
3
/W corresponding to W, then (R
3
/W)`¦q¦ is not
locally simply-connected at q (in the sense of the condition in Subsection
C.3, around (C.9)). In concrete terms, this means that there are loops in
R
3
`W (which is the same as (R
3
/W)`¦q¦) which lie as close to W as one
likes (in their entirety), but which cannot be contracted to a point in R
3
`W
while remaining reasonably close to W.
These loops can be described concretely, as meridians in the solid tori
whose intersection gives W. The loop from the solid torus T
j
can be filled
with a disk inside T
j
, but not without crossing the smaller torus T
j+1
, or any
of its successors. This comes back to the way that each T
+1
is “clasped”
inside of T

. See [Dave2, Kir] for more information (including Proposition 9
on p76 of [Dave2]).
In any event, the failure of the local simple-connectivity of (R
3
/W)`¦q¦
at q is equivalent to S
3
`W not being simply-connected at infinity, as in
Subsection C.2. This also follows the discussion in Subsection C.3, and the
comment just after (C.10).
This case is quite different from the one of embedding round spheres in
R
n
, as discussed before. More precisely, let us compare the situation with
W and the example before where K is a standard circle inside of R
3
. For
the latter, there are loops in R
3
`K which lie as close to K as one wants,
and which are not contractable to a point in R
3
`K at all, let alone in a
neighborhood of K. For W, one has that S
3
`W is contractable (as mentioned
in Subsection C.2), and this implies that R
3
`W is simply-connected. (This is
a straightforward exercise.) Thus these loops near W can be contracted to a
point in R
3
`W, if one allows oneself to go away from W for the contraction.
Here is another aspect of this. Although one has these loops in R
3
`W
which lie near W but cannot be contracted to a point in R
3
`W while staying
near W, these loops can be made homologically trivial in R
3
`W while staying
near W. That is, one can fill the loops with surfaces inside R
3
`W while
staying close to W, if one allows the surfaces to have handles (rather than
simply being a disk, as in the case of homotopic triviality). This is something
that one can easily see from the pictures (as in [Dave2, Kir]). The basic idea
is that one can fill the loops with disks, where the disks stay close to W, but
also pass through W (and so are not in R
3
`W). However, one can avoid the
78
intersection with W by cutting out a couple of small holes in the disk, and
attaching a handle to them which goes along the boundary of the solid torus
in the next generation of the construction. Then W will stay inside this next
solid torus, throughout the rest of the construction, and this surface gives a
way of filling the loop without intersecting W (or being forced to go far away
from it).
This kind of filling by surfaces does not work in the case where we take
K to be a standard circle in R
3
. In this situation, we have loops in R
3
`K
which lie close to K, and which are linked homologically with the circle
K. In other words, the linking number of the loop with K is nonzero, and
this linking number is a homological invariant which would vanish if the
loop could be filled with a surface without intersecting K. (For more about
“linking numbers”, see [BotT, Bred1, Fla, Spa].)
In this respect, the case of Whitehead continua is much more tame than
that of embedded circles and spheres of other dimensions, even if it is still
singular. We shall encounter other versions of this, now and further in this
appendix.
Here is another feature of W, which distinguishes it from ordinary circles
in R
3
(or spheres in R
n
more generally). Let us think of W now as lying in
R
4
rather than R
3
, through the inclusion of R
3
in R
4
by taking the fourth
coordinate to be 0.
For R
4
, we have that R
4
/W is a topological manifold (homeomorphic to
R
4
). The basic point behind this is the following. In the realization of W
as the intersection of a decreasing sequence of solid tori in R
3
, the th solid
torus was always “clasped” in the previous one (as in Subsection C.2, and
[Dave2, Kir]). In R
4
, the extra dimension provides a lot of extra room, in
such a way that this “clasping” is not really present any more. If T

is a solid
torus which is embedded and clasped inside of another solid torus T in R
3
,
one can “unclasp” T

in R
4
by lifting one end up, bringing it around the hole
in T, and leaving the other end alone. This is a standard observation, and
it is analogous to the way that knots in R
3
become unknotted in R
4
.
In other words, this procedure gives a way to make a deformation of R
4
,
in which the solid torus T

is mapped to a set of small diameter, while not
moving points some distance away at all. By contrast, back in R
3
, it is not
possible to make an isotopy which shrinks T

to a set of small diameter, while
leaving the points in the complement of the larger solid torus fixed. This is
exactly because of the way that T

is “clasped” in T, so that it cannot be
“unclasped” by an isotopy in T. When one has the extra dimension in R
4
,
79
one can “undo” the clasping, by lifting one end up and moving it around, as
indicated above.
Once one has this kind of “shrinking” in R
4
, one can use this to show
that R
4
/W is homeomorphic to R
4
. One can do this directly, using shrinking
homeomorphisms like this, and combinations of them, to make a mapping
from R
4
to itself which shrinks W to a point while remaining injective (and
continuous) everywhere else. One puts homeomorphisms like this on top of
each other, and deeper and deeper in the construction of W, until W itself is
shrunk all the way to a point. The various solid tori T
j
in the construction,
of which W is the intersection, are made smaller and smaller in this process.
The trick is to do this without shrinking everything, so that the mapping
that results remains a homeomorphism on the complement of W.
This idea of shrinking can be given a general form, and is discussed in
detail in [Dave2]. See also [Edw2, Kir].
By contrast, let us consider the case of a circle K in R
3
. If one views
K as a subset of R
4
in the same way, then R
4
/K is still not a topological
manifold. This follows from our earlier discussion about circles and spheres of
higher dimensions inside of R
n
in general. One also does not get a manifold
by replacing R
4
with R
m
for larger m’s.
Notice, however, that there is a kind of “improvement” that occurs in
adding dimensions in this way. If K is a circle in R
3
, and if q denotes
the point in R
3
/K which corresponds to K, then (R
3
/K)`¦q¦ is not locally
simply-connected at q. For that matter, (R
3
/K)`¦q¦

= R
3
`K is not simply-
connected at all. When one considers K as a subset of R
4
, and asks analogous
questions for R
4
/K (or R
4
`K), then there is no longer any trouble with
simple-connectivity. The basic underlying problem continues, though, in the
form of 2-dimensional connectivity. This is not hard to see.
Similarly, if one views K as a subset of R
n
for larger n, then the trouble
with connectivity in lower dimensions goes away, but (n − 2)-dimensional
connectivity still does not work.
With the Whitehead continuum we are more fortunate. The problem
with local simple-connectivity goes away when we proceed from R
3
to R
4
,
but difficulties with higher-dimensional connectivity do not then arise in
their place. One should not be too surprised about this, since the Whitehead
continuum is cell-like, while circles or spheres of higher dimension are not at
all cell-like. In other words, with circles or spheres (and their complements
in R
n
), there is some clear and simple nontrivial topology around, while the
Whitehead continuum is much closer to something like a standard cell, which
80
causes less trouble. (One can look at this more precisely, but we shall not
pursue this here.)
C.4.1 Cellularity, and the cellularity criterion
Now let us look at some general notions and results, concerning the possibility
that R
n
/K be a topological manifold (and, in fact, homeomorphic to R
n
).
Definition C.12 (Cellularity) A compact set K in R
n
(or, more gener-
ally, an n-dimensional topological manifold) is said to be cellular if it can be
realized as the intersection of a countable family of sets B
i
, where each B
i
is
a topological n-cell (or, equivalently, homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in
R
n
), and if each B
i+1
is contained in the interior of the preceding B
i
.
Compare with [Dave2], especially p35, [Edw2], and p44 of [Rus1]. Alter-
natively, a compact set K is cellular if and only if any neighborhood of K
contains an open set which contains K and is homeomorphic to the standard
n-dimensional ball.
Theorem C.13 Let K be a compact subset of R
n
. Then R
n
/K is a topo-
logical manifold if and only if K is cellular in R
n
. In this case, R
n
/K is
homeomorphic to R
n
.
See Exercise 7 on p41 of [Dave2] for the first assertion, and Proposition 2
on p36 of [Dave2] for the second one. (Concerning the latter, see Section 5 in
[Dave2] too. Note that some of the notation in Exercise 7 on p41 in [Dave2]
is explained in the statement of Proposition 2 on p36 of [Dave2].) See also
[Edw2], especially the theorem on p114, and p44ff of [Rus1].
For the record, let us mention the following.
Proposition C.14 Let K be a compact subset of R
n
. If K is cellular, then
K is cell-like. Conversely, if n is equal to 1 or 2, then K is cellular if it is
cell-like.
The fact that cellularity implies cell-likeness follows easily from the defi-
nitions. When n = 1, the converse is very simple, since connectedness implies
that a set is an interval, and hence cellular. In R
2
, the argument uses special
features of plane topology. See Corollary 4C on p122 of [Dave2].
81
In higher dimensions, cell-like sets need not be cellular. Examples are
given by Whitehead continua, and some wild embeddings of cells. However,
there is an exact characterization of cellular sets among cell-like sets, which
is the following. Basically, the point is to include the same kind of localized
simple-connectivity of R
n
`K around K as discussed before.
Theorem C.15 Let K be a compact set in R
n
, with n ≥ 3. Then K is
cellular inside of R
n
if and only if (a) it is cell-like, and (b) for every open
neighborhood U of K in R
n
there is another open neighborhood V of K so
that every continuous mapping from S
1
into V `K can be contracted to a point
inside of U`K.
This characterization of cellularity is stated in Theorem 5 on p145 of
[Dave2]. This uses also the definition of the cellularity criterion given on
p143 of [Dave2]. When n ≥ 4, this result works for subsets of general n-
dimensional topological manifolds, and not just R
n
. When n = 3, there
is trouble with the general case of manifolds, related to the 3-dimensional
Poincar´e conjecture being unsettled; if the cellularity criterion holds for gen-
eral manifolds, then the 3-dimensional Poincar´e conjecture would follow, as
discussed on p145 of [Dave2]. See Theorem 1.11 on p373 of [Fre] concerning
the 4-dimensional case, and [McM] and Section 4.8 of [Rus1] for dimensions
5 and higher.
Corollary C.16 Let K be a compact subset of R
n
, n ≥ 3. If K is cell-like
in R
n
, then K ¦0¦ is cellular in R
n+1
.
See Corollary 5A on p145 of [Dave2].
Corollary C.16 is analogous to the fact that wild embeddings into R
n
can become tame when one passes from R
n
as the ambient space to an R
m
with m > n. This was discussed briefly in Subsection C.1, towards the end.
Similarly, Theorem C.15 is analogous to taming theorems for embeddings
mentioned in Subsection C.1.
Theorem C.15 and Corollary C.16 are also close to some of the matters
described in Subsection C.2.
The main point behind the derivation of Corollary C.16 from Theorem
C.15 is that by passing to a Euclidean space of one higher dimension, po-
tential trouble with local simple-connectedness of the complement of K goes
away. This fits with basic examples, and the Whitehead continuum in par-
ticular.
82
We saw before that when K is a sphere, the passage from R
n
to R
n+1
can get rid of the trouble with local simple-connectivity of the complement
of K, but that problems remain with higher-dimensional connectivity of the
complement. For cell-like sets, unlike general sets, it is only the localized 1-
dimensional connectivity of the complement which is needed to get cellularity.
This is shown by Theorem C.15.
In this regard, let us also notice the following simple converse to Corollary
C.16.
Lemma C.17 Suppose that K is a compact subset of R
n
. If K ¦0¦ is
cellular in R
n+1
, then K is cell-like in R
n
.
Indeed, if K ¦0¦ is cellular in R
n+1
, then it is also cell-like in R
n+1
,
as in Proposition C.14. It is easy to check that cell-likeness for K ¦0¦ in
R
n+1
implies cell-likeness for K inside R
n
, just by the definitions. (Thus
cell-likeness, unlike cellularity, is not made more feasible by the extra room
of extra dimensions.) This implies Lemma C.17.
For concrete examples of cell-like sets, often the cellularity in higher-
dimensional spaces, as in Corollary C.16, can be seen in fairly direct and
simple terms. The room from the extra dimensions makes it easy to move
pieces of the set apart, without the claspings, knottings, etc., which occurred
originally. Some aspects of this came up earlier, concerning Whitehead con-
tinua.
Before leaving this subsection, let us observe that the localized simple-
connectivity conditions that are used here are a bit different from those em-
ployed in the context of taming theorems, as in Subsection C.1. To make this
precise, let K be a compact subset of some R
n
. The conditions that come
up in the present subsection involve the behavior of R
n
`K, localized around
K (the whole of K). That is, one looks at the behavior of R
n
`K within
arbitrarily-small neighborhoods of K in R
n
. In the context of Subsection
C.1, one would look at the behavior of R
n
`K near individual points in K.
To put it another way, here one seeks to contract loops in R
n
`K that are
close to K to points, while staying close to K. In the context of Subsection
C.1, one looks at small loops in R
n
`K near K, and tries to contract them to
points in the complement while staying in small balls, and not just staying
near K.
83
C.5 Manifold factors
Let W be a Whitehead continuum, constructed through a decreasing se-
quence of solid tori in R
3
, as in Subsection C.2.
Theorem C.18 If R
3
/W is defined as in Subsection C.4, then (R
3
/W)R
is homeomorphic to R
4
.
In particular, (R
3
/W) R is a topological manifold, even though R
3
/W
itself is not. Thus (R
3
/W) R is a manifold factor.
The fact that (R
3
/W) R is homeomorphic to R
4
is given as Corollary
3B on p84 of [Dave2]. See also [AndR, Kir].
Note that the existence of a homeomorphism from (R
3
/W) R onto
R
4
is not the same as the observation mentioned in Subsection C.4, that
R
4
/(W ¦0¦) is homeomorphic to R
4
. In considering (R
3
/W) R, one is
in effect taking R
4
, and then shrinking each copy W ¦u¦ of W to a point,
where u runs through all real numbers. For R
4
/(W ¦0¦), one shrinks only
a single copy of W to a point.
Although the construction is more complicated for (R
3
/W) R than for
R
4
/(W ¦0¦), there are some common aspects. As before, one of the main
points is that the solid tori in R
3
which are “clasped” (inside of other solid
tori) become unclasped in R
4
. With the extra dimension in R
4
, one can pick
up one end of one of these tori, bring it around, and then lay it down again,
so that the clasping is undone. For the present situation with (R
3
/W) R,
one performs this kind of action for all of the copies W ¦u¦ of W at once,
u ∈ R, rather than just a single copy. (Compare also with Subsection C.6,
and the general notion of decomposition spaces mentioned there.)
In Subsection C.2, it was mentioned that S
3
`W is a contractable open set
which is not homeomorphic to a 3-ball (because it is not simply-connected
at infinity), and that (S
3
`W) R is homeomorphic to a 4-dimensional open
ball. (See [Bin3, Bin4, Kir].) This result is similar in some ways to Theorem
C.18, but the conclusions are not quite the same either.
In this vein, let us make the following observation. As usual, denote by q
the (singular) point in R
3
/W that corresponds to W. Let us write L for the
subset of (R
3
/W) R given by q R. Thus L is homeomorphic to a line.
Using a homeomorphism from (R
3
/W)R to R
4
, one gets an embedding
of L into R
4
. It is not hard to see that any such embedding of L into R
4
has to be wild. Just as R
3
`W is not locally simply-connected near W, if
L denotes the image of L in R
4
by an embedding as above, then R
4
`L is
84
not locally simply-connected near L. (Note that R
4
`L is homeomorphic
to (R
3
`W) R, by construction.) This ensures that L is wild in R
4
, no
matter what homeomorphism from (R
3
/W) R onto R
4
one might use,
since ordinary straight lines in R
4
do not behave in this way.
One can also make local versions of this argument, to show that L is
locally wild in the same manner.
If one were to want to pass from a homeomorphism from (R
3
/W) R
onto R
4
in Theorem C.18 to a homeomorphism from (S
3
`W) R onto R
4
,
then in particular one could be lead to try to figure out something about what
happens when one deletes L from R
4
. Conversely, if one wanted to go in the
other direction, one might have to figure out something about how to put
the topological line back in. These endeavors should be at least somewhat
complicated, because of the wildness of L inside of R
4
.
The next fact helps to give an idea of how wild L can have to be.
Theorem C.19 Let U be an open set in some R
n
, and let F be a closed set
in R
n
. If the Hausdorff dimension of F is less than n − 2, then any open
loop in U`F that can be contracted to a point in U can also be contracted to
a point in U`F. In particular, R
n
`F is simply-connected.
In other words, if F is closed and has Hausdorff dimension < n −2, then
F is practically invisible for considerations of fundamental groups, even local
ones. From this one can check that L as above necessarily has Hausdorff
dimension at least 2, no matter the homeomorphism from (R
3
/W) R onto
R
4
which produced it. This is also true locally, i.e., each nontrivial arc of L
has to have Hausdorff dimension at least 2, and for the same reasons. This is
somewhat remarkable, since L is homeomorphic to a line (and straight lines
have Hausdorff dimension 1). (In general, Hausdorff dimension need not be
preserved by homeomorphisms, though, and this is an instance of that.)
Theorem C.19 is given (in a slightly different form) in [MartRiV3], in
Lemma 3.3 on p9. See also [Geh2, LuuV, SieS, V¨ ai3] for related results. In
particular, [SieS] uses Theorem C.19 in a manner very similar to this, in the
context of double-suspension spheres and homeomorphic parameterizations
of them.
Note that instead of requiring that F have Hausdorff dimension less than
n − 2 in Theorem C.19, it is enough to ask that the (n − 2)-dimensional
Hausdorff measure of F be zero.
By now, there are many examples known of spaces which are manifold
factors (and not manifolds). The original discovery was in [Bin3, Bin4], using
85
a different space. This example, Bing’s “dogbone” space, will come up again
in Subsection C.6.
As mentioned near the bottom of p93 of [Dave2], 3 is the smallest di-
mension in which this type of phenomenon can occur (where a non-manifold
becomes a manifold after taking the Cartesian product with R), because of
results about recognizing manifolds in dimensions 1 and 2. It does occur in
all dimensions greater than or equal to 3.
As a basic class of examples, if K is a compact set in R
n
which is a
cell, then R
n
/K may not be a manifold if K is wild, but (R
n
/K) R is
homeomorphic to R
n+1
. See [AndC, Bry1, Bry2, Dave2, Rus1].
More generally, if K is any compact set in R
n
which is cell-like, then
(R
n
/K) R is homeomorphic to R
n+1
. When n = 1 or 2, R
n
/K is itself
homeomorphic to R
n
. (Compare with Proposition C.14 and Theorem C.13
in Subsubsection C.4.1.) If n ≥ 3, then R
n
/K may not be homeomorphic
to R
n
, but it is true that (R
n
/K) R is homeomorphic to R
n+1
in this
situation. See Proposition 2 on p206 of [Dave2] for n = 3, and Theorem 9 on
p196 or Theorem 13 on p200 of [Dave2] for n ≥ 4. (For Theorem 9 on p196
of [Dave2], note that the definition of a “k-dimensional decomposition” of a
manifold is given near the top of p152 of [Dave2].)
Another class of examples (which is in fact closely related to the previous
ones) comes from the celebrated double-suspension theorems of Edwards and
Cannon [Can1, Can2, Can3, Dave2, Edw2] (mentioned in Section 3). From
these one has the remarkable fact that there are finite polyhedra P which are
not topological manifolds, but for which P R is a manifold.
There are compact sets K in R
n
such that K is not cell-like, and not
cellular in particular, but (R
n
/K) R is homeomorphic to R
n+1
. This
happens for every n ≥ 4. See Corollary 3E on p185 of [Dave2]. (The proof
uses the double-suspension theorems.)
There are also non-manifold spaces which become manifolds after tak-
ing the product with other non-manifold spaces. See Section 29 of [Dave2],
beginning on p223.
C.6 Decomposition spaces, 2
The construction of the quotient R
n
/K, given a compact subset K of R
n
, as
in Subsection C.4, is an example of a decomposition space. More generally,
one can allow many subsets of R
n
(or some other space) to be contracted to
points at the same time, rather than just a single set.
86
In general, a decomposition of R
n
, or some other space, means a partition
of it, i.e., a collection of subsets which are pairwise disjoint, and whose union
is the whole space. One can then form the corresponding quotient space,
first as a set — by collapsing the sets in the partition to individual points —
and then as a topological space. The topology on the quotient is the richest
one (the one with the most open sets) so that the canonical mapping from
the space to the quotient is continuous.
All of this makes sense in general, but in order to have some good proper-
ties (like the Hausdorff condition for the quotient space), some assumptions
about the decomposition should be made. As a start, typical assumptions
would be that the individual sets that make up the decomposition be closed,
and that the decomposition satisfy a certain upper semi-continuity property.
See [Dave2] for details, including the definition on p13 of [Dave2]. For the
present discussion, we shall always assume that some conditions like these
hold, even if we do not say so explicitly.
If G is a decomposition of R
n
, then one writes R
n
/G for the corresponding
quotient space.
Given a set K in R
n
, one can always consider the decomposition of R
n
consisting of K and sets with only single elements, with the latter running
through all points in R
n
`K. This decomposition is sometimes denoted G
K
,
and the quotient R
n
/G
K
in the general sense of decompositions is the same
as the space R
n
/K from Subsection C.4.
As another basic situation, product spaces of the form (R
n
/K) R can
be viewed as decomposition spaces. Specifically, one gets a decomposition of
R
n+1

= R
n
R using sets of the form K ¦u¦ in R
n+1
for each u ∈ R,
together with single-element sets for all of the points in R
n+1
`(KR). The
resulting decomposition space is equivalent topologically to (R
n
/K) R.
An important general point is that wild or interesting embeddings can
often occur in simple or useful ways through decompositions. For instance,
in the decomposition space described in the preceding paragraph, one has a
particular “line”, corresponding to the copies of K. See [Can1, Dave1, Dave2]
for more information, including p451 of [Can1], the last paragraph in Section
2 on p380 of [Dave1], and the remarks near the top of p37 in [Dave2].
The following theorem of R. L. Moore [Moo] is an early result about when
decomposition spaces are manifolds, and homeomorphic to the original space.
Theorem C.20 Let X be a compact Hausdorff topological space. Suppose
that f is a continuous mapping from the 2-sphere S
2
to X, and that for each
87
x ∈ X, f
−1
(x) is nonempty and connected, and S
2
`f
−1
(x) is nonempty and
connected. Then X is homeomorphic to S
2
.
In this theorem, the mapping f itself may not be a homeomorphism. As in
Subsection C.4, f might have the effect of collapsing some line segments down
to single points, for instance. It is true that f can always be approximated by
homeomorphisms, however. See [Dave2] for more information and references.
Similar results hold in dimension 1. For this it is enough to assume that
the inverse images of points under the mapping be connected (and nonempty
proper subsets of the domain), without imposing conditions on their com-
plements. In this situation, the inverse images of points will simply be arcs.
Compare with [Dave2], including the remarks near the bottom of p17.
What might be reasonable analogues of Theorem C.20 in higher dimen-
sions? One should not keep the hypotheses literally as they are above, where
the fibers are connected and have connected complements, because of coun-
terexamples like the non-manifold spaces that one can get by contracting a
circle to a point (as in Subsection C.4).
However, in dimension 2, the property of a set in S
2
or R
2
being connected
and having connected complement is quite strong. For a closed subset of S
2
which is not empty nor all of S
2
, these conditions imply that the complement
of the set is homeomorphic to a 2-dimensional disk, and that the set itself is
cellular (Definition C.12 in Subsection C.4).
A decomposition G of R
n
is said to be cellular if each of the subsets
of R
n
of which it is composed is cellular. (Compare with [Dave2], in the
statement of Corollary 2A on p36.) As an analogy with Moore’s theorem,
one might hope that a quotient of R
n
(or S
n
, or other topological manifolds)
by a cellular decomposition is a manifold, and homeomorphic to R
n
again
(or to the original manifold, whatever it might be).
This is true for decompositions which consist of a single cellular subset of
the space, together with all the remaining points in the space as one-element
sets. In other words, this statement is true in the context of quotients as in
Subsection C.4. See Theorem C.13 in Subsection C.4, and Proposition 2 on
p36 of [Dave2].
For decompositions in general, it is not true that cellularity is sufficient
to ensure that the quotient space is a manifold. This fails already for decom-
positions of R
3
. The first example of this was provided by Bing’s “dogbone”
construction in [Bin2]. See also [Dave2], especially Section 9, for this and
other examples. For the statement that the decomposition space is not a
88
manifold, and not just not homeomorphic to R
3
, see Theorem 13 on 498 of
[Bin2]. A recent paper related to this is [Arm].
The dogbone space was also used in the initial discovery of manifold
factors. See [Bin3, Bin4].
Although quotients by cellular decompositions do not in general give man-
ifolds, there are many nontrivial examples where this does occur, and results
about when it should take place. A particularly nice and fundamental exam-
ple is given by “Bing doubling”. See [Bin1, Dave2] (Example 1 in Section 9
of [Dave2]). This is a decomposition of R
3
for which the corresponding quo-
tient space is homeomorphic to R
3
. While the quotient space is standard, the
decomposition has some interesting features, giving rise to some wild embed-
dings in particular. This decomposition has a symmetry to it, which leads to
a homeomorphic involution on S
3
which is highly nonstandard. The fixed-
point set of this homeomorphism is a wildly-embedded 2-sphere in S
3
. This
construction apparently gave the first examples of involutions on R
3
which
were not topologically equivalent to “standard” ones, made from rotations,
reflections, and translations. See [Bin1] for more information, especially Sec-
tion 4 of [Bin1].
See also Section 9 of [Bin4] for a wild involution on R
4
, whose fixed
point set is homeomorphic to the dogbone space. This uses the fact that the
product of the dogbone space with the real line is homeomorphic to R
4
.
The results mentioned in Subsection C.5 — about quotients R
n
/K being
homeomorphic to a Euclidean space after taking the Cartesian product with
R — can also be seen as providing nontrivial examples of cellular decompo-
sitions of R
n+1
for which the corresponding quotients are manifolds, and are
homeomorphic to R
n+1
.
C.7 Geometric structures for decomposition spaces
C.7.1 A basic class of constructions
One feature of decomposition spaces is that they do not a priori come with a
canonical or especially nice geometry, or anything like that. The topology is
canonical, but this is somewhat different. Note that there are general results
about existence of metrics which are compatible with the topology, as in
Proposition 2 on p13 of [Dave2]. Once one has one such metric, there are
many which define the same topology. This is true just as well for ordinary
Euclidean spaces, or the spheres S
n
, even if there are also special metrics
89
(like the Euclidean metric) that one might normally like or use.
In some cases (for decomposition spaces), there are some particularly nice
or special geometries that one can consider. A number of basic examples —
like the Whitehead continuum, Bing doubling [Bin1], and Bing’s dogbone
space [Bin2] — have a natural topological “self-similarity” to them, which
can be converted into geometric self-similarity.
Let us be more precise. In these cases, the nondegenerate elements of the
decomposition are generated by repeating a simple “rule”. The “rule” can
be described by a smooth domain D in R
n
together with some copies of D
embedded in the interior of D, in a pairwise-disjoint manner. To generate the
nontrivial elements of the decomposition, one starts with D, and then passes
to the copies of D inside of itself. For each of these copies of D inside of D,
one can get a new collection of smaller copies of D, by applying the “rule”
to the copies of D with which we started. One then repeats this indefinitely.
Thus, if the original “rule” involves m copies of D inside of itself, then
the jth step of this process gives rise to m
j−1
copies of D, with the first step
corresponding to D alone.
The limiting sets which arise from this procedure are pairwise disjoint,
and are used to define the decomposition. To do this carefully, one can think
of the jth step of the process as producing a compact set C
j
, which is the
union of the m
j−1
individual copies of D indicated above. The construction
gives C
j
⊆ C
j−1
for all j ≥ 2. To pass to the limit, one can take the set
C =
¸

j=1
C
j
, and then use the components of C as subsets of R
n
to be
employed in the decomposition G of R
n
. For each point x ∈ R
n
`C, one also
includes the one-point set ¦x¦ in the decomposition G.
The Whitehead continuum (discussed in Subsection C.2) is an example
of this. There the “rule” is particularly simple, in that it is based on an
embedding of a single solid torus T
1
inside a larger one T. At each stage of
the process there is only one domain, and only one nondegenerate set being
produced in the end (i.e., the Whitehead continuum). In particular, one can
have m = 1 in the general set-up described above, and with the result being
nontrivial. For Bing doubling and Bing’s dogbone space, one has m > 1, i.e.,
there are more than one embedding being used at each step, and more than
one copy of the basic domain. (For Bing doubling the basic domain is again
a solid torus, while for the dogbone space it is a solid 2-handled torus. In
Bing doubling one has m = 2, as the name suggests. For the dogbone space,
m = 4.) In these cases the number of components grows exponentially in the
process, and is infinite in the end (after taking the limit).
90
At any rate, there are a number of basic examples of decompositions
generated in this manner, with individual copies of a domain being replaced
systematically by some embedded subdomains, copies of itself, following rep-
etitions of a single basic “rule”. See [Dave2], especially Section 9.
In typical situations, the basic “rule” involves nontrivial distortion of the
standard Euclidean geometry at each step. As a first point along these lines,
when one embeds a copy of some (bounded) domain D into itself, then some
change in the geometry (along the lines of shrinkage) is unavoidable, at least
if the embedded copy is a proper subset of the original domain.
Given that there needs to be some shrinkage in the embedding, the next
simplest possibility would be that the embeddings are made up out of some-
thing like dilations, translations, rotations, and reflections. In other words,
except for a uniform scale factor, one might hope that the geometry does not
have to change.
Normally this will not be the case. Some amount of bending or twisting,
etc., will (in general) be involved, and needed, to accommodate the kind of
topological behavior that is present. This includes linking, clasping, or things
like that.
For the purpose of choosing a geometry that might fit with a given de-
composition space, however, one can modify the usual Euclidean metric so
that the embeddings involved in the basic “rule” do have the kind of behavior
indicated above, i.e., a constant scale factor together with an isometry. The
scale factors should be less that 1, to reflect the shrinking that is supposed to
take place for the decomposition spaces (even at a purely topological level).
It is not hard to see that one can make deformations of geometry like
this. One can do this in a kind of direct and “intrinsic” way, defining met-
rics on R
n
with suitable properties. One can also do this more concretely,
“physically”, through embeddings of the decomposition spaces into higher-
dimensional Euclidean spaces. In these higher-dimensional Euclidean spaces,
the self-similarity that one wants, in typical situations, can be realized in
terms of standard linear self-similarity, through dilations and translations.
More precisely, in these circumstances, the quotient of R
n
by the decom-
position can be realized topologically as an n-dimensional subset X of some
R
N
(with N = n + 1, for instance), in such a way that X is a smooth sub-
manifold away from the natural singularities, and X is self-similar around
these singularities.
To build such a set X, one can start with the complement of the original
domain D in R
n
. One would view R
n
`D as an n-dimensional submanifold
91
of R
N
. In place of the iteration of the basic rule for the decomposition from
before, one now stacks some “basic building blocks” in R
N
on top of R
n
`D
(along the boundary of D), and then on top of the other building blocks,
over and over again.
These basic building blocks are given by n-dimensional smooth manifolds
in R
N
(with boundary). They are diffeomorphic to a single “model” in R
n
,
which is the original domain D in R
n
, minus the interiors of the m copies
of D embedded inside D, as given by the basic “rule” that generates the
decomposition. The building blocks are all diffeomorphic to each other, since
they are all diffeomorphic to this same model, but they are also constructed
in such a way as to be “similar” to each other. That is, they can all be given
by translations and dilations of each other. This is a key difference between
this construction and the original decomposition in R
n
.
Further, the building blocks are constructed in such a way that their ends
are all similar to each other (i.e., even different ends on the same building
block). Specifically, the building blocks are chosen so that when one goes
to stack them on top of each other, their “ends” fit together properly, with
smoothness across the interfaces.
These things are not difficult to arrange. Roughly speaking, one uses
the extra dimensions in R
N
to straighten the “ends” in this way, so that
the different building blocks can be stacked properly. Typically, this would
involve something like the following. One starts with the basic model in R
n
,
given by D minus the interiors of the m embedded copies of D in D. One
then makes some translations of the m embedded subdomains in D, up into
the extra dimension or dimensions in R
N
. Up there, these subdomains can
be moved or bent around, until they are similar to D itself (i.e., being the
same modulo translations and dilations). This can be done one at a time,
and without changing anything near the boundary of the original domain
D. In this manner, the original model region in R
n
becomes realized as an
n-dimensional compact smooth submanifold (with boundary) in R
N
, with
the ends matching up properly under similarities.
To put it another way, the main “trade-off” here is that one gives up
the “flatness” of the original model, as a region in R
n
, to get basic building
blocks in R
N
that are n-dimensional curved submanifolds whose ends are
similar to each other. The curving of the interiors of these building blocks
compensates for the straightening of their ends.
As above, one then stacks these building blocks on top of each other,
one after another, to get a realization of the decomposition space by an n-
92
dimensional subset X of R
N
. (One also puts in some limiting points, at
the ends of the towers of the building blocks that arise. In other words, this
makes X be a closed subset of R
N
. These extra points are the singularities of
X.) This subset is smooth away from the singularities, and self-similar at the
singularities, because of the corresponding properties of the basic building
blocks.
By choosing the scale-factors associated to the ends of the basic building
blocks to be less than 1, the diameters of the ends tend to 0 (and in a good
way) as one stacks the building blocks on top of each other many times. This
corresponds to the fact that the sets in the decomposition are supposed to
be shrunk to single points in the quotient space. This is also part of the
story of the “limiting points” in the previous paragraph. The limiting points
are exactly the ones associated (in the end) to the nondegenerate sets in the
original decomposition in R
n
, which are being shrunk to single points.
The actual homeomorphic equivalence between the set X in R
N
produced
through this method and the decomposition space R
n
/G with which one
starts is obtained using the diffeomorphic equivalence between the building
blocks in R
N
and the original model in R
n
(D minus the interiors of the
m embedded copies of itself, as above). In rough terms, at the level of the
topology, the same kind of construction is occurring in both places, X and
the decomposition space, and one can match them up, by matching up the
individual building blocks. This is not hard to track.
At any rate, more details for these various matters are given in [Sem7].
Instead of stacking basic building blocks on top of each other infinitely
many times, one can stop after finitely many steps of the construction. This
gives a set which is still smooth, and diffeomorphic to R
n
, but which approx-
imates the non-smooth version that represents the decomposition space. To
put it another way, although this kind of approximation is standard topolog-
ically, its geometry does reflect the basic rule from which the decomposition
space is obtained. In particular, properties of the decomposition space can
be reflected in questions of quantitative bounds for the approximations which
may or may not hold.
Some versions of this come up in [Sem7]. In addition, there are some
slightly different but related constructions, with copies of finite approxima-
tions repeated but getting small, at the same time that they include more
and more stages in the stacking.
The topological structure of the decomposition space can also be seen in
terms of Gromov–Hausdorff limits of smooth approximations like these.
93
When one makes constructions like these — either finite approximations
or infinite limits — the self-similarity helps to ensure that the spaces behave
geometrically about as well as they could. For instance, this is manifested
in terms of properties like Ahlfors-regularity (Definition 5.1), and the local
linear contractability condition (Definition 4.10), at least under suitable as-
sumptions or choices. One also gets good behavior in terms of “calculus”,
like Sobolev and Poincar´e inequalities. One has uniform rectifiability as well
(Definition 5.4), although the spaces are actually quite a bit more regular
than that. For smooth approximations with only finitely many levels in the
construction, one can have uniform bounds, independent of the number of
levels, for conditions like these. See [Sem7] for more information, and some
slightly different versions of these basic themes.
To summarize a bit, although the quotient spaces that one gets from
decompositions may not be topological manifolds, in many cases one can
realize them geometrically in such a way that the behavior that occurs is
really pretty good. With the extra structure from the geometry, there are
extra dimensions to the story as a whole, and which are perhaps not apparent
at first. (Possibilities for doing analysis on spaces like these, and spaces which
are significantly different from standard Euclidean spaces at that, give one
form of this.)
We shall look at these types of geometries from some more perspectives
in the next subsubsections, and also consider some special cases.
These general matters are related as well to the topics of Appendix D.
C.7.2 Comparisons between geometric and topological properties
Many of the geometric properties that occur when one constructs geometries
for decomposition spaces as above correspond in natural ways to common
conditions in purely topological terms that one might consider.
For instance, if one starts with a decomposition space R
n
/G from R
n
, and
gives it a metric in which it becomes Ahlfors-regular of dimension n, then in
particular the decomposition space has Hausdorff dimension n with respect
to this metric. In the type of examples mentioned above, R
n
/G would also
have topological dimension n.
The Hausdorff dimension of a metric space is always greater than or
equal to the topological dimension, as in Chapter VII of [HurW]. To have
the two be equal is rather nice, and Ahlfors-regularity in addition even nicer.
For the constructions described in Subsubsection C.7.1, Ahlfors-regularity
94
reflects the fact that one chooses the geometries to be smooth away from the
singularities, and self-similar around the singularities.
For cell-like decompositions in general (of compact metric spaces, say),
there is a theorem which says that the topological dimension of the quotient
is less than or equal to the topological dimension of the space with which
one starts, if the topological dimension of the quotient is known to be finite.
See Theorem 7 on p135 of [Dave2], and see [Dave2] in general for more
information. Note that it is possible for the topological dimension of the
quotient to be infinite, by a result of Dranishnikov [Dra] (not available at the
time of the writing of [Dave2]).
For the situations discussed in Subsubsection C.7.1, Ahlfors-regularity of
dimension n for the geometry of the decomposition space is a nice way to
have good behavior related to the dimension (and with the right value of the
dimension, i.e., the topological dimension). In other words, it is a geometric
property that fits nicely with general topological considerations (as in the
preceding two paragraphs), while also being about as strong as it can be.
It is also quantitative, and it makes sense to consider uniform bounds for
smooth approximations that use only finitely many levels of the construction.
(Note that it is automatically preserved under Gromov–Hausdorff limits,
when there are uniform bounds. See [DaviS8] for more information.)
Another general result about decomposition spaces implies that a cell-like
quotient of a space is locally contractable if the quotient has finite dimension,
under suitable conditions on the space from which one starts (e.g., being a
manifold). See Corollary 12B on p129 of [Dave2] (as well as Corollaries 4A
and 8B on p115 and p119 of [Dave2] for auxiliary statements). Here local
contractability of a topological space X means that for every point p ∈ X,
and every neighborhood U of p in X, there is a smaller neighborhood V ⊆ U
of p in X such that V can be contracted to a point in U. If the quotient space
is not known to be finite-dimensional, then there are weaker but analogous
conclusions that one can make, along the lines of local contractability. See
Corollary 11B on p129 of [Dave2].
These notions are purely topological ones. The local linear contractability
condition (Definition 4.10) is a more quantitative version of this for metric
spaces. It is about as strong as one can get, in terms of the sizes of the
neighborhoods concerned. That is, if one tries to contract a small ball in
the space to a point inside of another ball which is also small, but some-
what larger than the first one, then weaker conditions besides local linear
contractability might allow somewhat larger radii for the second ball (than a
95
constant multiple of the initial radius). The linear bound fits naturally with
self-similarity.
As indicated earlier (towards the end of Subsubsection C.7.1), local linear
contractability does come up in a natural manner for the constructions in
Subsubsection C.7.1. This fits nicely with the general topological results,
i.e., by giving a geometric form which reflects the topological properties in
about the best possible way.
Exactly how nice the spaces discussed in Subsubsection C.7.1 are depends
on the features of the decompositions. This includes not only how many
singularities there are, but also how strong they are. For instance, cellular
decompositions can lead to nicer or more properties for the resulting spaces
than cell-like decompositions. I.e., at the geometric level, cellularity can give
rise to more good behavior than local linear contractability. For example, one
can look at simple-connectivity of punctured neighborhoods in this regard,
and things like that. This is something that one does not have for the space
obtained by taking R
3
and contracting a Whitehead continuum to a single
point. Some other versions of this are considered in [Sem7].
C.7.3 Quotient spaces can be topologically standard, but geomet-
rically tricky
We have seen before how decompositions of R
n
might lead to R
n
again topo-
logically in the quotient, but do so in a manner that is still somehow nontriv-
ial. For instance, the decomposition might arise from a nontrivial manifold
factor, or lead to wild embeddings in the quotient which seem very simple
(like a straight line) at the level of the decomposition. In these situations,
one can still have highly nontrivial geometries from the procedures described
in Subsubsection C.7.1, even though the underlying space is topologically
equivalent to R
n
.
As a special case, the wild embeddings that can occur in the quotient
(with the topological identification with a Euclidean space) can behave in a
very special way in the geometric realization of the decomposition space that
one has here, with geometric properties which are not possible in R
n
with
the standard Euclidean metric. We shall give a concrete example of this in
a moment.
This is one way that geometric structures for decomposition spaces (as
in Subsubsection C.7.1) can help to add more to the general story. One
had before the notion that a wild embedding might have a simple realization
96
through a decomposition space, and now this might be made precise through
metric properties of the embedding (like Hausdorff dimension), using the
type of geometry for the decomposition space that one has here.
Here is a concrete instance of this. Let W be a Whitehead continuum
in R
3
, as in Subsection C.2. Consider the corresponding quotient space
R
3
/W, as in Subsection C.4. Through the type of construction described in
Subsubsection C.7.1, one can give R
3
/W a geometric structure with several
nice properties. In short, one can realize it topologically as a subset of R
4
,
where this subset is smooth away from the singular point, and has a simple
self-similarity at the singular point. One could then use the geometry induced
from the usual one on the ambient R
4
.
Let us write q for the singular point in R
3
/W, i.e., the point in the
quotient which corresponds to W. Using the metric on R
3
/W indicated
above, let us think of (R
3
/W) R as being equipped with a metric. One
could also think of (R
3
/W) R as being realized as a subset of R
5
, namely,
as the product of the one in R
4
mentioned before with R.
In this geometry, L = ¦q¦Ris a perfectly nice line. It is a “straight” line!
In particular, it has Hausdorff dimension 1, and locally finite length. How-
ever, the image of L inside of R
4
under a homeomorphism from (R
3
/W) R
onto R
4
will be wild. As in Subsection C.5, any such embedding of L in R
4
must be wild, and in fact any such embedding must have Hausdorff dimen-
sion at least 2, with respect to the usual Euclidean metric in R
4
. This used
Theorem C.19.
This shows that the geometry that we have for (R
3
/W)Rhas to be sub-
stantially different from the usual Euclidean geometry on R
4
, even though the
two spaces are topologically equivalent. Specifically, even though there are
homeomorphisms from (R
3
/W) R onto R
4
, no such homeomorphism can
be Lipschitz (with respect to the geometries that we have on these spaces),
or even H¨ older continuous of order larger than 1/2.
Although (R
3
/W) R — with the kind of geometry described above —
is quite different from R
4
with the usual Euclidean metric, there is a strong
and nice feature that it has, in common with R
4
. We shall call this property
“uniform local coordinates”.
Since (R
3
/W) R is homeomorphic to R
4
, it has homeomorphic local
coordinates from R
4
at every point. “Uniform local coordinates” asks for a
stronger version of this, and is more quantitative. Specifically, around each
metric ball B in (R
3
/W) R (with respect to the kind of geometry that we
have), there are homeomorphic local coordinates from a standard Euclidean
97
ball β of the same radius in R
4
, such that
the image of β under the coordinate mapping (C.21)
covers the given ball B in (R
3
/W) R,
and
the modulus of continuity of the coordinate mapping (C.22)
and its inverse can be controlled, uniformly over all
choices of metric balls B in (R
3
/W) R, and in a
scale-invariant manner.
Here “modulus of continuity” means a function ω(r) so that when two
points in the domain (of a given mapping) are at distance ≤ r, their images
are at distance ≤ ω(r). Also, r would range through positive numbers, and
ω(r) would be nonnegative and satisfy
lim
r→0
ω(r) = 0. (C.23)
This last captures the continuity involved, and, in fact, gives uniform conti-
nuity.
For a mapping from a compact metric space to another metric space,
continuity automatically implies uniform continuity, which then implies the
existence of some modulus of continuity. This is not to say that one knows
much about the modulus of continuity, a priori. (One can always choose it
to be monotone, for instance, but one cannot in general say how fast it tends
to 0 as r → 0.)
Concrete examples of moduli of continuity would include ω(r) = C r
for some constant C, which corresponds to a mapping being Lipschitz with
constant C, or ω(r) = C r
α
, α > 0, which corresponds to H¨ older continuity
of order α. One can have much slower rates of vanishing, such as ω(r) =
(log log log(1/r))
−1
.
In our case, with the property of “uniform local coordinates”, we want to
have a single modulus of continuity ω(r) which works simultaneously for all
of the local coordinate mappings (and their inverses). Actually, we do not
look at moduli of continuity for the mappings themselves, but renormalized
versions of them. The renormalizations are given by dividing distances in the
domain and range by the (common) radius of B and β. In this way, B and
98
β are viewed as though they have radius 1, independently of what the radius
was originally. This gives a kind of uniform basis for making comparisons
between the behavior of the individual local coordinate mappings.
Let us return now to the special case of (R
3
/W) R, with the geometry
as before. In this case one can get the condition of uniform local coordinates
from the existence of topological coordinates (without uniform bounds), to-
gether with the self-similarity and smoothness properties of the set. Here
is an outline of the argument. (A detailed version of this, for a modestly
different situation, is given in [Sem7]. Specifically, see Theorem 6.3 on p241
in [Sem7]. Note that the property of uniform local coordinates is called
“Condition (∗∗)” in [Sem7], as in Definition 1.7 on p192 of [Sem7].)
Let B be a metric ball in (R
3
/W)R, for which one wants to find suitable
coordinates. Assume first that B does not get too close to the singular line
¦q¦ R in (R
3
/W) R, and in fact that the radius of B is reasonably
small compared to the distance from B to the singular line. In this case
(R
3
/W) R is pretty smooth and flat in B, by construction (through the
method of Subsubsection C.7.1). This permits one to get local coordinates
around B quite easily, and with suitable uniform bounds for the moduli of
continuity of the coordinate mappings and their inverses. The bounds that
one gets are scale-invariant, because of the self-similarity in the geometric
construction (from Subsubsection C.7.1). In fact, one can have Lipschitz
bounds in this case, as well as stronger forms of smoothness.
If the ball B is reasonably close to the singular line ¦q¦ R, then one
can reduce to the case where it is actually centered on ¦q¦ R. That is,
one could replace B with a ball which is centered on ¦q¦ R, and which is
not too much larger. (The radius of the new ball would be bounded by a
constant times the radius of B.) This substitution does not cause trouble for
the kind of bounds that are being sought here.
Thus we suppose that B is centered on the line ¦q¦ R. We may as well
assume that the center of B is the point (q, 0). This is because (R
3
/W) R
and the geometry that we have on it are invariant under translations in the
R direction, so that one can move the center to (q, 0) without difficulty, if
necessary.
Using the self-similarity of (R
3
/W)R, one can reduce further to the case
where the radius of B is approximately 1. For that matter, one can reduce to
the case where it is equal to 1, by simply increasing the radius by a bounded
factor (which again does not cause problems for the uniform bounds that are
being considered here). (To be honest, if one takes the geometry for R
3
/W to
99
be flat outside a compact set, as in Subsubsection C.7.1, then this reduction
is not fully covered by self-similarity. I.e., one should handle large scales a
bit differently. This can be done, and a similar point is discussed in [Sem7]
in a slightly different situation (for examples based on “Bing doubling”).)
Once one makes these reductions, one gets down to the case of the single
ball B in (R
3
/W) R, centered at (q, 0) and with radius 1. For this sin-
gle choice of scale and location, one can use the fact that (R
3
/W) R is
homeomorphic to R
4
to get suitable local coordinates.
For this single ball B, there is no issue of “uniformity” in the moduli
of continuity for the coordinate mappings. One simply needs a modulus of
continuity.
A key point, however, is that when works backwards in the reductions
just made, to go to arbitrary balls in (R
3
/W) R which are relatively close
to the singular line ¦q¦ R, one does get local coordinates with uniform
control on the (normalized) moduli of continuity of the coordinate mappings
and their inverses. This is because of the way that the reductions cooperate
with the scaling and the geometry.
At any rate, this completes the outline of the argument for showing that
(R
3
/W) R has uniform local coordinates, in the sense described before,
around (C.21) and (C.22), and with the kind of geometry for (R
3
/W) R
as before. As mentioned at the beginning, this argument is nearly the same
as one given in [Sem7], in the proof of Theorem 6.3 on p241 of [Sem7].
It is easy to see that a metric space which is bilipschitz equivalent to some
R
n
has uniform local coordinates (relative to R
n
rather than R
4
, as above).
The required local coordinates can simply be obtained from restrictions of the
global bilipschitz parameterization. The converse is not true in general, i.e.,
there are spaces which have uniform local coordinates and not be bilipschitz
equivalent to the corresponding R
n
.
Examples of this are given by (R
3
/W) R with the kind of geometry as
above. We saw before that the singular line ¦q¦ R, which has Hausdorff
dimension 1 in our geometry on (R
3
/W) R, is always sent to sets of Haus-
dorff dimension at least 2 under any homeomorphism from (R
3
/W)R onto
R
4
, so that such a homeomorphism can never be Lipschitz, or even H¨ older
continuous of order greater than 1/2.
However, one can also get much simpler examples, by taking snowflake
spaces. That is, one can take R
n
equipped with the metric [x −y[
α
, where
[x−y[ is the usual metric, and α is a positive real number strictly less than 1.
It is not hard to check that this has the property of uniform local coordinates.
100
It is not bilipschitz equivalent to R
n
, because it has Hausdorff dimension n/α
instead of Hausdorff dimension n.
If one assumes uniform local coordinates relative to R
n
and Ahlfors-
regularity of dimension n (Definition 5.1), then the matter becomes much
more delicate. Note that Ahlfors-regularity of the correct dimension rules
out snowflake spaces, as in the previous paragraph. It is still not sufficient,
though, because the (R
3
/W) R spaces with the type of geometry as above
are Ahlfors-regular of dimension 4, in addition to having uniform local coor-
dinates (relative to R
4
).
With Ahlfors-regularity of dimension n (and uniform local coordinates
relative to R
n
), there are some relatively strong conclusions that one can
make, even if one does not get something like bilipschitz parameterizations.
Some versions of this came up in Sections 4 and 5, and with much less than
uniform local coordinates being needed. We shall encounter another result
which is special to dimension 2, later in this subsubsection.
Dimension 1 is more special in this regard (and as is quite standard). One
can get bilipschitz equivalence with R from Ahlfors-regularity of dimension
1 and uniform local coordinates with respect to R (and less than that). This
is not hard to do, using arclength parameterizations.
Let us note that in place of (R
3
/W) R in dimension 4, as above, one
can take Cartesian products with more copies of R to get examples in all
dimension greater than or equal to 4, with similar properties as in dimension
4. In particular, one would get sets which are Ahlfors-regular of the correct
dimension, and which have uniform local coordinates, but not bilipschitz
coordinates, or even somewhat less than bilipschitz coordinates.
In dimension 3, there is a different family of examples that one can make,
based on “Bing doubling”. This was mentioned earlier, and is discussed in
[Sem7].
Notice that the uniform local coordinates property would imply a bilips-
chitz condition if the local coordinates all came from restrictions of a single
global parameterization. In general, the uniform local coordinates property
allows the local coordinate mappings to change as one changes locations and
scales, and this is why it allows for the possibility that there is no global
bilipschitz parameterization. The case of (R
3
/W) R provides a good ex-
ample of this. For this one can check the earlier argument, and see how
the local coordinates that are used are not restrictions of a single global pa-
rameterization. This is true even though the local coordinate mappings at
different locations and scales often have a common “model” or behavior. In
101
other words, one might often use rescalings of a single mapping, and this can
be quite different from restrictions of a single mapping.
Let us emphasize that in the uniform local coordinates condition, one
does not ask that the uniform modulus of continuity be something simple,
like a Lipschitz or a H¨ older condition. Under some conditions one might be
able to derive that, using the uniformity of the hypothesis over all locations
and scales. This is analogous to something that happens a lot in harmonic
analysis; i.e., relatively weak conditions that hold uniformly over all locations
and scales often imply conditions which are apparently much stronger. In
the present circumstances, we do have some limits on this, as in the examples
mentioned above. The final answers are not clear, however.
Another way to think about the uniformity over all locations and scales in
the uniform local coordinates property is that it is a condition which implies
the existence of homeomorphic coordinates even after one “blows up” the
space (in the Hausdorff or Gromov–Hausdorff senses) along any sequence of
locations and scales in the space. With the uniform local coordinates prop-
erty, the local coordinates could be “blown up” along with the space, with
the uniform bounds for the moduli of continuity providing the equicontinu-
ity and compactness needed to take limits of the coordinate mappings (after
passing to suitable subsequences).
Instead of looking at uniform local coordinates in connection with bilip-
schitz equivalence with R
n
, one can consider quasisymmetric equivalence.
Roughly speaking, a quasisymmetric mapping between two metric spaces
is one that approximately preserves relative distances, in the same way
that bilipschitz mappings approximately preserve actual distances. In other
words, if one has three points x, y, and z in the domain of such a mapping,
and if x is much closer to y than z is, then this should also be true for
their images under a quasisymmetric mapping, even if the actual distances
between the points might be changed a lot. See [TukV] for more details and
information about quasisymmetric mappings. Two metric spaces are qua-
sisymmetrically equivalent if there is a quasisymmetric mapping from one
onto the other. As with bilipschitz mappings, compositions and inverses of
quasisymmetric mappings remain quasisymmetric.
If a metric space admits a quasisymmetric parameterization from R
n
,
then it also satisfies the condition of uniform local coordinates. This is true
for nearly the same reason as for bilipschitz mappings; given a quasisym-
metric mapping from R
n
onto the metric space, one can get suitable local
coordinates for the space from restrictions of the global mapping to indi-
102
vidual balls. There is a difference between this case and that of bilipschitz
mappings, which is that one should allow some extra rescalings to compen-
sate for the fact that distances are not approximately preserved. Specifically,
a ball B in the metric space may be covered in a nice way by the image under
a quasisymmetric mapping of a ball β in R
n
, but then there is no reason why
the radii of B and β should be approximately the same. For a bilipschitz
mapping, one would be able to choose β so that it has radius which is com-
parable to that of B. In the quasisymmetric case, one may not have that,
but if one adds an extra rescaling on R
n
(depending on the choices of balls),
then one can still get local coordinates with the kind of uniform control on
the (normalized) moduli of continuity as in the uniform local coordinates
condition.
If a metric space has uniform local coordinates with respect to R
n
, and
if these coordinates come from restrictions and then rescalings (on R
n
) of a
single global parameterization, as in the preceding paragraph, then that pa-
rameterization does have to be quasisymmetric. This is an easy consequence
of the definitions, and it is analogous to what happens in the bilipschitz case.
If a metric space admits uniform local coordinates from some R
n
, it still
may not be true that it admits a quasisymmetric parameterization. This is
trickier than before, and in particular one does not get examples simply by
using snowflake metrics [x−y[
α
on R
n
. Indeed, the identity mapping on R
n
is quasisymmetric as a mapping from R
n
with the standard metric to R
n
with the snowflake metric [x −y[
α
, 0 < α < 1.
However, there are counterexamples, going back to results of Rickman
and V¨ ais¨ al¨ a. That is, these are spaces which have uniform local coordinates
(and are even somewhat nicer than that), but which do not admit quasisym-
metric parameterizations. Basically, these spaces are Cartesian products,
where the individual factors behave nicely in their own right, and where the
combination mixes different types of geometry. A basic example (which was
the original one) is to take a product of a snowflake with a straight line. Qua-
sisymmetric mappings try to treat different directions in a uniform manner,
and in the end this does not work for parameterizations of these examples.
See Lemma 4 in [Tuk], and also [V¨ ai4] and [AleV1].
These examples occur already in dimension 2. They do not behave well
in terms of measure, though, and for Ahlfors-regularity (of dimension 2) in
particular. This is a basic part of the story; compare with [AleV1, Tuk, V¨ ai4].
As usual, dimension 1 is special. There are results starting from more
primitive conditions, and good characterizations for the existence of qua-
103
sisymmetric parameterizations, in fact. See Section 4 of [TukV].
On the other hand, in dimension 2, there are positive results about having
global quasisymmetric parameterizations for a given space, and with bounds.
For these results one would assume Ahlfors-regularity of dimension 2, and
some modest additional conditions concerning the geometry and topology,
conditions which are weaker than “uniform local coordinates”. See [DaviS4,
HeiKo1, Sem3]. For these results, it is important that the dimension be 2, and
not larger, because of the way that they rely on the existence of conformal
mappings. We shall say a bit more about this in Subsection C.8.
If we go now to dimension 3, then there are counterexamples, even with
good behavior in terms of measure. That is, there are examples of subsets of
Euclidean spaces which are Ahlfors-regular of dimension 3, admit uniform lo-
cal coordinates with respect to R
3
, but are not quasisymmetrically-equivalent
to R
3
. These examples are based on the decompositions of R
3
associated
to “Bing doubling” (as in [Bin1, Bin7, Dave2]), using geometric realizations
as in Subsubsection C.7.1. This is discussed in [Sem7]. The absence of a
quasisymmetric parameterization in this case is close to a result in [FreS],
although the general setting in [FreS] is a bit different.
Concerning the space (R
3
/W) R considered before, equipped with a
nice geometry as from Subsubsection C.7.1 and [Sem7], it is not clear (to
my knowledge) whether quasisymmetric parameterizations from R
4
exist or
not. We saw earlier that bilipschitz mappings do not exist, because of the
line in (R
3
/W) R which has to have Hausdorff dimension at least 2 after
any homeomorphism from (R
3
/W) R onto R
4
. These considerations of
Hausdorff measure do not by themselves rule out the existence of a quasisym-
metric mapping, as they do for bilipschitz mappings. (Compare with [V¨ ai3],
for instance.)
Similar remarks apply to double-suspensions of homology spheres. In
particular, it is not known (to my knowledge) whether or not quasisymmetric
parameterizations exist for them.
To summarize a bit, we have seen in this subsubsection how decomposi-
tion spaces might be “standard” topologically, being equivalent to R
n
as a
topological space, and still lead to geometries which are tricky, and which
have some interesting structure. We shall discuss another class of examples
like this in Subsubsection C.7.4. These examples are more trivial topolog-
ically, more tame geometrically, but still nontrivial geometrically. (They
admit simple quasisymmetric parameterizations, but no bilipschitz parame-
terizations.)
104
See [Sem7] for some other types of geometric structure which can arise
naturally from decompositions. For instance, cellular decompositions whose
quotients are not manifolds — such as Bing’s dogbone space ([Bin2], Example
4 on p64-65 in [Dave2]) — give rise to spaces which do not have “uniform
local coordinates”, but which do have nice properties in other ways. For
instance, one can make constructions so that local coordinates exist at all
locations and scales, and with uniform bounds on how they are localized, but
not for their moduli of continuity. This last is related to having Gromov–
Hausdorff limits which are not manifolds, but are topologically given as a
decomposition space (with a cellular decomposition), like Bing’s dogbone
space.
C.7.4 Examples that are even simpler topologically, but still non-
trivial geometrically
Let us mention another class of examples, which one can also think of in
terms of decompositions (although they are “trivial” in this respect). These
examples are based on “Antoine’s necklaces”, which came up before, in Sub-
section C.1.
Antoine’s necklaces are compact subsets of R
3
which are homeomorphic
to the usual middle-thirds Cantor set in the real line, but for which there
is no global homeomorphism from R
3
onto itself which maps these sets into
subsets of a line. In dimension 2 this does not happen, as in Chapter 13 of
[Moi].
The “wildness” of these sets is manifested in a simple fundamental-group
property. Namely, the complement of these sets in R
3
have nontrivial funda-
mental group, whereas this would not be true if there were a global homeo-
morphism from R
3
to itself which would take one of these sets to a subset of
the line. This last uses the fact that these sets are totally disconnected (i.e.,
to have simple-connectivity of the complement in R
3
if the set were to lie in
a line).
Antoine’s necklaces are discussed in Chapter 18 of [Moi]. See also p71ff
in [Dave2]. The basic construction for them can be described in terms of the
same kind of “rules” as in Subsubsection C.7.1.
One starts with a solid torus T in R
3
. Inside this torus one embeds some
more tori, which are disjoint, but which form a chain that is “linked” around
the hole in the original torus. (See Figure 18.1 on p127 of [Moi], or Figure
9.9 on p71 of [Dave2].) In each of these smaller tori, one can embed another
105
collection of linking tori, in the same way as for the first solid torus.
One can repeat this indefinitely. In the limit, one gets a Cantor set, which
is a necklace of Antoine.
Actually, we should be a little more precise here. In saying that we get
a Cantor set in the limit, we are implicitly imagining that the diameters of
the solid tori are going to 0 as one proceeds through the generations of the
construction. This is easy to arrange, if one uses enough tori in the basic
rule (linking around the original torus T). If one uses enough tori, then one
can do this in such a way that all of the tori are similar to the initial torus
T, i.e., can be given as images of T by mappings which are combinations of
translations, rotations, and dilations.
One can also consider using a smaller number of tori, and where the
embeddings of the new tori (in the original one) are allowed to have some
stretching. (Compare with Figure 9.9 on p71 of [Dave2].) As an extreme case,
the Whitehead continuum corresponds essentially to the same construction
as Antoine’s necklaces, except that only 1 embedded torus is used in the
linking in the original torus T. (See Figure 9.7 on p68 of [Dave2].) For this
one definitely needs a fair amount of stretching. In Bing doubling, one uses
two solid tori, embedded and linked around the hole in T (Figure 3 on p357
of [Bin1], Figure 9.1 on p63 in [Dave2]). One again needs some stretching,
but not as much for the Whitehead continuum.
These cases are different from the standard ones for Antoine’s necklaces,
because when one iterates the basic rule in a straightforward way, the com-
ponents that one gets at the nth generation do not have diameters tending to
0. For the Whitehead continuum, this is simply unavoidable, and reflects the
way that the components are clasped, each one by itself, around the “hole”
of the original torus T. In the case of Bing doubling, one can rearrange the
embeddings at later generations in such a way that the diameters do tend
to 0, even if this might not be true for naive iterations. This was proved by
Bing, in [Bin1]. (See also p69-70 of [Dave2], and [Bin7].)
Let us imagine that we are using enough small solid tori in the linking
around T, as in standard constructions for Antoine’s necklaces, so that it is
clear that the diameters of the components of the sets obtained by repeating
the process do go to 0 (i.e., without having to make special rearrangements,
or anything like that, as in Bing doubling). In other words, in the limit, one
gets a Cantor set in R
3
, as above. Let us call this Cantor set A.
This Cantor set A is wild, in the sense that its complement in R
3
is not
simply-connected, and there is no global homeomorphism from R
3
to itself
106
which takes A to a subset of a line. At the level of decompositions, however,
there is not much going on here.
Normally, to get a decomposition from a process like this, one takes the
connected components obtained in the limit of the process, together with
sets with one element for the rest of the points in R
3
(or R
n
, as the case
may be). This was described before, in Subsubsection C.7.1. (See also the
discussion at the beginning of Section 9 of [Dave2], on p61, concerning the
notion of a defining sequence.) In the construction that we are considering
here, all of the connected components in the end contain only one element
each, because of the way that the diameters of the components in finite stages
of the “defining sequence” converge to 0.
In other words, the decomposition that occurs here is automatically “triv-
ial”, consisting of one-element sets, one for each point in R
3
. Taking the quo-
tient does not do anything, and the decomposition space is just R
3
again.
There is nothing too complicated about this. It is just something to say
explicitly, for the record, so to speak, to be clear about it, especially since
it is a situation to which one might normally pay little attention, for being
degenerate. (See also the text at the beginning of p71 of [Dave2], about this
kind of defining sequence and decomposition.)
While there is nothing going on at the level of the decompositions topo-
logically, this is not the case geometrically! One can think of this in the
same way as in Subsubsection C.7.1, for making geometric representations of
decomposition spaces, with metrics and self-similarity properties for them.
In the present situation, one can also work more directly at the level of R
3
itself, to get geometries like this.
Here is the basic point. Imagine deforming the geometry of R
3
, at the
level of infinitesimal measurements of distance, as with Riemannian metrics.
In the general idea of a decomposition space, one can shrink sets in some
R
n
which have nonzero diameter to single points. In the present setting, our
basic components already are single points, and so there is nothing to do to
them. However, one can still shrink the geometry around these points in R
3
.
In technical terms, one can think of deforming the geometry of R
3
, by
multiplying its standard Riemannian metric by a function. One can take
this function to be positive and regular away from the Antoine’s necklace,
and then vanish on the necklace itself. For instance, one could take the
function to be a positive power of the distance to the necklace A, so that the
107
Riemannian metric can be written as follows:
ds
2
= dist(x, A)
α
dx
2
. (C.24)
This type of metric is discussed in some detail in [Sem8] (although in a
slightly different form). The geometry of R
3
with this kind of metric behaves
a lot like standard Euclidean geometry. One still has basic properties like
Ahlfors-regularity of dimension 3, and Sobolev, Poincar´e, and isoperimetric
inequalities in the new geometry. See [Sem8]. (This kind of deformation is
special case of the broader class in [DaviS1] and [Sem5, Sem10].)
However, with suitable choices of parameters, the metric space that one
gets in this way is not bilipschitz equivalent to R
3
with the standard Eu-
clidean metric. This is because the shrinking of distances around the necklace
A can lead to A having Hausdorff dimension less than 1 in the new metric.
On the other hand, R
3
`A is not simply-connected, and this means that the
geometry which has been constructed cannot be bilipschitz equivalent to the
standard geometry on R
3
, because of Theorem C.19 in Subsection C.5. See
[Sem8] for more information. (Concerning the “choice of parameters” here,
the main point is to have enough shrinking of distances around A to get the
Hausdorff dimension to be less than 1, or something like that. The amount
of shrinking needed depends on some of the choices involved in producing
the necklace. By using Antoine’s necklaces which are sufficiently “thin”, it is
enough to employ arbitrarily small powers α of the distance to the necklace
in (C.24) to get enough shrinking of the metric around the necklace. In any
case, one is always free to take the power α to be larger.)
Let us emphasize that in making this kind of construction, the conclusion
is that the metric space that one gets is not bilipschitz-equivalent to R
3
through any homeomorphism between the two spaces. It is easy to make
deformations of the geometry so that the new metric seems to be much
different from the old one in the given coordinates, but for which this is
not really the case if one is allowed to make a change of variables. For
instance, one might deform the standard Euclidean Riemannian metric on
R
3
by multiplying it by a function that vanishes at a point, like a positive
power of the distance to that point. Explicitly, this means
d¯ s
2
= [x −p[
β
dx
2
, (C.25)
where β > 0. In the standard coordinates, this metric and the ordinary one
look quite different. However, for this particular type of deformation (as in
108
(C.25)), the two metrics are bilipschitz equivalent, if one allows a nontrivial
change of variables. Specifically, one can use changes of variables of the form
f(x) = p +[x −p[
β/2
(x −p). (C.26)
This is not hard to verify.
As a more complicated version of this, one can also make deformations
of the standard geometry on R
3
of the form
d´ s
2
= dist(x, K)
γ
dx
2
, (C.27)
where γ > 0 and K is a self-similar Cantor set in R
3
which is not wild. In this
case one can again get geometries which may look different from the usual
one in the given coordinates, but for which there are changes of variables
which give a bilipschitz equivalence with the standard metric. Compare with
Remark 5.28 on p390 of [Sem8].
When one makes deformations based on Antoine’s necklaces, as above,
the linking that goes on can ensure that there is no bilipschitz equivalence
between R
3
with the new geometry and R
3
with the standard geometry.
In fact, there will not be a homeomorphism which is Lipschitz (from the
new geometry to the standard one), without asking for bilipschitzness. With
suitable choices of parameters, it can be impossible to have a homeomorphism
like this which is even H¨ older continuous of an arbitrary exponent δ > 0,
given in advance.
Under the conditions in [Sem8], the identity mapping itself on R
3
always
gives a homeomorphism which is H¨ older continuous with some positive ex-
ponent. In fact, it is also quasisymmetric, in the sense of [TukV]. Thus, here
one gets examples of spaces which are quasisymmetrically equivalent to a
Euclidean space, and which are Ahlfors-regular of the correct dimension, but
which are not bilipschitz equivalent to a Euclidean space. (Compare with
Subsubsection C.7.3.)
C.8 Geometric and analytic results about the exis-
tence of good coordinates
In Subsection C.2, we considered the question of whether a nonempty con-
tractable open set in R
n
is homeomorphic to the standard open unit ball in
R
n
. When n = 2 this is true, and it is a standard result in topology.
109
One can establish this result in 2 dimensions analytically via the Riemann
Mapping Theorem. This theorem gives the existence of a conformal mapping
from the unit disk in R
2
onto any nonempty simply-connected open set in
R
2
which is not all of R
2
. See Chapter 6 of [Ahl1], for instance.
The Riemann Mapping Theorem is of course very important for many
aspects of analysis and geometric function theory in R
2 ∼
= C, but it also does
a lot at a less special level. From it one not only obtains homeomorphisms
from the unit disk in R
2
onto any nonempty simply-connected proper open
subset of R
2
, but one gets a way of choosing such homeomorphisms which
is fairly canonical. In particular, Riemann mappings are unique modulo a
three real-dimensional group of automorphisms of the unit disk (which can
be avoided through suitable normalizations), and there are results about the
dependence of Riemann mappings on the domains being parameterized.
By comparison, one might try to imagine doing such things without the
Riemann mapping, or in other contexts where it is not available. In this
regard, see [Hat1, Hat2, Lau, RanS], concerning related matters in higher
dimensions.
Another fact in dimension 2 is that any smooth Riemannian metric on the
2-sphere S
2
is conformally-equivalent to the standard metric. In other words,
if g is a smooth Riemannian metric on S
2
, and if g
0
denotes the standard
metric, then there is a diffeomorphism from S
2
onto S
2
which converts g into
a metric of the form λg
0
, where λ is a smooth positive function on S
2
. There
are also local and other versions of this fact, but for the moment let us stick
to this formulation.
One way to try to use this theorem is as follows. Suppose that one has
a 2-dimensional space which behaves roughly like a 2-dimensional Euclidean
space (or sphere) in some ways, and one would like to know whether it can
be realized as nearly-Euclidean in more definite ways, through a parameter-
ization which respects the geometry. Let us assume for simplicity that our
space is given to us as S
2
with a smooth Riemannian metric g, but without
bounds for the smoothness of g. One can then get a conformal diffeomor-
phism f : (S
2
, g
0
) → (S
2
, g), as in the result mentioned in the preceding
paragraph. A priori the behavior of this mapping could be pretty compli-
cated, and one might not know much about it at definite scales. It would be
nice to have some bounds for the behavior of f, in terms of simple geometric
properties of (S
2
, g).
Some results of this type are given in [DaviS4, HeiKo1, Sem3]. Specifi-
cally, general conditions are given in [DaviS4, HeiKo1, Sem3] under which a
110
conformal equivalence f : (S
2
, g
0
) → (S
2
, g) actually gives a quasisymmetric
mapping (as in [TukV]), with uniform bounds for the quasisymmetry condi-
tion. In other words, these results have the effect of giving uniform bounds
for the behavior of f at any location or scale, under suitable conditions on
the initial space (S
2
, g), and using the conformality of f.
Another use of conformal mappings of an analogous nature is given in
[M¨ ul
ˇ
S]. There the assumptions on the space involved more smoothness —
an integral condition on (principal) curvatures, for a surface in some R
n
— and the conclusions are also stronger, concerning bilipschitz coordinates.
This gave a new approach to results in [Tor1]. See also [Tor2], and the recent
and quite different method in [Fu].
More precisely, [M¨ ul
ˇ
S] works with conformal mappings, while [Tor1, Tor2]
and [Fu] obtain bilipschitz coordinates by quite different means. In the con-
text of [DaviS4, HeiKo1, Sem3], no other method for getting quasisymmetric
or other coordinates with geometric estimates (under similar conditions) is
known, at least to my knowledge.
One might keep in mind that conformality is defined in infinitesimal
terms, through the differential of f. To go from infinitesimal or very small-
scale behavior to estimates at larger scales, one in effect tries to “integrate”
the information that one has.
This is a very classical subject for conformal and quasiconformal map-
pings. A priori, it is rather tricky, because one is not given any information
about the conformal factors (like the function λ before). Thus one can-
not “integrate” directly in a conventional sense. One of the basic meth-
ods is that of “extremal length”, which deals with the balance between
length and area. At any rate, methods like these are highly nonlinear. See
[Ahl2, Ahl3, LehV, V¨ ai1] for more information.
What would happen if one attempted analogous enterprises in higher
dimensions? One can begin in the same manner as before. Let n be an
integer greater than or equal to 2, and suppose (as a basic scenario) that one
has a smooth Riemannian metric g on S
n
. Let g
0
denote the standard metric
on S
n
. One might like to know that (S
n
, g) can be parameterized by (S
n
, g
0
)
through a mapping with reasonable properties, and with suitable bounds,
under some (hopefully modest) geometric conditions on (S
n
, g). Here, as
before, the smoothness of g should be taken in the character of an a priori
assumption. One would seek uniform bounds that do not depend on this in a
quantitative way. (The bounds would depend on constants in the geometric
conditions on (S
n
, g).)
111
If one has a mapping f : (S
n
, g
0
) → (S
n
, g) which is conformal, or which
is quasiconformal (with a bound for its dilatation), then [HeiKo1] provides
some natural hypotheses on (S
n
, g) under which one can establish that f is
quasisymmetric, and with bounds. In other words, this works for all n ≥ 2,
and not just n = 2, as above. See [HeiKo2, HeiKo2] for further results along
these lines.
However, when n > 2, there are no general results about existence of
conformal parameterizations for a given space, or quasiconformal parameter-
izations with uniform bounds for the dilatation. It is simply not true that
arbitrary smooth Riemannian metrics admit conformal coordinates, even lo-
cally, as they do when n = 2. Quasiconformal coordinates automatically
exist for reasonably-nice metrics, but with the quasiconformal dilatation de-
pending on the metric or on the size of the region being parameterized in a
strong way. The issue would be to avoid or reduce that.
One can easily see that the problem is highly overdetermined, in the
following sense. A general Riemannian metric in n dimensions is described
(locally, say) by n(n+1)/2 real-valued functions of n variables. A conformal
deformation of the standard metric is defined by 1 real-valued function of
n real variables, i.e., for the conformal factor. A general diffeomorphism in
n dimensions is described by n real-valued functions of n variables. Thus,
allowing for general changes of variables, the metrics which are conformally-
equivalent to the standard metric are described by n+1 real-valued functions
of n real variables. When n = 2, this is equal to n(n + 1)/2, but for n > 2
one has that n(n + 1)/2 > n + 1.
In fact, one knows that in dimension 3 there are numerous examples of
spaces which satisfy geometric conditions analogous to ones that work in di-
mension 2, but which do not admit quasisymmetric parameterizations. There
are also different levels of structure which occur in dimension 3, between ba-
sic geometric properties and having quasisymmetric parameterizations, and
which would come together in dimension 2. See [Sem7]. Parts of this are
reviewed or discussed in Subsection C.7, especially Subsubsection C.7.3.
Thus, not only does the method based on conformal and quasiconformal
mappings not work in higher dimensions, but some of the basic results that
one might hope to get or expect simply are not true, by examples which are
pretty concrete.
These examples can be viewed as geometrizations of classical examples
from geometric topology, and they are based on practically the same princi-
ples. They are not especially strange or pathological or anything like that,
112
but have a lot of nice properties. They reflect basic phenomena that occur.
This is all pretty neat! One has kinds of “parallel tracks”, with geometric
topology on one side, and aspects of geometry and analysis on the other. A
priori, these two tracks can exist independently, even if there are ways in
which each can be involved in the other.
Each of these two tracks has special features in low dimensions. This con-
cerns the existence of homeomorphisms with certain properties, for instance.
Each has statements and results and machinery which make sense for the
given track, and not for the other side, even if there are also some overlaps
(as with applications of Riemann mappings).
Each of these two tracks also starts running into trouble in higher di-
mensions, and at about the same time! We have seen a number of instances
of this by now, in this subsection, in this appendix more broadly, and also
Section 3. The kinds of trouble that they encounter can be rather different
a priori (such as localized fundamental group conditions, versus behavior of
partial differential equations), even if there is again significant overlap be-
tween them. In particular, this concerns the existence of homeomorphisms
with good properties.
C.8.1 Special coordinates that one might consider in other dimen-
sions
We have already discussed a number of basic topological phenomena in this
appendix. Let us now briefly consider a couple of things that one might try
in higher dimensions on the side of geometry and analysis, in similar veins
as above.
One basic approach would be to try to find and use mappings which
minimize some kind of “energy”. As before, one can consider smooth metrics
on smooth manifolds (like S
n
), and try to get parameterizations with uniform
bounds on their behavior, under modest conditions on the geometry of the
spaces. (One can also try to work directly with spaces and metric that are
not smooth.)
A very standard energy functional to consider would be the L
2
norm of the
differential, as with harmonic mappings. In dimension 2, conformal mappings
can be placed in this framework. One can also consider energy functionals
based on L
p
norms of differentials of mappings. This is more complicated
in terms of the differential equations that come up, but it can have other
advantages. The choice of p as the dimension n has some particularly nice
113
features, for having the energy functional cooperate with the geometry (and
analysis). (This is one of the ways that n = 2 is special; for this one can
have both p = n and p = 2 at the same time!) In particular, the energy
becomes invariant under conformal changes in the metric when p is equal to
the dimension.
In elasticity theory, one considers more elaborate energy functionals as
well. For instance, these might include integral norms of the inverse of
the Jacobian of the mapping, in addition to L
p
norms of the differentials. In
other words, the functional can try to limit both the way that the differential
becomes large and small, so that it takes into account both stretchings and
compressions.
In any case, although there is a lot of work concerning existence and
behavior of minimizers for functionals like these, I do not really know of
results in dimensions n ≥ 3 where they can be used to obtain well-behaved
parameterizations of spaces, with bounds, under modest or general geometric
conditions. This is especially true in comparison with what one can get in
dimension 2, as discussed before.
This is a bit unfortunate, compared with the way that the normal form of
conformal mappings can be so useful in dimension 2. On the other hand, per-
haps someone will find ways of using such variational problems for geometric
questions like these some day, or will find some kind of special structure
connected to them. In this regard, one might bear in mind issues related to
mappings with branching, as in Appendix B. We shall say a bit more about
this later in this subsection.
One might also keep in mind the existence of spaces with good proper-
ties, but not good parameterizations, as mentioned earlier (and discussed in
Subsubsections C.7.3 and C.7.4, and in [Sem7, Sem8]).
In dimension 3, there is another kind of special structure that one might
consider. Namely, instead of metrics which are conformal deformations of
the standard Euclidean metric, let us consider metrics g = g
i,j
for which only
the diagonal entries g
i,i
are nonzero.
In this case the diagonal entries are allowed to vary independently. For
conformal deformations of the standard Euclidean metric, the off-diagonal
entries are zero, and the diagonal entries are all equal.
In dimension 3, the problem of making a change of variables to put a
given metric into diagonal form like this is “determined”, in the same way as
for conformal deformations of Euclidean metrics in dimension 2. Specifically,
one can compute as follows. A general Riemannian metric is described by
114
n(n + 1)/2 real-valued functions of n variables, which means 6 real-valued
functions of 3 real variables in dimension 3. Metrics with only diagonal
nonzero entries are defined by 3 real-valued functions of 3-real variables, and
changes of variables are given by 3 real-valued functions of 3 real variables
as well. Thus, allowing for changes of variables, the metrics that can be
reduced to diagonal metrics can be described by 6 real-valued functions of 3
real-variables, which is the same as for the total family of Riemannian metrics
in this dimension. In dimensions greater than or equal to 4, this would not
work, and there would again be too many Riemannian metrics in general
compared to diagonal metrics and ways of reducing to them via changes of
variables.
Of course this is just an informal “dimension” count, and not a justifica-
tion for being able to put metrics into diagonal form in dimension 3. (One
should also be careful that there is not significant overlap between changes
of variables and diagonal metrics, i.e., so that there was no “overcounting”
for the combination of them.) However, it does turn out that one can put
metrics in diagonal form (in dimension 3), at least locally. This was estab-
lished in [DeTY] in the case of smooth metrics. There were earlier results in
the real-analytic category. (See [DeTY] for more information.)
However, this type of “normal form” does not seem to be as useful for
the present type of issue as conformal parameterizations are. As in the case
of conformal coordinates, part of the problem is that even if one has such a
normal form, one does not a priori know anything about the behavior of the
diagonal entries of the metric in this normal form. One would need methods
of getting estimates without this information, and only the nature of the nor-
mal form. In the context of conformal mappings, one has extremal lengths,
conformal capacities, and other conformal and quasiconformal invariants and
quasi-invariants. For diagonal metrics, it is not clear what one might do.
A related point is that the analysis of the partial differential equations
which permits one to put smooth Riemannian metrics in dimension 3 into di-
agonal form is roughly “hyperbolic”, in the same way that the corresponding
differential equations for conformal coordinates in dimension 2 are elliptic.
See [DeTY]. This is closely connected to the kind of stability that one has
for conformal mappings, and the possibilities for having estimates for them
under mild or primitive geometric conditions.
In a way this is all “just fair”, and nicely so. With diagonal metrics
one does have something analogous to conformal coordinates in dimension 3.
On the other hand, this analogue behaves differently in fundamental ways,
115
including estimates. This is compatible with other aspects of the story as a
whole, like the topological and geometric examples that one has in dimension
3 (where homeomorphisms may not exist, with the properties that one might
otherwise hope for).
In any event, this illustrates how analytic and geometric methods seem to
behave rather differently in dimensions 3 and higher, compared to the spe-
cial structure and phenomena which occur in dimension 2. This is somewhat
remarkable in analogy with topological phenomena, which have similar differ-
ences between dimensions. With the topology there are both some crossings
and overlaps with geometry and analysis, and much that is separate or inde-
pendent.
On the side of geometry and analysis, let us also note that there are
some other special features in low dimensions that we have not mentioned.
As a basic example, the large amount of flexibility that one has in making
conformal mappings in dimension 2 leads to some possibilities in dimension
3 that are not available in higher dimensions. That is, the large freedom
that one has in dimension 2 can sometimes permit one to make more limited
constructions in dimension 3, e.g., by starting with submanifolds of dimension
2, and working from there (with extensions, gluings, etc.) These possibilities
in dimension 3 can be much more restricted than in dimension 2, but having
them at all can be significantly more than what happens in higher dimensions.
We should also make clear that if one allows mappings with branching,
as in Appendix B, then a number of things can change. Some topological
difficulties could go away or be ameliorated, as has been indicated before
(and in Appendix B). For instance, the branching can unwind obstructions
or problems with localized fundamental groups (in complements of points or
other sets). There are many basic examples of this, as in Appendix B, and
the constructions in [HeiR1, HeiR2]. Ideas of Sullivan [Sul2, Sul3] are also
important in this regard (and as mentioned in Appendix B).
General pictures for mappings with branching, including existence and
good behavior, have yet to be fully explored or understood. The Alexan-
der argument described in Appendix B, the constructions of Heinonen and
Rickman [HeiR1, HeiR2], classical work on quasiregular mappings (as in
[Res, Ric1]), and the work of Sullivan [Sul2, Sul3], seem to indicate many
promising possibilities and directions.
One can perhaps use variational problems in these regards as well.
Concerning variational problems, one might also keep in mind the ap-
proaches of [DaviS9, DaviS11] (and some earlier ideas of Morel and Solimini
116
[MoreS]). For these one does not necessarily work directly with mappings
or potential parameterizations of sets, and in particular one may allow sets
themselves to be variables in the minimization (rather than mappings be-
tween fixed spaces). This broader range can make it easier for the minimiza-
tions to lead to useful conclusions about geometric structure and complexity,
under natural and modest conditions. In particular, one can get substantial
“partial parameterizations”, as with uniform rectifiability conditions.
These approaches are also nicely compatible with the trouble that one
knows can occur, related to topology and homeomorphisms (and in geomet-
rically moderate situations, as in Subsections C.7 and C.7.4, and [Sem7,
Sem8]).
Finally, while we have mentioned a lot about the special phenomena that
can occur in dimension 2, and what happens in higher dimensions, we should
also not forget about dimension 1. This is even more special than dimension
2. This is a familiar theme in geometric topology, for the ways that one can
recognize and parameterize curves. In geometry and analysis, one can look
for parameterizations with bounds, and these are often constructible.
A fundamental point along the lines is the ability to make parameteri-
zations by arclength, for curves of locally finite length. More generally, one
can use parameterizations adapted to other measures (rather than length),
when they are around.
Arclength parameterizations provide a very robust and useful way for ob-
taining parameterizations in dimension 1 with good behavior and bounds.
In dimension 1, simple conditions in terms of mass can often be immedi-
ately “integrated” to get well-behaved parameterizations, in ways that are
not available (or do not work nearly as well) in higher dimensions, even in
dimension 2.
To put the matter in more concrete terms, in dimension 1 one can often
make parameterizations, or approximate parameterizations, simply by order-
ing points in a good way. This does not work in higher dimensions. Once
one has the ordering, one can regularize the geometry by parameterizing
according to arclength, or some other measure (as appropriate).
For another version of this, in connection with quasisymmetric mappings,
see Section 4 of [TukV].
In differential-geometric language, one might say that dimension 1 is spe-
cial for the way that one can make isometries between spaces, through ar-
clength parameterizations. This no longer works in dimension 2, but one
has conformal coordinates there. Neither of these are generally available in
117
higher dimensions. In higher dimensions one has less special structure for
getting the existence in general of well-behaved parameterizations, and then
the kinds and ranges of geometric and topological phenomena which can exist
open up in a large way.
C.9 Nonlinear similarity: Another class of examples
A very nice and concrete situation in which issues of existence and behavior of
homeomorphisms can come up is that of “nonlinear similarity”. Specifically,
it is possible to have linear mappings A, B on R
n
which are conjugate to each
other by homeomorphisms from R
n
onto itself — i.e., B = h◦A◦h
−1
, where
h is a homeomorphism of R
n
onto itself — and which are not conjugate by
linear mappings!
Examples of this were given in [CapS2]. For related matters, including
other examples and conditions under which one can deduce linear equiva-
lence, see [CapS1, CapS3, CapS4, CapS5, CapS+, CapS∗, HamP1, HamP2,
HsiP1, HsiP2, KuiR, MadR1, MadR2, Mio, Rha1, Rha2, RotW, Wei1, Wei2,
Wilk].
Note that if one has a conjugation of linear mappings A and B by a diffeo-
morphism h on R
n
, then one can derive the existence of a linear conjugation
from this. This comes from passing to the differential of the diffeomorphism
at the origin.
Thus, when a linear conjugation does not exist, but a homeomorphic
conjugation does, then the homeomorphism cannot be smooth at all points
in R
n
, or even at just the origin. One might wonder then about the kinds of
processes and regularity that might be entailed in the homeomorphisms that
provide the conjugation. In this regard, see [CapS4, RotW, Wei1].
D Doing pretty well with spaces which may
not have nice coordinates
If one has a topological or metric space (or whatever) which has nice coordi-
nates, then that can be pretty good.
However, there is a lot that one can do without having coordinates. As in
Section 3 and Appendix C, there are many situations in which homeomorphic
coordinates might not be available, or might be available only in irregular
forms, or forms with large complexity. Even if piecewise-linear coordinates
118
exist, for instance, it may not be very nice if they have enormous complexity,
as in Section 3.
Or, as in Section 3, local coordinates might exist, but one might not have
an algorithmic way to know this. Similarly, coordinates might exist, but it
may not be so easy to find them.
As a brief digression, let us mention some positive results about situa-
tions in which coordinates exist, but are not as regular as one might like, at
least not at first. Consider the case of topological manifolds, which admit
homeomorphic local coordinates, but for which there may not be a compati-
ble piecewise-linear or smooth structure. Homeomorphic coordinates are not
suitable for many basic forms of analysis in which one might be interested,
e.g., involving differential operators. However, there is a famous theorem
of Sullivan [Sul1], to the effect that topological manifolds of dimension ≥ 5
admit unique quasiconformal and Lipschitz structures (for which one then
has quasiconformal and bilipschitz coordinates). (In dimensions less than or
equal to 3, unique piecewise-linear and smooth structures always exist for
topological manifolds, by more classical results. In dimension 4, quasicon-
formal and Lipschitz structures may not exist for topological manifolds, or
be unique. See [DonS]. Concerning smooth structures in dimension 4, see
[DonK, FreQ]. Some brief surveys pertaining to different structures on man-
ifolds, and in general dimensions, are given in Section 8 in [FreQ], and the
“Epilogue” in [MilS].)
Thus, with Sullivan’s theorem, one has the possibility of improving the
structure in a way that does make tools of analysis feasible. Some references
related to this include [ConST1, ConST2, DonS, RosW, Sul1, SulT, Tel1,
Tel2].
Some aspects of working on spaces without good coordinates came up in
Section 4. One could also consider “higher-order” versions of this, along the
lines of differential forms. We shall not pursue this here, but for a clear and
simple version of this, one can look at the case of Euclidean spaces with the
geometry deformed through a metric doubling measure (as in [DaviS1, Sem5,
Sem10]). Some points about this are explained in [Sem10], beginning near
the bottom of p427. (Compare also with [Sem8], concerning the possible
behavior of Euclidean spaces with geometry deformed by metric doubling
measures.)
In this appendix, we shall focus more on traditional objects from algebraic
topology, like homology and cohomology groups. In this setting, there is a
lot of structure around, concerning spaces which might be approximately like
119
manifolds, but not quite manifolds.
Let us begin with some basic conditions. Let M be a topological space
which is compact, Hausdorff, and metrizable. We shall assume that M has
finite topological dimension, in the sense of [HurW]. In these circumstances,
this is equivalent to saying that M is homeomorphic to a subset of some R
n
.
(See [HurW].)
For simplicity, let us imagine that M simply is a compact subset of some
R
n
. It is also convenient to ask that M be locally contractable. This means (as
in Subsubsection C.7.2) that for each point p ∈ M, and each neighborhood
U of p in M, there is a smaller neighborhood V ⊆ U of p in M such that V
can be contracted to a point in M.
As a class of examples, finite polyhedra are locally contractable. Finite
polyhedra make a nice special case to consider throughout this appendix,
and we shall return to it several times.
For another class of examples, one has cell-like quotients of topological
manifolds (and some locally contractable spaces more generally), at least
when the quotient spaces have finite topological dimension. See Corollary
12B on p129 of [Dave2]. (Cell-like quotients were discussed somewhat in
Appendix C, Subsections C.4 and C.6 in particular. Some concrete instances
of cell-like quotients are mentioned in these subsections, and [Dave2] provides
more examples and information.)
Although we shall mostly not emphasize metric structures or quantitative
aspects in the appendix, let us mention that cell-like quotients like these often
have natural and nice geometries, as indicated in Subsection C.7. These
geometries are quite different from those of finite polyhedra, but they can
also have some analogous properties. In particular, there can be forms of
self-similarity or scale-invariant boundedness of the geometry, and these can
be analogous to local conical structure in polyhedra in their effects. They
are not as strong or special, and they are also more flexible. In any case,
local contractability (and conditions like local linear contractability, in some
geometric settings) is a basic property to perhaps have.
As a general fact about local contractability, let us note the following.
Proposition D.1 Let M be a compact subset of some R
n
. Then M is locally
contractable if and only if there is a set V ⊆ R
n
which contains M in its
interior, and a continuous mapping r : V → M which is a retract, i.e.,
r(w) = w for all w ∈ V .
120
This is a fairly standard observation. The “if” part is an easy consequence
of the local contractability of R
n
(through linear mappings). I.e., to get local
contractions inside of M, one makes standard linear contractions in R
n
,
which normally do not stay inside M, and then one applies the retraction to
keep the contractions inside R
n
.
For the converse, one can begin by defining r on a discrete and reasonably-
thick set of points outside M, but near M. For such a point w, one could
choose r(w) ∈ M so that it lies as close to w as possible (among points in M),
or is at least approximately like this. To fill in r in the areas around these
discrete points, one can make extensions first to edges, then 2-dimensional
faces, and so on, up to dimension n. To make these extensions, one uses local
contractability of M. It is also important that the local extensions do not go
to far from the selections already made, so that r : V →M will be continuous
in the end, and this one can also get from the local contractability.
The notion of “Whitney decompositions”, as in Chapter VI of [Ste1], is
helpful for this kind of argument. It gives a way of decomposing R
n
`M into
cubes with disjoint interiors, and some other useful properties. (In particular,
this kind of decomposition can be helpful for keeping track of bounds, if one
should wish to do so.) One can use the vertices of these cubes for the discrete
set in the complement of M mentioned above.
See also [Dave2] for a proof of Proposition D.1, especially p117ff.
Let us return now to the general story. Suppose that M is a compact
subset of R
n
, and that M is locally contractable. Let r : V → M be a
continuous retraction on M, as in Proposition D.1. Thus V contains M in
its interior. By replacing V by a slightly smaller subset, if necessary, we may
assume that V is compact, and in fact that it is a finite union of dyadic cubes
in R
n
. (A dyadic cube in R
n
is one which can be represented as a Cartesian
product of intervals [j
i
2
−k
, (j
i
+ 1) 2
−k
], i = 1, 2, . . . , n, where the j
i
’s and k
are integers.)
This type of choice for V is convenient for having nice properties in terms
of homology and cohomology. In particular, V is then a finite complex. The
inclusion of M into V , and the mapping r : V → M, induce mappings be-
tween the homology and cohomology of M and V . If ι : M → V denotes the
mapping coming from inclusion, then r ◦ι : M → M is the identity mapping,
and thus it induces the identity mapping on the homology and cohomology
of M. Using this, one can see that the mapping from the homology of M into
the homology of V induced by ι is an injection (in addition to being a group
homomorphism, as usual), and that the mapping from the homology of V to
121
the homology of M induced by r is a surjection. This follows from standard
properties of homology and mappings, as in [Mas]. Similarly, r induces a
mapping from cohomology of M to cohomology of V which is injective, and
ι induces a mapping from cohomology of V into cohomology of M which is
surjective.
This provides a simple way in which the algebraic topology of M can
be “bounded”, under the type of assumptions on M that we are making.
(There are more refined things that one can also do, but we shall not worry
about this here.) Local contractability, and the existence of a retraction as
in Proposition D.1, are also nice for making it clear and easy to work with
continuous mappings into M. In particular, one can get continuous mappings
into M from continuous mappings into V , when one has a retraction r : V →
M, as above. This is as opposed to standard examples like the closure of the
graph of sin(1/x), x ∈ [−1, 1]`¦0¦. (This set is connected but not arcwise
connected.)
Now let us consider the following stronger conditions on M.
Definition D.2 (Generalized k-Manifolds) Let M be a compact subset
of R
n
which is locally contractable. Then M is a generalized k-manifold if
for every point z ∈ M, the relative homology H
j
(M, M`¦z¦) is the same (up
to isomorphism) as the relative homology of H
j
(R
k
, R
k
`¦0¦) for each j. (In
other words, H
j
(M, M`¦z¦) should be zero when j = k, and isomorphic to
Z when j = k.)
We are implicitly working with homology defined over the integers here,
and there are analogous notions with respect to other coefficient groups (like
rational numbers, for instance). One may also wish to use weaker conditions
than local contractability (as in [Bred2, Wild]). There are other natural
variations for this concept.
If M is a finite polyhedron, then the property of being a generalized
manifold is equivalent to asking that the links of M be homology spheres
(i.e., have the same homology as standard spheres, up to isomorphism) of
the right dimension. Such a polyhedron may not be a topological manifold
(in dimensions greater than or equal to 4), because the codimension-1 links
may not be simply-connected. (This is closely related to some of the topics
of Appendix C, and the condition (C.9) in Subsection C.3 in particular.)
Another class of examples comes from taking quotients of compact topo-
logical manifolds by cell-like decompositions (Subsections C.4 and C.6), at
122
least when the quotient space has finite topological dimension. See Corollary
1A on p191 of [Dave2] (and Corollary 12B on p129 there), and compare also
with Theorem 16.33 on p389 of [Bred2], and [Fer4]. As in Appendix C (es-
pecially Subsections C.4 and C.6) and the references therein, such spaces are
not always topological manifolds themselves, in dimensions 3 and higher. For
a concrete example of this, one can take the standard 3-sphere, and collapse
a copy of the Fox–Artin (wild) arc to a point. (Compare with [Fer4].) One
could also collapse a Whitehead continuum to a point (where Whitehead
continua are as in Subsection C.2), as in Subsection C.4. As in Appendix C,
the fact that these spaces are not manifolds can be seen in the nontriviality of
localized fundamental groups, i.e., fundamental groups of the complement of
the distinguished point (corresponding to the Fox–Artin curve or Whitehead
continuum), localized at that point. This is analogous to the possibility of
having codimension-1 links in polyhedra which are not simply-connected, as
in the previous paragraph.
As usual, dimensions 1 and 2 are special for generalized manifolds, which
are then topological manifolds. See [Wild], Theorem 16.32 on p388 of [Bred2],
and the introduction to [Fer4].
For more on ways that generalized manifolds can arise, see [Bor2, Bred2,
Bry+, Bry∗, Dave2, Fer4, Wei2] (and the references therein). A related topic
is the “recognition problem”, for determining when a topological space is
a topological manifold. This is also closely connected to the questions in
Appendix C. Some references for this include [Bry+, Bry∗, Can1, Can2,
Can3, Dave2, Edw2, Fer4, Wei2].
What are some properties of generalized manifolds? In what ways might
they be like manifolds? In particular, how might they be different from
compact sets in R
n
which are locally contractable in general?
A fundamental point is that Poincar´e duality (and other duality theorems
for manifolds) also work for generalized manifolds. See [Bor1, Bor2, Bred2,
Wild] and p277-278 of [Spa]. This is pretty good, since Poincar´e duality is
such a fundamental aspect of manifolds. (See [BotT, Bred1, Mas, MilS, Spa],
for instance.)
A more involved fact is that rational Pontrjagin classes can be defined for
generalized manifolds. (See the introduction to [Bry+].)
For smooth manifolds, the definition of the Pontrjagin classes is classical.
(See [BotT, MilS].) More precisely, one can define Pontrjagin classes for vec-
tor bundles in general, and then apply this to the tangent bundle of a smooth
manifold to get the Pontrjagin classes of a manifold. As integral cohomol-
123
ogy classes, the Pontrjagin classes are preserved by diffeomorphisms between
smooth manifolds, but not, in general, by homeomorphisms. However, a fa-
mous theorem of Novikov is that the Pontrjagin classes of smooth manifolds
are preserved as rational cohomology classes by homeomorphisms in general.
Further developments lead to the definition of rational characteristic classes
on more general spaces.
For finite polyhedra, there is an earlier treatment of rational Pontrjagin
classes, which goes back to work of Thom and Rohlin and Schwarz. See
Section 20 of [MilS]. More precisely, this gives a procedure by which to
define rational Pontrjagin classes for finite polyhedra which are generalized
manifolds, and which is invariant under piecewise-linear equivalence. (For
this, the generalized-manifold condition can be given in terms of rational
coefficients for the homology groups.) If one starts with a smooth manifold,
then there it can be converted to a piecewise-linear manifold (unique up to
equivalence) by earlier results, and the classical rational Pontrjagin classes
for the smooth manifold are the same as the ones that are obtained by the
procedure for polyhedral spaces. (See [MilS] for more information.)
The results mentioned above indicate some of the ways that generalized
manifolds are like ordinary manifolds. In particular, there is a large extent
to which one can work with them, including making computations or mea-
surements on them, in ways that are similar to those for ordinary manifolds.
This is pretty good! This is especially nice given the troubles that can
come with homeomorphisms, as in Section 3 and Appendix C. I.e., homeo-
morphisms can be difficult to get or have, to begin with; even if they exist,
they may necessarily be irregular, as in the case of double-suspensions of ho-
mology spheres [SieS], manifold factors (Subsection C.5), some other classical
decomposition spaces (Subsections C.6, and C.7), and homeomorphisms be-
tween 4-dimensional manifolds (see [DonK, DonS, Fre, FreQ]); even if home-
omorphisms exist and are of a good regularity class, their complexity may
have to be very large, as in Section 3 and the results in [BooHP].
In the case of finite polyhedra, the condition of being a generalized man-
ifold involves looking at the homology groups of the links (as mentioned
before), and this is something which behaves in a fairly nice and stable way.
Compare with Appendix E. By contrast, the property of being a manifold
involves the fundamental groups of the links (at least in codimension 1 for
having topological manifolds), and this is much more complicated. We have
run into this already, in Section 3.
More generally, we have also seen in Appendix C how conditions related
124
to localized fundamental groups can arise, in connection with the existence
of homeomorphisms and local coordinates. This includes the vanishing of
π
1
in some punctured neighborhoods of points in topological manifolds of
dimension at least 3. With generalized manifolds, one has certain types of
special structure, but one does not necessarily have localized π
1
conditions
like these. This gives a lot of simplicity and stableness, as well as flexibility.
E Some simple facts related to homology
Let P be a finite polyhedron, which we shall think of as being presented
to us as a finite simplicial complex. Fix a positive integer k, and imagine
that one is interested in knowing whether the homology H
k
(P) of P (with
coefficients in Z) is 0 in dimension k. This is a question that can be decided
by an algorithm, unlike the vanishing of the fundamental group. This fact
is standard and elementary, but not necessarily too familiar in all quarters.
It came up in Section 3, and, for the sake of completeness, a proof will be
described here. (Part of the point is to make it clear that there are no hidden
surprises that are too complicated. We shall also try to keep the discussion
elementary and direct, with a minimum of machinery involved.)
The first main point is that it suffices to consider simplicial homology of
P, rather than something more general and elaborate (like singular homol-
ogy). This puts strong limits on the type of objects with which one works.
By contrast, note that the higher homotopy groups of a finite complex need
not be finitely-generated. See Example 17 on p509 of [Spa]. This is true, but
quite nontrivial, for simply-connected spaces. See Corollary 16 on p509 of
[Spa].
Let us begin by considering the case of homology with coefficients in the
rational numbers, rather than the integers. In this situation the homology is
a vector space over Q, and this permits the solution of the problem through
means of linear algebra. To be explicit, one can think of the vanishing of
the homology in dimension k in the following terms. One starts with the
set of k-dimensional chains in P (with coefficients in Q), which is the set
of formal sums of oriented k-dimensional simplices with coefficients in Q.
This is a vector space, and multiplication by −1 is identified with reversing
orientations on the simplices. The set of k-dimensional cycles then consists
of k-dimensional chains with “boundary” equal to 0. This can be described
by a finite set of linear equations in our vector space of k-dimensional chains.
125
The set of k-dimensional boundaries consist of k-dimensional chains which
are themselves boundaries of (k + 1)-dimensional chains. This is the same
as taking the span of the boundaries of (k + 1)-dimensional simplices in P,
a finite set. Chains which are boundaries are automatically cycles, and the
vanishing of the k-dimensional homology of P (with coefficients in Q) is
equivalent to the equality of the vector space of cycles with the vector space
of boundaries. The problem of deciding whether this equality holds can be
reduced to computations of determinants, for instance, and one can use other
elementary techniques from linear algebra too.
In working with integer coefficients, one has the same basic definitions of
chains, cycles, and boundaries, but now with coefficients in Z rather than
Q. The spaces of chains, cycles, and boundaries are now abelian groups, and
the equations describing cycles and boundaries make sense in this context.
“Abelian” is a key word here, and a crucial difference between this and the
fundamental group. Homotopy groups π
j
in dimensions j ≥ 2 are always
abelian too, but they do not come with such a simple presentation.
Let us be more explicit again. The space of k-dimensional chains in P,
now with integer coefficients, is a free abelian group, generated by the k-
dimensional simplices in P. One can think of it as being realized concretely
by Z
r
, where r is the number of k-dimensional simplices in P.
The set of cycles among the chains is defined by a finite number of linear
equations, as above. That is, the cycles z ∈ Z
r
are determined by finitely
many equations of the form
a
1
z
1
+ a
2
z
2
+ + a
r
z
r
= 0, z = (z
1
, z
2
, . . . , z
r
) ∈ Z
r
, (E.1)
where the a
i
’s are themselves integers. In fact, for the equations which ac-
tually arise in this situation, the a
i
’s are always either 0, 1, or −1. It will be
useful, though, to allow for general vectors (a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
r
) in this discussion,
and our computations will lead us to that anyway.
We begin with an observation about sets of vectors in Z
r
defined by a
single homogeneous linear equation (with integer coefficients).
Lemma E.2 Let r be a positive integer, and let a = (a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
r
) be a
vector of integers. Set
C
a
= ¦z ∈ Z
r
: a
1
z
1
+ a
2
z
2
+ + a
r
z
r
= 0¦. (E.3)
Then there is a group homomorphism φ
a
: Z
r
→ Z
r
such that φ
a
(Z
r
) =
C
a
and φ
a
(z) = z when z ∈ C
a
. This homomorphism can be effectively
constructed given r and a.
126
Let us prove Lemma E.2. Let r and a be given, as above. We may as
well assume that the a is not the zero vector, since if it were, C
a
would be
all of Z
r
, and we could take φ
a
to be the identity mapping.
We may also assume that the components a
i
of a are not all divisible by
an integer different from 1 or −1, since we can always cancel out common
factors from the a
i
’s without changing C
a
.
Sublemma E.4 Under these conditions (a is not the zero vector, and no
integers divide all of the components of a except ±1), there exists a vector
b = (b
1
, b
2
, . . . , b
r
) of integers such that
a
1
b
1
+ a
2
b
2
+ + a
r
b
r
= 1. (E.5)
A choice of b can be constructed effectively given a.
The r = 2 version of this is solved by the well known “Euclidean al-
gorithm”. It is more commonly formulated as saying that if one has two
nonzero integers c and d, then one can find integers e and f such that ce+df
is equal to the (positive) greatest common divisor of c and d. This can be
proved using the more elementary “division algorithm”, to the effect that if
m and n are positive integers, with m < n, then one can write n as jm + i,
where j is a positive integer and 0 ≤ i < m.
For general r one can reduce to the r = 2 case using induction, for
instance. This is not hard to do, and we omit the details. (We should
perhaps say also that the r = 1 case makes sense, and is immediate, i.e., a
1
has to be ±1.)
Let us return now to Lemma E.2. Given any z ∈ Z
r
, write z a for
z
1
c
1
+ z
2
c
2
+ + z
r
c
r
. Define φ
a
: Z
r
→ Z
r
by putting
φ
a
(z) = z −(z a) b, (E.6)
where b is chosen as in Sublemma E.4. This is clearly a group homomorphism
(with respect to addition). If z lies in C
a
, then z a = 0, and φ
a
(z) = z. In
particular, φ
a
(Z
r
) ⊇ C
a
. On the other hand, if z is any element of Z
r
, then
φ
a
(z) a = z a −(z a)(b a), (E.7)
and this is equal to 0, by (E.5). Thus φ
a
(z) ∈ C
a
for all z ∈ Z
r
, so that
φ
a
(Z
r
) ⊆ C
a
too. This proves Lemma E.2.
Next we consider the situation of sets in Z
r
defined by multiple linear
equations (with linear coefficients).
127
Lemma E.8 Let a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p
be a collection of vectors in Z
r
, and define
C ⊆ Z
r
by
C = ¦z ∈ Z
r
: a
i
z = 0 for i = 1, 2, . . . , p¦. (E.9)
Then there is a group homomorphism ψ : Z
r
→Z
r
such that ψ(Z
r
) = C and
ψ(z) = z when z ∈ C. This homomorphism can be effectively constructed
given r and the vectors a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p
.
To prove this, we use induction, on p. The point is basically to iterate
the construction of Lemma E.2, but one has to be a bit careful not to disrupt
the previous work with the new additions.
When p = 1, Lemma E.8 is the same as Lemma E.2. Now suppose that
we know Lemma E.8 for some value of p, and that we want to verify it for
p + 1.
Let a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p+1
be a collection of vectors in Z
r
, and let C
p+1
denote
the set of vectors z ∈ Z
r
which satisfy a
i
z = 0 for i = 1, 2, . . . , p + 1, as
in (E.9). Similarly, let C
p
denote the set of z ∈ Z
r
such that a
i
z = 0
when 1 ≤ i ≤ p. Our induction hypothesis implies that there is a group
homomorphism ψ
p
: Z
r
→ Z
r
such that ψ
p
(Z
r
) = C
p
and ψ
p
(z) = z when
z ∈ C
p
, and which can be effectively constructed given r and a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p
.
We want to produce a similar homomorphism ψ
p+1
for C
p+1
.
The basic idea is to apply Lemma E.2 to the vector a
p+1
. This does not
quite work, and so we first modify a
p+1
to get a vector which has practically
the same effect as a
p+1
for defining C
p+1
, and which is in a more convenient
form.
Specifically, let α be the vector in Z
r
such that
α z = a
p+1
ψ
p
(z) for all z ∈ Z
r
. (E.10)
It is easy to compute α given a
p+1
and ψ
p
. One can also describe α as the
vector which results by applying the transpose of ψ
p
to a
p+1
.
For our purposes, the main properties of α are as follows. First,
α z = a
p+1
z when z ∈ C
p
. (E.11)
This is a consequence of (E.10) and the fact that ψ
p
(z) = z when z ∈ C
p
.
Second,
α ψ
p
(z) = α z for all z ∈ Z
r
. (E.12)
128
To see this, note that ψ
p

p
(z)) = ψ
p
(z) for all z, since ψ
p
maps Z
r
into C
p
and ψ
p
is equal to the identity on C
p
, by construction. This and (E.10) give
(E.12).
Because of (E.11), we have that
C
p+1
= ¦z ∈ C
p
: α z = 0¦. (E.13)
That is, C
p+1
= ¦z ∈ C
p
: a
p+1
z = 0¦, by the definition of C
p+1
and C
p
,
and then (E.13) follows from this and (E.11).
If α = 0, then C
p+1
= C
p
, and we can stop here. That is, we can use ψ
p
for ψ
p+1
. Thus we assume instead that α is not the zero vector.
Let α

denote the vector in Z
r
obtained from α by eliminating all common
factors of the components of α which are positive integers greater than 1. In
particular, α is a positive integer multiple of α

. From (E.12) and (E.13), we
get that
α

ψ
p
(z) = α

z for all z ∈ Z
r
(E.14)
and
C
p+1
= ¦z ∈ C
p
: α

z = 0¦. (E.15)
Now let us apply Sublemma E.4 to obtain a vector β

∈ Z
r
such that
α

β

= 1. (E.16)
Put β

= ψ
p

). Then
α

β

= 1, (E.17)
because of (E.14). Also, β

lies in C
p
, since ψ
p
maps Z
r
into C
p
. (It was for
this purpose that we have made the above modifications to a
p+1
, i.e., to get
β

∈ C
p
.)
Now that we have all of this, we can proceed exactly as in the proof of
Lemma E.2. Specifically, define φ

: Z
r
→ Z
r
by
φ

(z) = z −(z α

) β

. (E.18)
A key point is that
φ

(C
p
) ⊆ C
p
, (E.19)
which holds since β

∈ C
p
, as mentioned above. Also,
φ

(z) α

= 0 for all z ∈ z
r
, (E.20)
129
because of (E.17) and the definition (E.18) of φ

(z). From this and (E.19) it
follows that
φ

(C
p
) ⊆ C
p+1
, (E.21)
using also (E.15).
On the other hand,
φ

(z) = z whenever z ∈ Z
r
, z α

= 0 (E.22)
(by the definition (E.18) of φ

). In particular, φ

(z) = z when z ∈ C
p+1
(using (E.15) again). Combining this with (E.21), we get that
φ

(C
p
) = C
p+1
. (E.23)
Now we are almost finished with the proof. Define ψ
p+1
: Z
r
→ Z
r
by
ψ
p+1
= φ

◦ ψ
p
. This defines a group homomorphism (with respect to the
usual addition of vectors), since ψ
p
and φ

are group homomorphisms. We
also have that
ψ
p+1
(Z
r
) = C
p+1
; (E.24)
this follows from (E.23) and the fact that ψ
p
(Z
r
) = C
p
, which was part of
our “induction hypothesis” on ψ
p
.
Let us verify that
ψ
p+1
(z) = z whenever z ∈ C
p+1
. (E.25)
If z ∈ C
p+1
, then z ∈ C
p
in particular. This implies that ψ
p
(z) = z, again
by our “induction hypothesis” for ψ
p
. Thus ψ
p+1
(z) = φ

(z) in this case. We
also have that φ

(z) = z if z ∈ C
p+1
, because of (E.22) (and (E.15)). This
gives (E.25), as desired.
It is easy to see from this construction that ψ
p+1
is effectively computable
from the knowledge of r and a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p+1
, given the corresponding asser-
tion for ψ
p
. Thus ψ
p+1
has all the required properties. This completes the
proof of Lemma E.8.
Now let us return to the original question, about determining whether the
integral homology of a given finite complex vanishes in a given dimension.
We can put this into a purely algebraic form, as follows. Suppose that a
positive integer r is given, as well as two finite collections of vectors in Z
r
,
a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p
, and d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
. Given this data, the problem asks,
is it true that for every z ∈ Z
r
which satisfies a
i
z = 0 (E.26)
for all i = 1, 2, . . . , p, there exist λ
1
, λ
2
, . . . , λ
q
∈ Z
such that z = λ
1
d
1
+ λ
2
d
2
+ + λ
q
d
q
?
130
The question of vanishing of homology is of this form, and so an effective
procedure for determining an answer of “yes” or “no” to (E.26) also provides
a way to decide whether the homology of a given finite complex vanishes in
a given dimension.
Let us use Lemma E.8 to reduce (E.26) to a simpler problem, as follows.
Let r ∈ Z
+
and d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
∈ Z
r
be given, and also another vector z ∈ Z
r
.
Given this data, the new problem asks,
is it true that there exist λ
1
, λ
2
, . . . , λ
q
∈ Z (E.27)
such that z = λ
1
d
1
+ λ
2
d
2
+ + λ
q
d
q
?
To show that (E.26) can be reduced to (E.27), let us first mention an auxiliary
observation.
Suppose that vectors a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p
in Z
r
are given. Consider the set
C = ¦w ∈ Z
r
: a
i
w = 0 for i = 1, 2, . . . , p¦. (E.28)
Then there is a finite collection of vectors z
j
∈ C which generate C (as an
abelian group), and which can be obtained through an effective procedure
(given r and a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p
). This follows from Lemma E.8. Specifically,
for the z
j
’s one can take ψ
p
(e
j
), 1 ≤ j ≤ r, where ψ
p
: Z
r
→ Z
r
is the
homomorphism provided by Lemma E.8, and e
j
is the jth standard basis
vector in Z
r
, i.e., the vector whose jth component is 1 and whose other
components are 0. From Lemma E.8, we know that ψ
p
maps Z
r
onto C, and
that ψ
p
can be effectively produced given r and a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
p
. This implies
that z
j
= ψ
p
(e
j
), 1 ≤ j ≤ r, generate C and can be effectively produced as
well. (One might analyze this further to reduce the number of vectors in the
generating set, but this is not needed for the present purposes.)
Thus, in order to determine the answer to the question in (E.26), one can
first apply this observation to produce a finite set of generators z
j
for C as
in (E.28). An answer of “yes” for the question in (E.26) is then equivalent to
having an answer of “yes” for the question in (E.27) for each z
j
(in the role
of z in (E.27)). In this way, we see that an algorithm for deciding the answer
to (E.27) gives rise to an algorithm for determining the answer to (E.26).
Now let us consider (E.27). Imagine that r, q ∈ Z
r
and d

∈ Z
r
, 1 ≤ ≤ q,
are given. We want to know if there is a vector λ ∈ Z
q
, λ = (λ
1
, λ
2
, . . . , λ
q
),
such that
z = λ
1
d
1
+ λ
2
d
2
+ + λ
q
d
q
. (E.29)
131
Let us rewrite this as
z
i
= λ
1
d
1
i
+ λ
2
d
2
i
+ + λ
q
d
q
i
for i = 1, 2, . . . , r, (E.30)
where z
i
, d

i
, 1 ≤ i ≤ r, denote the ith components of z, d

, respectively.
Define vectors δ
i
∈ Z
q
by δ
i
j
= d
j
i
for j = 1, 2, . . . , q. With this use of
“transpose” we can rewrite (E.30) as
z
i
= λ δ
i
for i = 1, 2, . . . , r. (E.31)
Here “” denotes the usual dot product for vectors, although now for vectors
in Z
q
, rather than Z
r
, as before.
With (E.31), we are in a somewhat similar situation as we have considered
before, but with inhomogeneous equations rather than homogeneous ones.
Note that for the inhomogeneous equations there can be issues of torsion,
i.e., it may be that no solution λ ∈ Z
q
to (E.31) exists, but a solution does
exist if one replaces z
i
with nz
i
for some positive integer n.
We want to have an effective procedure for deciding when a vector λ ∈
Z
q
exists which provides a solution to (E.31). To do this, we shall try to
systematically reduce the number of equations involved. Consider first the
equation with i = 1, i.e.,
z
1
= λ δ
1
. (E.32)
If there is no λ ∈ Z
q
which satisfies this single equation, then there is no
solution for the system (E.31) either. If there are solutions to this equation,
then we can try to analyze the remaining equations on the set of λ’s which
satisfy this equation.
In fact it is easy to say exactly when there is a λ ∈ Z
q
which satisfies
(E.32). A necessary condition is that z
1
be divisible by all nonzero integers
that divide each component δ
1
j
, 1 ≤ j ≤ q, of δ
1
. (If z
1
or some δ
1
j
is 0, then it
is divisible by all integers.) This necessary condition is also sufficient, because
of Sublemma E.4. The validity or not of this condition can be determined
effectively, and, when the condition holds, a particular solution
¯
λ of (E.32)
can be produced effectively from the knowledge of z
1
and δ
1
, because of
Sublemma E.4.
If no solution to (E.32) exists in Z
q
, then one can simply stop, as the
answer to the question of the existence of a solution to the system (E.31) is
then known to be “no”. Let us suppose therefore that there is at least one
solution to (E.32). As in the preceding paragraph, this means that there is
a solution
¯
λ which can be effectively computed from the data.
132
Set L
1
= ¦λ ∈ Z
q
: z
1
= λ δ
1
¦. The existence of a solution λ ∈ Z
q
to
the original system of equations in (E.31) is equivalent to the existence of a
λ ∈ L
1
which satisfies
z
i
= λ δ
i
for i = 2, . . . , r. (E.33)
Thus we have reduced the number of equations involved, at the cost of having
a possibly more complicated set of λ’s as admissible competitors.
However, we can rewrite L
1
as
L
1
= ¦λ ∈ Z
q
: (λ −
¯
λ) δ
1
= 0¦. (E.34)
Set L

1
= ¦τ ∈ Z
r
: τ δ
1
= 0¦. We can reformulate the question of whether
there is a λ ∈ L
1
such that (E.33) holds as asking whether there is a τ ∈ L

1
such that
z
i
+
¯
λ δ
i
= τ δ
i
for i = 2, . . . , r. (E.35)
In other words, we can make a change of variables and modify the equa-
tions slightly so that the set L

1
in which we look for solutions is defined
by a homogeneous equation. This permits us to apply Lemma E.2 (with r
replaced by q) to get a homomorphism φ : Z
q
→ Z
q
such that φ(Z
q
) = L

1
.
Using this, our question now becomes the following:
does there exist ξ ∈ Z
q
such that (E.36)
z
i
+
¯
λ δ
i
= φ(ξ) δ
i
for i = 2, . . . , r?
This is equivalent to the earlier question, because the set of vectors τ ∈ Z
q
which lie in L

1
is the same as the set of vectors of the form φ(ξ), where ξ is
allowed to be any element of Z
q
.
From Lemma E.2 we know that φ can be effectively computed from the
knowledge of q and δ
1
. By making straightforward substitutions, we can
rewrite the equations in (E.36) as
´ z
i
= ξ
´
δ
i
for i = 2, . . . , r, (E.37)
where the integers ´ z
i
and vectors
´
δ
i
can be computed in terms of the original
z
i
’s and δ
i
’s,
¯
λ, and φ. In particular, they can be computed effectively in
terms of the original data in the problem.
133
Thus we are back to the same kind of problem as we started with, asking
about the existence of a vector in Z
q
which satisfies a family of inhomoge-
neous linear equations. However, now we have reduced the number of equa-
tions by 1. By repeating the process, we can reduce to the case of a single
inhomogeneous equation, which we know how to solve (as we saw before).
This shows that there is an effective method to determine the answer to
the question in (E.27). As indicated earlier, this also gives a method for
deciding the answer to the question in (E.26), and to the original problem
about vanishing of homology in a finite complex.
Let us briefly mention a cruder and more naive approach to (E.27). If
the answer to (E.27) is “yes”, then it means that there do exist integers
λ
1
, λ
2
, . . . , λ
q
which satisfy z = λ
1
d
1
+ + λ
q
d
q
. To look for an answer
of “yes” to (E.27), one can simply start searching among all vectors λ =

1
, λ
2
, . . . , λ
q
) in Z
q
, stopping one finds a λ which satisfies the equation
above.
If the answer to the question in (E.27) is “no”, then this search will not
produce an answer in a finite amount of time. However, in this case one
can make a “dual” search to find a reason for the vector z not to be in the
subgroup of Z
r
generated by d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
, a reason which can also be found
in finite time, when it exists. Specifically, z does not lie in the subgroup
of Z
r
generated by d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
if and only if there is a homomorphism
σ : Z
r
→Q/Z such that σ(d
j
) = 0 for each j but σ(z) = 0. We shall explain
why this is true in a moment, but first let us notice how this “reason” for an
answer of “no” does fit our purpose.
A homomorphism σ : Z
r
→ Q/Z can be described by r elements of Q/Z,
i.e., the values of σ on the r standard basis vectors in Z
r
. Any elements
of Q/Z can be used here, and elements of Q/Z can be described in finite
terms, i.e., by pairs of integers. The conditions σ(d
j
) = 0, 1 ≤ j ≤ q, and
σ(z) = 0, can be verified in finite time in a straightforward manner. Thus, if
a σ : Z
r
→ Q/Z exists with these properties, then it can be found in a finite
amount of time, through an exhaustive search.
If no such σ exists, then this exhaustive search will not stop in finite time.
However, the exhaustive search for the λ’s will stop in a finite time in this
case. Thus one can run the two searches in parallel, and stop whenever one
of them stops. One of the two searches will always stop in a finite amount
of time, and thereby give an answer of “yes” or “no” to the original question
(about whether z lies in the subgroup of Z
r
generated by d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
).
Although naive, this argument fits nicely with what happens for the prob-
134
lem of deciding whether the fundamental group of a finite complex is trivial.
When the answer is “yes”, one can find this out in finite time, again through
exhaustive searches. In algebraic terms, one searches for realizations of the
generators of the fundamental group as trivial words, using the relations for
the fundamental group which can be read off from the given complex. In
general there is no finite test for the nontriviality of words, however, and
indeed the original question is not algorithmically decidable.
In some cases, one might have extra information which does allow for
effective tests for answers of “no”, and abelian groups are a very special
instance of this.
Let us come back now to the assertion above, that z ∈ Z
r
does not lie
in the subgroup generated by d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
∈ Z
r
if and only if there is a
homomorphism σ : Z
r
→ Q/Z such that σ(d
j
) = 0 for j = 1, 2, . . . , q and
σ(z) = 0. Of course this is closely analogous to familiar statements about
vectors in a vector space and linear mappings into the ground field.
The “if” part of the statement above is immediate, and so it suffices
to consider the “only if” part. Thus we assume that z does not lie in the
subgroup generated by the d
j
’s, and we want to find a homomorphism σ :
Z
r
→ Q/Z with the required properties.
We begin by setting σ to be 0 on the subgroup generated by d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
.
For σ(z) we have to be slightly careful. If there is a positive integer n such
that nz lies in the subgroup generated by d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
, then we need to
choose σ(z) so that nσ(z) = 0. If no such n exists, take σ(z) to be the
element of Q/Z corresponding to 1/2 ∈ Q. If such an n does exist, let n
0
be
the smallest positive integer with that property. Thus n
0
> 1, since z itself
does not lie in the subgroup generated by the d
j
’s. In this case we take σ(z)
to be the element of Q/Z which corresponds to 1/n
0
. This element is not 0,
since n
0
> 1, but σ(n
0
z) is then 0 in Q/Z.
We now extend σ to the subgroup generated by z and the d
j
’s, in the
obvious way (so that σ is a homomorphism). One should be a bit careful
here too, i.e., that this can be done in a consistent manner, so that σ really is
well-defined on the subgroup generated by z and the d
j
’s. This comes down
to the fact that if n is an integer such that nz lies in the subgroup generated
by d
1
, d
2
, . . . , d
q
, then n should be divisible by n
0
, which ensures that σ(nz)
is equal to 0 in Q/Z. These things are not hard to check.
Now we simply want to extend σ to all of Z
r
, in such a way that it is
still a homomorphism into Q/Z. This is not difficult to do; for a general
assertion along these lines, see Theorem 4.2 on p312 of [Mas]. The main
135
point is that Q/Z is divisible, which means that for each element x of Q/Z
and each nonzero integer m, there is a y ∈ Q/Z such that my = x. In order
to extend σ to all of Z
r
, one can extend it to new elements one at a time,
and to the subgroups that they generate together with the subgroup of Z
r
on which σ is already defined. The divisibility property of Q/Z guarantees
that there are always values available in Q/Z by which to make well-defined
extensions. That is, if σ is already defined on some subgroup H of Z
r
, and
w is an element in Z
r
not in H, then there is always a point in Q/Z to use
as the value of σ at w. This is not a problem if nw does not lie in H for
any nonzero integer n — in which case one could just as well take σ(w) = 0
— but if nw ∈ H for some nonzero n, then one has to choose σ(w) so that
nσ(w) is equal to σ(nw), where the latter is already been determined by the
definition of σ on H.
By repeating this process, one can eventually extend σ so that it becomes
a homomorphism from all of Z
r
into Q/Z. For instance, one can apply this
process to the standard basis vectors in Z
r
, at least when they are not already
included in the subgroup of Z
r
on which σ has already been defined (at the
given stage of the construction). In the end one obtains a homomorphism
σ : Z
r
→Q/Z such that σ(d
j
) = 0 for 1 ≤ j ≤ q and σ(z) = 0, as desired.
136
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B Mappings with branching C More on existence and behavior of homeomorphisms C.1 Wildness and tameness phenomena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.2 Contractable open sets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.2.1 Some positive results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.2.2 Ends of manifolds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.3 Interlude: looking at infinity, or looking near a point . . . . C.4 Decomposition spaces, 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.4.1 Cellularity, and the cellularity criterion . . . . . . . . C.5 Manifold factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.6 Decomposition spaces, 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.7 Geometric structures for decomposition spaces . . . . . . . . C.7.1 A basic class of constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.7.2 Comparisons between geometric and topological properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.7.3 Quotient spaces can be topologically standard, but geometrically tricky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.7.4 Examples that are even simpler topologically, but still nontrivial geometrically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.8 Geometric and analytic results about the existence of good coordinates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.8.1 Special coordinates that one might consider in other dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.9 Nonlinear similarity: Another class of examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

56 59 59 63 67 72 72 75 81 84 86 89 89

. 94 . 96 . 105 . 109 . 113 . 118

D Doing pretty well with spaces which may not have nice coordinates 118 E Some simple facts related to homology 125

References

137

2

1

Mappings and distortion

A very basic mechanism for controlling geometric complexity is to limit the way that distances can be distorted by a mapping. If distances are distorted by only a small amount, then one might think of the mapping as being approximately “flat”. Let us look more closely at this, and see what actually happens. Let δ be a small positive number, and let f be a mapping from the Euclidean plane R2 to itself. Given two points x, y ∈ R2, let |x − y| denote the usual Euclidean distance between them. We shall assume that (1.1) (1 + δ)−1 |x − y| ≤ |f (x) − f (y)| ≤ (1 + δ) |x − y|

for all x, y ∈ R2. This says exactly that f does not ever shrink or expand distances by more than a factor of 1 + δ. What does this really mean about the behavior of f ? A first point is that if δ were equal to 0, so that f does not distort distances at all, then f would have to be a “rigid” mapping. This means that f could be expressed as (1.2) f (x) = A(x) + b,

where b is an element of R2 and A is a linear mapping on R2 which is either a rotation or a combination of a rotation and a reflection. This is well known, and it is not hard to prove. For instance, it is not hard to show that the assumption that f preserve distances implies that f takes lines to lines, and that it preserve angles, and from there it is not hard to see that f must be of the form (1.2) as above. If δ is not equal to zero, then one would like to say that f is approximately equal to a rigid mapping when δ is small enough. Here is a precise statement. Let D be a (closed) disk of radius r in the plane. This means that there is a point w ∈ R2 such that (1.3) D = {x ∈ R2 : |x − w| ≤ r}. Then there is a rigid mapping T : R2 → R2 , depending on D and f , such that (1.4) r−1 sup |f (x) − T (x)| ≤ small(δ),
x∈D

where small(δ) depends only on δ, and not on D or f , and has the property that (1.5) small(δ) → 0 as δ → 0. 3

then (1. (In some related but different contexts. Fix a nonnegative number k. while explicit arguments and estimates are less clear. and ask whether this mechanism gives everything. The approximation condition (1. This kind of approximation by rigid mappings is pretty good. because Lipschitz mappings need not be differentiable everywhere. There are also abstract and inexplicit methods. rotation.4) may not make sense at first glance.4) into a dimensionless quantity. rather than just the mappings themselves? Here is another way to think about this. or reflection. and call a mapping g : R2 → R2 is k-Lipschitz if (1.1) does. Let us consider a simple mechanism by which mappings that satisfy (1. this can be fairly easy or manageable. y ∈ R2. In other words. and indispensable. Specifically. and if the norm of its differential is bounded by k everywhere. if a is any positive number. if g is differentiable at every point in R2 . and the same is true if we make simultaneous dilations on both the domain and the range of equal amounts. however.7) |g(x) − g(y)| ≤ k |x − y| for all x.4) is formulated in such a way as to respect the same kind of invariances as (1.1) exactly when f does. Nothing changes here if we compose f (on either side) with a translation.7) holds. One can give direct constructive arguments. one can derive explicit bounds for small(δ) in terms of δ. more directly in terms of distance geometry. They 4 . In particular. in which one argues by contradiction using compactness and the Arzela–Ascoli theorem. just as δ is dimensionless. It reflects the natural scaling of the problem. and the factor of r −1 accounts for the dilation-invariance. then fa satisfies (1. through basic geometric considerations or computations. but it is absolutely on target.There are a number of ways to look at this.) The presence of the factor of r −1 on the left side of (1.1) can be produced.6) fa (x) = a−1 f (ax). Results of this kind are given in [Joh]. and converts the left-hand side of (1. and if we define fa : R2 → R2 by (1. One can view this in terms of the natural invariances of the problem. This condition is roughly equivalent to saying that the differential of g has norm less than or equal to k everywhere. The converse is not quite true. and this can be derived from the mean value theorem. but can we do better? Is it possible that the approximation works at the level of the derivatives of the mappings.

where S is a rigid mapping and g is k-Lipschitz with a reasonably-small value of k.8) provides a good approximation to f (y) for y near x. Let x be some point in R2.) To get a proper equivalence one can consider derivatives in the sense of distributions. one can take δ = (1 − k)−1 − 1.. Sem12].e. and say that if f satisfies (1. in the sense that (1. i. The simple method of the preceding paragraph implies that dfx is always close to being a rotation or a rotation composed with a reflection. To what extent can one go in the opposite direction. but a priori the choice 5 . This might sound pretty good. (More precisely. and with easy and explicit estimates for the degree of approximation.4) is. where S is a rigid mapping and g is k-Lipschitz. It is not hard to check that dfx . When k is small.10) dfx (v) = lim t−1 (f (x + tv) − f (x)). and f (x) + dfx (y − x) (1.) This is not hard to check. as a mapping on R2 (with x fixed).9) |f (y) − {f (x) + dfx (y − x)}| = o(|y − x|). Thus dfx is a linear mapping from R2 to itself. then f satisfies (1. and if k ≤ 1/2 (say).1) with δ = 2k. then f can be approximated by rigid mappings in this stronger sense? Let us begin by looking at what happens with the differential of f at individual points. independent of x.1) when f does. t→0 with t taken from positive real numbers. and assume that the differential dfx of f at x exists. If f = S + g. in the sense of Lebesgue measure. In particular. standard arguments from linear algebra imply that it is close to a rotation or to the composition of a rotation and a reflection when δ is small. it implies that the differential of f is uniformly close to the differential of S.1) with δ small. this is a much stronger kind of approximation of f by rigid mappings than (1. Because the differential is already linear.are differentiable almost everywhere. This corresponds to the formula (1. but it is actually much weaker than something like a representation of f as S + g. (See [Fed. Ste1. One can also think of the differential as the map obtained from f by “blowing up” at x. automatically satisfies (1. then it means that the differential dfx of f is always close to the differential of S. If there is a representation of this type. which is constant.

Here is an example which shows how this sort of phenomenon can happen. It is not hard to verify that this construction leads to a mapping f that satisfies (1. i. We do not use a single rotation for the whole plane. but nonetheless it does wrap around the origin infinitely often in every neighborhood of the origin. then T provides a good approximation to f on D in the sense of (1. with a δ that goes to 0 when does. That is very different from saying that there is a single linear mapping that works for every x. despite the fact that the formula for the angle degenerates there.1). If is small (which is necessary in order for the δ to be small in (1.e. This spiralling is not incompatible with the kind of approximation by rigid mappings in (1. Thus f maps each circle centered at the origin to itself. In fact. and at an easily computable (linear) rate. Of course f should also take the origin to itself.4) fails when we get too close to the origin (as compared to the radius of D). (See also [Joh]. This has the effect of transforming every line through the origin into a logarithmic spiral. This spiral is very “flat” when is small. For if f did admit such a representation. This gives an example of a mapping that cannot be represented as S + g with S rigid and g k-Lipschitz for a fairly small value of k (namely. but this is not the case. then (1. The spirals that we get can never be realized as a graph of a function over any line. Let T be the rotation on R2 that agrees with f on the boundary of D. and on each such circle f acts by a rotation. which is the worst-case scenario anyway. T provides a good approximation to f at the level of their derivatives too on most of D. as above. but instead let the rotation depend logarithmically on the radius.1)). This is not hard to check.11) f (x) has polar coordinates (r. Let us consider the case where D is a disk centered at the origin. it would not be able to transform lines into curves that spiral around a fixed point infinitely often.of such a linear mapping could depend on x in a strong way.. instead it would take a line L to a curve Γ which can be realized as the graph of a function over the line S(L).4). One might think that (1. so that a point z in R2 is represented by a radius r ≥ 0 and an angle θ. θ + log r). Here is a small positive number that we get to choose.) Let us work in polar coordinates. We define f : R2 → R2 by saying that if x is described by the polar coordinates (r. on the complement of a 6 . θ). k < 1).4).

1). and we think of dfx − dT as a matrix-valued function of x. D where small (δ) is. one can ask only that the differential of f be approximated by the differential of T on average. John’s result of exponential decay is about the next best thing. The inequality (1. with dfx − dT denoting its norm (in any reasonable sense). because f and T both take points near the origin to points near the origin.small neighborhood of the origin.12) 1 πr2 dfx − dT dx ≤ small (δ). Notice that uniform approximation of the differential of f by the differential of T would correspond to a statement like (1. 7 . Here “probability” means Lebesgue measure divided by πr2 .15) P (λ) = 0 for all λ larger than some fixed (universal) constant. a positive quantity which depends only on δ (and not on f or D) and which tends to 0 when δ tends to 0.14) P (λ) ≤ λ for all λ > 0. as in (1. This was proved by John [Joh] (with concrete estimates). This example suggests another kind of approximation by rigid mappings that might be possible. as before. In other words. which is not true in general. one would like to have a rigid mapping T on R2 so that (1. instead of asking that the differential of f be approximated uniformly by the differential of a rigid mapping. which is the total measure of the disk D.12) implies that 1 (1. The approximation of derivatives breaks down near the origin. where λ is a positive real number. and also so that (1. Given a disk D of radius r and a mapping f that satisfies (1. This does work. Here dx refers to the ordinary 2-dimensional integration against area on R2.4) holds.13) P (λ) = Probability({x ∈ D : dfx − dT ≥ small (δ) · λ}). but the approximation of values does not. It turns out that there is actually a universal bound for P (λ) with exponential decay for λ ≥ 1. and in fact one can say more.4). Consider the expression (1.

In the exponential decay result mentioned above. and so one might hope to have the same kind of bounds in the conclusion. or disappointing. In analogy with (1. If the length is slightly larger.12). we did have “uniform” (or “supremum”) bounds in the hypothesis (1. This type of failure of supremum bounds is quite common. If the length of γ were equal to the distance between the endpoints. the situation is quite different.16) |z(s) − z(t)| ≤ |s − t| for all s. let us mention that one can get exponential decay conditions concerning the way that dfx − dT should be small most of the time in a kind of trivial manner. t ∈ [a. we would like to say that the tangents to γ are nearly parallel. using the linear decay conditions with good constants. The use of the logarithm here is not accidental. This means that z(t) should be 1-Lipschitz. (This also comes up in [Joh]. to the line that passes through the endpoints of γ.) One can obtain this from the presence of log r in the angle coordinate in the image. where z (t) denotes 8 . We shall return to this in Section 2. After all. let z(t). so that dfx − dT is bounded.11). if one differentiates log r in ordinary Cartesian coordinates. b]. a ≤ t ≤ b. t ∈ R. on average. Imagine that we have a rectifiable curve γ in the plane whose total length is only slightly larger than the distance between its two endpoints.As a technical point. that uniform approximation to the differential of f does not work here. then one gets a quantity of size 1/r. then γ has to stay close to the line segment that joins its endpoints. and we shall see more about it later. be a parameterization of γ by arclength. How might one prove (1.12). It may be a bit surprising. with constants that are not very good (at all). and that |z (t)| = 1 for almost all t. or the exponential decay bounds for P (λ)? Let us start with a slightly simpler situation. to give a result which is bounded.11). together with the fact that df is bounded. and one keeps constants like those from the linear decay condition. For instance. in (1. then γ would have to be a straight line segment. and this is balanced by the r in the first part of the polar coordinates in (1. In order to analyze this further.1). and in much the same manner as in the present case. This comes out clearly in the proof. This type of exponential decay occurs in a simple way in the example above. so that (1. and nothing more. but fits exactly with the requirements on the mapping.

and b − a is the same as the length of γ. and 1 − |ζ|2 is a dimensionless quantity which is small exactly when the length of γ and the distance between its endpoints are close to each other (proportionately).21) 2 ζ. y = ζ. Set (1. see John’s paper [Joh]. since z(t) is the parameterization of γ by arclength. ζ ds + |ζ|2. because of (1.. in terms of dependence on δ. This does not seem to give the proper bounds in (1.12).17). In this case (1.20) yields (1. and ζ does not depend on s. Let ·. x − y = x. Thus |ζ| is exactly the ratio of the distance between the endpoints of γ to the length of γ. since |z (s)| = 1 a. so that (1. · denote the standard inner product on R2 . x − 2 x.19) |x − y|2 = x − y.17).the derivative of z(t). y + y.e. by considering images of segments under the mappings. y ∈ R2 . though. Applying this with x = z (s). y + |y|2 1 b−a b a for all x. we get that (1. In this regard. y = |x|2 − 2 x. by (1. (1. (These computations follow ones in [CoiMe2]. ζ .22) 1 b−a b a |z (s) − ζ|2 ds = 1 − 2|ζ|2 + |ζ|2 = 1 − |ζ|2.) One can use these results for curves for looking at mappings from R2 (or n R ) to itself.22) provides precise information about the way that z (s) is approximately a constant on average.20) 1 b−a b a |z (s) − ζ|2 ds = 1 − 2 z (s). |z(b) − z(a)| is the same as the distance between the endpoints of γ.17) Let us compute ζ= 1 z(b) − z(a) = b−a b−a b a z (t) dt. Thus (1. The middle term on the right side reduces to (1.18) b 1 |z (s) − ζ|2 ds. On the other hand. b−a a which controls the average oscillation of z (s). (Compare also with 9 .

once one has an estimate like (1. We begin with the identity (2.1) ∆= + 2. and let us write ∂1 and ∂2 for ∂/∂x1 and ∂/∂x2. which will be discussed further in Section 2. Let h be a real-valued function on R2. one can conclude that the same estimate works for all disks D.1). and consider the following question in analysis.12) for all disks D in the plane.22). See also [CoiMe2]. ∂x2 ∂x2 1 where x1 . This is a famous result of John and Nirenberg [JohN]. the computations above are quite sharp. This is a well-known fact. Here is a basic example of such a result. because of the invariances of the condition (1. In the present situation.2) R2 |∂1 ∂2h(x)|2 dx ≤ R2 |∆h(x)|2 dx. x2 are the standard coordinates on R2 . and is essentially automatic. .3) R2 ∂1∂2 h(x) ∂1∂2 h(x) dx = 10 R2 2 2 ∂1 h(x) ∂2 h(x) dx.12) for some fixed disk D and all mappings f which satisfy (1. Let us assume (for simplicity) that h is smooth and that it has compact support. Let us instead look for ways in which the overall behavior of ∆h can control the overall behavior of the other second derivatives.) Note that for curves by themselves.1) under translations and dilations. In other words. To what extent does the behavior of ∆h control the behavior of the other second derivatives of h? Of course it is easy to make examples where ∆h vanishes at a point but the other second derivatives do not vanish at the same point. as indicated by the equality in (1. and the BMO frame of mind Let us start anew for the moment. The exponential decay of P (λ) requires more work. respectively. 2 The mathematics of good behavior much of the time. and it can be derived as follows. given by ∂2 ∂2 (2. Let ∆ denote the Laplace operator. Then (2.12) for all disks D (and with uniform bounds) is quite natural. because of invariance under translations and dilations.Appendix A. A basic point is that exponential decay bounds can be derived in a very general way once one knows (1. having estimates like (1.

unlike L∞ . this norm for a function g on R2 can be described as the smallest constant A such that (2. To be explicit. for each p in (1.2). for every o α ∈ (0. (2. the L2 norm of ∆h always bounds the L2 norm of ∂1 ∂2h.4) R2 |∆h(x)|2 dx = = R2 R2 2 2 (∂1 h(x) + ∂2 h(x))2 dx 2 2 2 2 (∂1 h(x))2 + 2 ∂1 h(x) ∂2 h(x) + (∂2 h(x))2 dx.3) we get that (2. 1). like the L∞ norm for g. there is a constant C(p) such that (2. because of duality (of spaces and operators). ∞). This is a typical example of a “Calder´n–Zygmund inequality”.7) |g(x) − g(y)| ≤ A |x − y|α for all x. Such inequalities o do not work for p = 1 or ∞. with respect to the standard bilinear form on functions on R2 (defined by taking the integral of the product of two given functions). There is 11 . the operators ∆ and ∂1∂2 here are equal to their own transposes. and with an extra factor of 2 on the left-hand side. because the right side of (2. There are similar bounds for Lp norms when 1 < p < ∞. On the other hand. there are classical results which give bounds in terms of the norm for H¨lder continuous (or Lipschitz) functions of order α. One can view this as a p = ∞ situation. Note that the p = 1 and p = ∞ cases are closely connected to each other. (One can improve this to get a factor of 4 on the left side of (2. instead of the Lp norm. but with a positive order α of smoothness. Combining this with (2.5).2).6) R2 |∂1 ∂2h(x)|p dx ≤ C(p) R2 |∆h(x)|p dx whenever h is a smooth function with compact support.which uses two integrations by parts. as in [Ste1].5) is nonnegative. and the p = ∞ case is like the question of supremum estimates in Section 1. given α.) In short. This implies (2. using the right-hand side of (2. Specifically. In a modestly different direction.5) R2 |∆h(x)|2 dx − 2 R2 |∂1∂2h(x)|2 dx = R2 2 2 (∂1 h(x))2 + (∂2 h(x))2 dx. y ∈ R2 .

Instead of a uniform bound for the output. (2. because ∆(x1x2) ≡ 0. and then look at what happens as → 0. 1 2 while the logarithm does not survive in ∆h.a variety of other norms and spaces which one can consider. we also have a substitute in terms of “mean oscillation”. let D be any disk in R2 of radius r.e. To be precise. 12 . and to see that ∆h is bounded while ∂1 ∂2h is not. but these defects can be corrected easily. with a uniform bound going in but not coming out. To make the support compact we can simply multiply by a fixed cut-off function that does not vanish at the origin.. and for which there are results about estimates along the lines of (2. πr2 D where “AverageD ∂1 ∂2h” is the average of ∂1 ∂2h over the disk D.e. The p = ∞ version of (2.8) cannot be true (with a fixed constant C that does not depend on h).6). 1 2 where > 0. This is exactly analogous to what happened in Section 1. just as before.. It is not hard to compute ∆h and ∂1 ∂2h explicitly. In order to see that this is not the case. x2). consider the function h(x) given by (2. This choice of h is neither smooth nor compactly supported.10) ∂1 ∂2h(x) = log(x2 + x2) + bounded terms.6) would say that there is a constant C such that sup |∂1∂2h(x)| ≤ C sup |∆h(x)| (2. but for the norm in question instead of the Lp norm. Indeed. For smoothness we can consider instead (2.11) h (x) = x1x2 log(x2 + x2 + ).12) |∂1∂2 h(x) − AverageD (∂1 ∂2h)| dx. i. 1 x = (x1 .9) 2 h(x) = x1x2 log(x2 + x2 ). and we see that (2.13) AverageD (∂1 ∂2h) = 1 πr2 D ∂1∂2 h(u) du.8) x∈R2 x∈R2 whenever h is smooth and has compact support. and consider the quantity 1 (2. i. (2. With these modifications we still get a singularity at the origin as → 0.

In this case we set (2. the BMO norm of ∂1 ∂2h is controlled by the L∞ norm of ∆h. with the supremum taken over all disks D in R2. A locally-integrable function g on R2 is said to lie in BMO if there is a nonnegative number k such that (2.) This definition may look a little crazy. Ste2].8). the point is to “localize” the L2 estimate that we had before. Similarly.14) 1 πr2 |∂1∂2 h(x) − AverageD (∂1∂2 h)| dx ≤ C sup |∆h(x)| x∈R2 D for every disk D in R2 of radius r and every smooth function h with compact support. although the L∞ norm of ∂1∂2 h is not controlled (for all h) by the L∞ norm of ∆h. introduced by John and Nirenberg in [JohN].15). This is the same as saying that g ∗ is the smallest number k that satisfies (2.16) g ∗ = sup D 1 πr2 D |g(x) − AverageD (g)| dx. (More general results of this nature are discussed in [GarcR.1). one of the main points in Section 1 can be reformulated as saying that if a mapping f : R2 → R2 distorts distances by only a small amount. where φ ∞ denotes the L∞ norm of a given function φ. 13 . as in (1. namely the space BMO of functions of bounded mean oscillation. This is not too hard to prove. then the BMO norm df ∗ of the differential of f is small (and with precise estimates being available). In Section 1 we mentioned a stronger estimate with exponential decay in the measure of certain “bad” sets. This works for all BMO functions. Let us reformulate (2.Instead of (2. (The converse is also true. but it works quite well in practice.15) 1 πr2 |g(x) − AverageD (g)| dx ≤ k D for every disk D in R2 of radius r.) Let us formalize this estimate by defining a new space of functions. it is true that there is a constant C > 0 so that (2. but notice that g ∗ = 0 when g is equal to a constant almost everywhere. In other words. One refers to g ∗ as the “BMO norm of g”.17) ∂ 1 ∂2 h ∗ ≤ C ∆h ∞. Jou. roughly speaking.14) by saying that there is a constant C so that (2.

and compare also with [GarcR. Ste2].e. Jou. just as one can make much more complex singular examples than in (2. This example also fits with (2. As in (1.18) P (λ) = Probability({x ∈ D : |g(x) − AverageD (g)| ≥ λ}).e. and let D be a disk in R2 with radius r. This framework includes certain Carnot spaces that arise in several complex variables. and B does not depend on g or D.19) is sharp. and it shows that exponential decay in (2.9) and (1.) 14 .19) P (λ) ≤ B −λ for λ ≥ 1.and can be given as follows. there is a universal bound for P (λ) with exponential decay. where “Probability” means Lebesgue measure divided by the area πr 2 of D. where B is a positive number greater than 1. and with the “rotational” part of the differential of the mapping f in (1..11). everything goes over in a natural way to Euclidean spaces of arbitrary dimension. CoiW2]. Although we have restricted ourselves to R2 here for simplicity.. i. (See [GarcR. Roughly speaking. See [CoiW1. but it is quite a bit stronger than that. The exponential decay bound in (2. the total “size” of the unboundedness is no worse than for the logarithm. there is a much more general framework of “spaces of homogeneous type” in which basic properties of BMO (and other aspects of real-variable harmonic analysis) carry over. as in (2. There are a lot of tools available in harmonic analysis for understanding exactly how BMO functions behave. for instance. This is a theorem of John and Nirenberg [JohN]. Garn.11). BMO functions can be much more complicated than the logarithm. but the arrangement of the singularities can be more intricate.10). In general. i.19). A basic example of a BMO function is log |x|. Ste2].19) helps to make precise the idea that BMO functions are very close to being bounded (which would correspond to having P (λ) = 0 for all sufficiently large λ). In fact. one does not have superexponential decay in general. Suppose that g is a BMO function on R2 with g ∗ ≤ 1. consider the “distribution function” P (λ) defined by (2.13). an inequality of the form (2. Under these conditions. like the unit sphere in Cn with the appropriate (noneuclidean) metric. The exponential rate of decay implies that BMO functions lie in Lp locally for all finite p. This is not hard to check.

Ste2] and the references therein. and this holds for similar operators (of order 0) much more generally (as in [GarcR. such a function g is always in BMO. Davi1. JerK2.BMO functions show up all over the place. Garn. More precisely. positive functions which one can use as densities for modifications of Lebesgue measure. and for the logarithm of Jacobians of quasiconformal mappings. Dah2. CoiMe2. (See Appendix A. GarcR. (See [BrezN. CoiMe3. it is BMO for the logarithm of the derivative that comes up most naturally. and Jacobians of quasiconformal mappings 15 . there are circumstances in which one might wish that the derivative of a conformal mapping in the complex plane were bounded. These weights have good properties concerning Lp boundedness of singular integral and other operators. but neither of these are true in general. This will be discussed a bit further in Appendix A.20) ∂1 ∂2 ∆ maps L∞ to BMO.) BMO arises in a lot of nonlinear problems. and in the subspace VMO (“vanishing mean oscillation”). Some basic computations related to the latter were given in Section 1. BMO shows up naturally as the logarithm of the density for harmonic measure for Lipschitz domains. Ste2]. in addition to the one in Section 1. Geh3. This is a well-known analogue of continuity in the context of BMO. This is closely related to BMO conditions for tangents to curves under certain geometric conditions. there are interesting classes of “weights”. for instance. Jou. See [Dah1. Pom3]. JerK1. Pom2.15) when n = 2) tend to 0 as the radius r goes to 0. near the end. and it is not. Rei. However. One might wish that a function g on Rn that satisfies g ∈ Ln (Rn ) (in the sense of distributions) were bounded or continuous. and which in fact correspond to open subsets of BMO (for real-valued functions). in which the measurements of mean oscillation (as in the left side of (2. in connection with conformal mappings in the plane. when n > 1. Pom1. whose logarithms lie in BMO. and they also show up in other situations. See [CoiMe1. In all dimensions. For instance. harmonic measure. Ste2]). In general dimensions (larger than 1).) Sobolev embeddings provide another class of linear problems in which BMO comes up naturally. One can reformulate the basic scenario in this section with the Laplacian and ∂1 ∂2 by saying that the pseudodifferential or singular integral operator (2. Garn. Note that the nonlinear problem in Section 1 has a natural linearization which falls into this rubric. Sem12. but there are natural estimates in terms of BMO.

If one can repeat this forever. and in the transition 16 . at each stage the size of the deviation of g(x) from AverageD (g) will increase by the addition of 10. i. See [GarcR. and by a definite proportion. and for which BMO provides a good substitute. think of rescaling or rotating a domain. but to carry it out one has to be more careful in the choice of “bad” set at each stage. In many nonlinear problems there is a symmetry which permits one to multiply some quantity by a constant without changing anything in a significant way. (E.19). or multiplying a weight by a positive constant. Ste2. but it is not.e.15) for D itself (with k = 1) to obtain that the set of points x in D such that (2. let us return to the John–Nirenberg theorem. Garn. How might one try to prove this? The first main point is that one cannot prove (2..) At the level of the logarithm this invariance is converted into a freedom to add constants. Instead one uses (2. To summarize a bit. The idea is to then show that the set of points x in D which satisfy (2.15) for that one disk. then one can get exponential decay as in (2. or works in a natural or reasonable way. Assume that g is a BMO function with g ∗ ≤ 1.in particular. First use (2. there are a lot of situations in which one has some function that one would like to be bounded.21) |g(x) − AverageD (g)| ≥ 10. is pretty small (in terms of probability). or a mapping. StrT] for information about these classes of weights. but then it comes up on its own..22) |g(x) − AverageD (g)| ≥ 10 + 10 is significantly smaller still. More precisely. Before leaving this section. the exponential decay estimate in (2. try to make a good covering by smaller disks on which one can apply the same type of argument. On the bad set where this happens.15) over and over again. One may not expect at first to have to take measure theory into account.19) for a particular disk D using only a bound like (2. This strategy is roughly correct in spirit. Jou. while the decrease in the measure of the bad set will decrease multiplicatively. for many different disks.g. There is a simple reason for BMO functions to arise frequently as some kind of logarithm.19). as above. Here is a basic strategy. That would only give a rate of decay on the order of 1/λ. and this is something that BMO accommodates automatically.

1 How can one tell if P is a PL (piecewise-linear) manifold? In other words. in principle. with no lower-dimensional pieces sticking off on their own). purely combinatorial. for the way that they can be decomposed evenly into smaller pieces. It will be convenient to think of P as being like a simplicial complex. Fix a positive integer d. so that it is made up of simplices which are always either disjoint or meet in a whole face of some (lower) dimension. concerning existence and complexity of parameterizations of a given set. and let P be a d-dimensional polyhedron. To make this precise.. one should try to control the difference between the average of g over one disk and over one of the smaller disks created in the next step of the process. This is really just a particular example of a general issue. As a practical matter. Jou. Sem12] for more information. Garn. its local structure at any point is pretty simple.1 directly.1 has the nice feature that finite polyhedra and piecewise-linear mappings between them can. up to the d-dimensional faces. let us review some preliminary matters. GarcR. P looks like a cone over a (d − 1)-dimensional polyhedron at every point. P is locally PL-equivalent to Rd at a point x ∈ P if there is a neighborhood of x in P which is homeomorphic to an open set in Rd through a mapping which is piecewise-linear. In particular. See [JohN. it is simpler to work with cubes instead of disks. The actual construction used is the “Calder´n– o Zygmund decomposition”. the edges. when is P locally PL-equivalent to Rd at each point? To be precise. which itself has a lot of other applications. Since P is a finite polyhedron. imagine that Q is some finite polyhedron 17 . Ste2. be described in finite terms. 3 Finite polyhedra and combinatorial parameterization problems Let us now forget about measure theory for the time being. in principle.e. Thus we can speak about the vertices of P . Problem 3. Before we try to address Problem 3.from one stage to the next. the 2-dimensional faces. and so on. so that P has “pure” dimension d (i. Problem 3. Namely. We assume that P is a finite union of d-dimensional simplices. and look at a problem which is.

in the sense described above. (We can always replace Rn with Rn+1 . It does not really depend on the choice of z. then there is a positive integer k and a k-dimensional face F of P such that x lies in the interior of F .2 is standard and not hard to see. and let z be a point in Rn which is affinely-independent of Q. We include z itself in each of these rays. One can still realize P as a cone over a (d − 1)-dimensional polyhedron near x. Let us call Q the link of P at x. but this is adequate for our purposes. and we call Q the link of F . This defines the “cone over Q centered at z”.e. with this description Q is only determined up to piecewise-linear equivalence. where z is the center of c(Q). This same polyhedron Q works for all the points in the interior of F . which lies in the complement of an (affine) plane that contains Q.. but for the converse there is a bit more to check. The “if” part is immediate. then Q must be piecewise-linearly equivalent to a standard j-dimensional sphere.) Now suppose that x is not a vertex. if necessary. Basic Fact 3. Basic Fact 3. i. then there is a natural way to choose a (d − 1)-dimensional polyhedron Q so that P is the same as the cone over Q centered at x in a neighborhood of x. If x is not a vertex. This is pretty easy to verify.in some Rn . but one can also do something more precise. If x is a “vertex” of P . (Actually. since one knows exactly what the cone over a standard sphere looks like. with x in P corresponding to a point (y.) Let c(Q) denote the set which consists of all rays in Rn which emanate from z and pass through an element of Q. in the sense that a different choice of z leads to a set which is equivalent to the one just defined through an invertible affine transformation. In this case there is a (d − k − 1)-dimensional polyhedron Q such that P is locally equivalent to Rk × c(Q) near x. to ensure that there is such a point. and one can use it repeatedly for the links of P of codimension larger than 1. Here the “standard sphere of dimension m” can be taken to be the boundary of the standard (m + 1)-dimensional simplex.2 P is everywhere locally equivalent to Rd if and only if all of the various links of P (of all dimensions) are piecewise-linearly equivalent to standard spheres (of the same dimension). A useful observation is that if Q is a j-dimensional polyhedron whose cone c(Q) is piecewise-linearly equivalent to Rj+1 in a neighborhood of the center of c(Q). z) in Rk × c(Q). but 18 . (A well-known point here is that one should be careful not to use radial projections to investigate links around vertices.

to fit with the piecewise-linear structure. since the links of P always have dimension less than P . it should be possible to continuously deform any loop in Q to a single point. This leads to the following question.) A nice feature of Basic Fact 3. The PL case is equivalent to the smooth version in this dimension. 19 . Problem 3. (Compare with [RouS]. to take any continuous mapping from a circle into Q and extend it to a continuous mapping from a closed disk into Q.1. In order for a k-dimensional polyhedron Q to be a homotopy sphere. This extension can entail enormous complexity. This might seem like a pretty good answer. it does not always work in the smooth category. but it remains unknown in the PL case.2 and induction arguments. equivalently. then e this would give one answer to the question of recognizing PL manifolds among finite polyhedra in Problem 3. in the sense that the filling to the disk might have to be of much greater complexity than the original loop itself. Freedman [Fre] in the “topological” category (with ordinary homeomorphisms (continuous mappings with continuous inverses) and topological manifolds). In other words. because of exotic spheres (as in [Mil1. which would e seek to say that Q is a PL sphere as soon as it is homotopy-equivalent to a sphere.3 If Q is a finite polyhedron which is a k-dimensional PL manifold. and both are equivalent to the ordinary topological version in dimension 3.3 is part of the matter of the Poincar´ conjecture.suitable pseudo-radial projections. and not just the topological structure. If the PL version of the Poincar´ conjecture is true in all dimensions.2 is that it sets up a natural induction in the dimensions. or. how can one tell if Q is a PL sphere of dimension k? It is reasonable to assume here that Q is a PL-manifold. our polyhedron P would be a PL manifold if and only if its links are all homotopy-equivalent to spheres (of the correct dimension). because of the way that one can use Basic Fact 3. This has been established in all dimensions except 3 and 4. Specifically.) In dimension 4 the Poincar´ conjecture was settled by e M.) Although the Poincar´ conjece ture is known to hold in the PL category in all higher dimensions (than 4). (A brief survey related to these statements is given in Section 8.3 of [FreQ]. it has to be simply connected in particular. but there are strong difficulties concerning complexity for matters of homotopy. KerM]). Problem 3. at least when j ≥ 2.

. . 2 For instance. The latter are (finite) words made out of the gi ’s and their inverses. It is a famous result that there exist finite presentations of groups for which there is no algorithm to solve the word problem. However. In this way the algorithm will constantly generate trivial words. Let us assume for convenience that the set of relations includes the inverses of all of its elements. one might have to make derivations through words which are enormously larger. all possible products of conjugates of relations. b and one relation. there is the (Baumslag– Solitar) group with two generators x. To do this. and all possible words derived from these through cancellations as above. Given this information. the group Z can be described by two generators a. The real trouble comes from the cancellations. rm of “relations”. (See [Man]. this does not give a finite procedure for determining that a given word is not trivial. A finite presentation of G is given by a finite list g1 . To describe it more precisely it is helpful to begin with some related algebraic problems. . and also the empty word. . This implies that arbitrary products of conjugates of the rj ’s also represent the identity element. then it should be possible to obtain w from some product of conjugates of the rj ’s through −1 −1 cancellations of subwords of the form gi gi and gi gi .) To understand what this really means. concerning finitely-presented groups. y and one relation x2yx−1 y −1 . let us first notice that the set of trivial words for the given presentation is “recursively enumerable”. g2 . . and the final requirement is that if w is any word in the gi ’s and their inverses which represents the identity element in G. aba−1b−1 . how can one decide whether w represents the identity element in G? This is called “the word problem” (for G). This means that there is an algorithm for listing all of the trivial words. . and every trivial word will eventually show up on the list. The rj ’s are required to be trivial. with a lot of collapsing at the end. Let G be a group. . Suppose that a group G and finite presentation of G are given and fixed.This is an issue whose geometric significance is often emphasized by Gromov. one simply has to have the algorithm systematically generate all possible conjugates of the relations. and let w be a word in the generators of G and their inverses. In order to establish the triviality of a given word w. gn of generators for G together with a finite set r1 . . A priori one cannot conclude that a given word is not trivial until one goes through the entire list of trivial words. in the sense that they represent the identity element of G. As another concrete example. r2. If one had a bound for the size of the words needed for at least one derivation of the 20 .

for each n ≥ 4 it is true that every finite presentation can be coded into a compact PL manifold of dimension n. This means that f could be really huge. This is another standard fact. and.. It turns out that this does work when the dimension is at least 4. The point is that such a function f may not be bounded by a recursive function. in the case of finite polyhedra it is enough to consider polygonal loops and deformations which are piecewise-linear (in addition to being continuous). similarly. for deciding whether a loop in a given polyhedron can be continuously contracted to a point. As it is. Note that while the fundamental group of a space is normally defined in terms of continuous (based) loops in the space and the continuous deformations between them. For instance. This would not be very efficient. but it would be an algorithm. there does not exist an algorithm to decide when a given finite presentation for a group actually defines the trivial group. i.e.triviality of a given word w. even this does not always work. there does not exist 21 . for instance. This is true simply because there are only finitely many words of size at most n. this is not the same as saying that they can be coded into compact manifolds. and there are finitely-presented groups for which the derivations of triviality may need to involve words of nonrecursive size compared to the given word. This type of coding can be used to convert algorithmic unsolvability results for problems in group theory into algorithmic unsolvability statements in topology. then the word problem would be algorithmically solvable. This is a well-known construction in topology. as mentioned above. This is because any finite presentation of a group G can be coded into a finite polyhedron. One should keep in mind that for a given group and a given presentation there is always some function f (n) on the positive integers so that trivial words of length at most n admit derivations of their triviality through words of size no greater than f (n). and so one can take f (n) to be the maximum size incurred in some finite collection of derivations. and it provides a convenient way to think about complexity for loops and their deformations. a bound in terms of an effectively computable (or “recursive”) function of the length of w. One could simply search through all derivations of at most a computable size. The same kind of phenomenon occurs geometrically. in such a way that the group G is represented by the fundamental group of the polyhedron. Although arbitrary finite presentations can be coded into finite polyhedra. larger than any tower of exponentials.

Mark3] for more information and results. respectively. of [Spa]. In another direction. Mark1.14 on p84f of [Hem1]. Tho] concerning dimension 3.. see [Rub1. and p67-9 of [Jac]. Mark2. Theorems 9. See [Eps. This is classical for dimensions 1.) Imagine that we have a PL manifold M of some dimension n whose equivalence to a standard sphere is true but “hard” to check. In a different vein. and Theorem 8. as is well known. The book [Eps+] treats a number of topics related to computability and groups. it is not true that arbitrary finitely-presented groups can be realized as fundamental groups of compact manifolds. According to the solution of the Poincar´ conjecture in these dimensions. there are relatively few abelian groups which can arise as subgroups of fundamental groups of 3-dimensional manifolds. See [Far] as well in this regard. See also [Jac]. EvaM]. this will happen exactly when M is simply-connected and has trivial homology in dimensions 2 through n − 1. but there are substantial restrictions on the groups that can arise as fundamental groups. (Specifically. and also the appendix to [Nab]. See [BooHP. For standard reasons of algebraic topology. As an aspect of this. it is a large open problem to know exactly what groups arise as fundamental groups of 3-dimensional manifolds. Novikov. one can look at restrictions related to Poincar´ duality. This includes broad classes of groups for which positive results and methods are available. See also [Thu] and Chapter 12 of [Eps+] concerning these groups. Let us mention that in dimensions 3 and less. to have a mapping to which the aforementioned results can be applied). this uses Theorem 9 and Corollary 24 on pages 399 and 405. This is a result of S. the fundamental group of a e 3-dimensional manifold has the property that all of its finitely-generated subgroups are finitely-presented.13 and 9. 2.2 on p70 of [Hem1]. See Section 10 of [VolKF]. Beginning in dimension 5. it is known that there is no algorithm for deciding when a compact PL manifold is piecewise-linearly equivalent to a standard (PL) sphere. The situation in dimension 3 is more complicated. and not just in connection with fundamental groups of 3-manifolds. It also uses the existence of a degree-1 mapping from M to Sn to get started (i. such algorithms do exist. M will be equive alent to an n-sphere if it is homotopy-equivalent to Sn .e. and the fact that the homology of M and Sn vanish in dimensions larger 22 . See [Sco]. At any rate.an algorithm for deciding when a given manifold (of dimension at least 4) is simply-connected. and related problems and results. Rub2. Fundamental groups of manifolds are very special in dimensions 1 and 2. (Note that in dimensions less than or equal to 3.

where the matter of bounds is straightforward. For if there were a bound in terms of a recursive function. except in the trivial case of line segments from y and z to the same point x in M . To obtain the degree-1 mapping from M to Sn .) The vanishing of homology can be determined algorithmically. (Concerning this statement about homology.) This is because one could use the mapping to reduce the problem of contracting a loop in M to a point to the corresponding problem for the n-sphere. one could include the mapping f from M to the n-sphere. if one includes as part of the package of data enough information to justify the condition that the induced mapping on π1 be an isomorphism. then one could reverse the process and use this to get an algorithm which could decide whether M is PL equivalent to a sphere. see Appendix E. If M is a hard example of a PL manifold which is equivalent to an nsphere. and are equal to Z in dimension n.. and then taking the union of all of the (closed) line segments that go from either of y or z to a point in M . and this is not possible. one can start with any point in M and a neighborhood of that point which is homeomorphic to a ball. with x being the only point of intersection 23 . One should also be careful to choose y and z so that these line segments never meet. and mappings which give homotopies between f ◦ g and g ◦ f to the identity on the n-sphere and M .e.than n. some collection of generators for the fundamental group. Similar considerations apply to the problem of deciding when a finite polyhedron P is a PL manifold. which gives rise to the desired mapping.) To determine whether M is simply-connected it is enough to check that a finite number of loops in M can be contracted to a point. then it means that the complexity of the contractions should be enormous compared to the complexity of M . one can use it to make a new polyhedron P by taking the “suspension” of M . and so if the equivalence of M with an n-sphere is “hard” for algorithmic verification. or even which merely induce isomorphisms on π1 . This is defined by taking two points y and z which lie outside of a plane that contains M . Because of the preceding discussion. Indeed. this is also true for mappings which are homotopyequivalences. One then collapses the complement of that neighborhood to a point. given a PL manifold M whose equivalence to a sphere is in question. i. a mapping g from the n-sphere to M which is a homotopy-inverse to f . then the problem must occur already with the simple-connectivity of M . for instance. then any mapping from M to the sphere which realizes this equivalence must necessarily be of very high complexity as well. respectively. If this is “hard”. (For a homotopy equivalence.

The result is 24 . Again. Edw1.of the two segments. by construction. Dave2. Through the type of arguments outlined above. and the role of localized versions of fundamental groups in particular. Can1. Bin8. for instance. Dave2. In particular. and in a number of different ways. Can2. sometimes in a localized form. As another type of example. for any information which is strong enough to give the simple-connectivity of the links of P . then this operation of suspension produces a PL manifold equivalent to the sphere of 1 larger dimension. Bur. and it can be very useful for making some geometric constructions. In Appendix C.) Localized π1 -type conditions play a crucial role in taming theorems in geometric topology. Can3. and one takes the suspension (described above) of the suspension of H to get a new polyhedron K.2. i. Some references related to this are [Bin5. This concerns the separation of crossings of submanifolds through the use of embedded 2-dimensional disks. BurC. existence and complexity of parameterizations is often related in a strong manner to the behavior of something like π1.e. we shall review some aspects of geometric topology and the existence and behavior of parameterizations. the use of the suspension shows that there are polyhedra P for which the property of being a PL manifold is hard to establish. but similar themes of complexity come up much more generally. Dave1. as with the links of a polyhedron. This works more robustly than just for PL coordinates. For topology of manifolds in high dimensions. We have focussed on piecewise-linear coordinates for finite polyhedra for the sake of simplicity. one has the famous “double suspension” results of Edwards and Cannon [Can1. so that one is back to the situation of Basic Fact 3. π1 and the filling of loops with disks comes up in the Whitney lemma. Edw2]. Moi. Just as there are PL manifolds M whose equivalence with a sphere is hard. Bin6.2 of [DonK]. then the suspension P of M is not a PL manifold at all. If M is not PL equivalent to a sphere.) If M is equivalent to a sphere. This is because M is the link of P at the vertices y and z. as one can easily check. Rus2]. they may have to be of enormous complexity compared to the complexity of P itself. this follows the discussion above. (A very nice brief review of some of these matters is given in Section 1.. (One can imagine y and z as lying on “opposite sides” of an affine plane that contains M . Here one starts with a finite polyhedron H which is a manifold with the same homology as a sphere of the same dimension. Rus1. when PL coordinates exist for a polyhedron P .

and [DonK. Indeed. local homeomorphic coordinates for K do exist.) Note that if J is obtained as a single suspension of H. J has the advantage over H that it is simply-connected. or a topological sphere. Sta2. This cannot work for the suspension J of H when π1 (H) = 0. This comes from the process of passing to the suspension (and the fact that H should be connected. then for every point p in M there are arbitrarily small neighborhoods U of p which are homeomorphic to an open n-ball. FreQ] for dimension 4. (We shall say a bit more about this in Section 5 and Subsection C. It is for this reason that the cone points of K do not have the same trouble as in J itself. this does not happen [Moi. even though K is itself a finite polyhedron. These polyhedra are not PL manifolds. When π1(H) = 0. As above. This is the “failure of the Hauptvermutung” (in general). Not much is known about the complexity of the homeomorphisms in this case. It does imply that the homeomorphisms involved have to distort distances in a very strong way. Sie2] involved non-PL homeomorphisms whose behavior is much milder than in the case of double-suspension spheres. but they are necessarily much more complicated than PL homeomorphisms. Bin6]. if M is a topological manifold of dimension n. See also [Sta2]. but this turns out not to be enough to prevent K from being a topological manifold. However. see [SieS].7)).5. then J cannot be a topological manifold at all (at least if the dimension of H is at least 2). The singularities at the cone points in J lead to trouble with the codimension-2 links in K. In other words.that K is actually homeomorphic to a sphere. there is also a global homeomorphism from K to a sphere. it is not possible for the homeomorphism from K to a standard sphere to be piecewise-linear. with p taken to be one of the two cone points introduced in the suspension construction. with no small deleted neighborhoods which are simply-connected. or even Lipschitz (as in (1. The first examples of finite polyhedra which are homeomorphic to each other but not piecewise-linearly equivalent were given by Milnor [Mil2]. Concerning the latter. and it turns out that there are examples of compact PL manifolds which are homeomorphic but not piecewise-linearly equivalent too. as in [SieS]. The examples in [Mil2. See 25 . and if π1(H) = 0. and U \{p} must then be simply-connected when n ≥ 3. There are general results in this direction for PL manifolds (and more broadly) in dimensions greater than or equal to 5. In dimensions 3 and lower. since it has the same homology as a sphere). A key point is that H is not required to be simply-connected. See [Sie2] for dimensions 5 and higher.

Tor1. Then (4. See [DaviS4. for instance. To prove (4.[Sul1. Let f be a real-valued function on Rn which is continuously differentiable and has compact support. Analogous statements fail in dimension 4.3) |f (x)| ≤ ∞ 0 | f (x + tv)| dt. and integrals. Sem8]. and dy refers to ordinary n-dimensional volume. See [NabW1. to which we shall return in a moment. Questions of algorithmic undecidability in topology have been revisited in recent years. 4 Quantitative topology. NabW2]. 26 . are given in [Sem7. This is discussed further in Appendix B. |x − y|n−1 where νn denotes the (n − 1)-dimensional volume of the unit sphere in Rn . This inequality provides a way to say that the values of a function are controlled by averages of its derivative.1) one can proceed as follows (as on p125 of [Ste1]). derivatives. Thus (4. SieS]. Let v be any element of Rn with |v| = 1. or necessarily have complicated behavior. HeiS. in particular by Nabutovsky and Weinberger. ∂t by the fundamental theorem of calculus. Tor2] for some related topics uˇ concerning homeomorphisms and bounds for their behavior.2) f (x) = − ∞ 0 ∂ f (x + tv) dt. even though the geometry behaves well in other ways. One can try to avoid difficulties connected to π1 by using mappings with branching rather than homeomorphisms. Sem3. In this respect it is like Sobolev and isoperimetric inequalities. Here is a basic example of this.1) |f (x)| ≤ 1 νn Rn 1 | f (y)| dy. and the references therein. Some other examples where homeomorphic coordinates do not exist. Then (4. M¨lS. and calculus on singular spaces One of the nice features of Euclidean spaces is that it is easy to work with functions. by [DonS]. HeiY. and fix a point x ∈ Rn .

say). so that p < q < ∞. then the integral of | f | on S will be very small. Define q by 1/q = 1/p − 1/n. let us choose f so that its gradient is concentrated near the bridge between Σ and P . Specifically. but for 2-dimensional surfaces in R3 instead of Euclidean spaces themselves. let x be the point on Σ which is exactly opposite from z. and glue in a small “neck” as a bridge between the plane and the sphere to get a smooth surface S. and by averaging over these v’s one can derive (4. To put this into perspective. Fix a dimension n again.5) n-dimensional volume of D n ≤ C(n) ((n − 1)-dimensional volume of ∂D) n−1 . it is helpful to look at a situation where analogous inequalities make sense but fail to hold.1) is a relative of the usual Sobolev and isoperimetric inequalities.1) from (4. This is not hard to check. One can also allow more general functions.3).1). and an exponent p that satisfies 1 ≤ p < n. Then cut out a little neighborhood of z.4) |f (x)| dx q 1 q Rn ≤ C(n. p) such that (4. then this is bad for an inequality like (4. In particular. and consider a smooth function f which is equal to 1 on most of Σ (and at x in particular) and equal to 0 on most of P . one could not have uniform bounds that would work for arbitrarily small bridges between P and Σ.This is true for every v in the unit sphere of Rn . The inequality (4. Imagine that one is interested in inequalities like (4.1). The Sobolev inequalities assert the existence of a constant C(n. let us start with the union of a 2-plane P and a standard (round) 2-dimensional sphere Σ which is tangent to P at a single point z. since the left-hand side would be 1 and the right-hand side would be small. then (4. More precisely. The isoperimetric inequality states that if D is a domain in Rn (which is bounded and has reasonably smooth boundary. If f makes the transition from vanishing to being 1 in a reasonable manner. which say the following. p) Rn | f (x)| dx p 1 p for all functions f on Rn that are continuously differentiable and have compact support. If the neck in S is very small compared to the size of Σ. 27 . and it is bad for having an inequality like (4. with f interpreted in the sense of distributions. Indeed.1). Let S be a smoothly embedded 2-dimensional submanifold of R3 which looks like a 2-plane with a bubble attached to it.

Let us also think of M as coming equipped with a distance function d(x. Conversely. but let us not restrict ourselves to this 28 . To consider this further. for which the general measure-theoretic argument gives a slightly weaker result. and satisfies the triangle inequality). and the right-hand side of (4. let M be a smooth Riemannian manifold of dimension n.1) is a basic ingredient in one of the standard methods for proving Sobolev and isoperimetric inequalities (but not necessarily with sharp constants). y) is nonnegative. especially Proposition C. and the power n − 1 in the kernel on the right side of (4.) The idea of these inequalities makes sense much more broadly than just on Euclidean spaces.This is really just a special case of (4. vanishes exactly when x = y. See [Fed].e.5) holds with the constant C(n) that gives equality in the case of a ball. with p = 1 and f taken to be the characteristic function of D (i. and it is not hard to recover the p = 1 case of (4. y) to be the geodesic distance associated to the Riemannian metric on M . Sobolev inequalities for all p can be derived from isoperimetric inequalities. Roughly speaking.1). One can also determine sharp constants for (4. the function that is equal to 1 on D and 0 on the complement of D).5).6) {x ∈ Rn : |f (x)| > t}. as on p39 of [Aub]. See Chapter V of [Ste1] for details.4).1).1). but they may not always work very well. once one has (4. In this case f is a (vector-valued) measure. Note that the choice of the exponent n/(n − 1) in the right side of (4.5) when one dilates the domain D by a positive factor. The inequality (4. rather than manifolds and derivatives.e. as in the earlier example with bubbling.4).14.4) should be interpreted accordingly.4). i. in looking what happens to the two sides of (4..4) from the weaker version using a bit more of the localization properties of the gradient than are kept in (4. This is not quite true for the p = 1 case of (4.5) is determined by scaling considerations. the rest of the argument works at a very general level of integral operators on measure spaces. One might take d(x. y) with the usual properties (d(x. by applying the latter to sets of the form (4. symmetric in x and y. (See also Appendix C of [Sem9].. The slightly weaker result does give an isoperimetric inequality (4. and then making suitable integrations in t. The same is true of the relationship between p and q in (4. The sharp version of the isoperimetric inequality states that (4. and let us assume for simplicity that M is unbounded (like Rn ).4).

7) k −1 |z − w| ≤ d(φ(z). as one can readily show. The smoothness of M should be taken in the character of an a priori assumption. each bounded by twice the other. (4. (4. This implies that φ does not distort the corresponding Riemannian metrics or volume by more than bounded factors either. and that it be complete. y) is compatible with quantities defined locally on M using the Riemannian metric.5) all hold for M . so that concepts like volume. Suppose for the moment that M is bilipschitz equivalent to Rn equipped with the usual Euclidean metric. but will be convenient.1). and (4. w ∈ Rn . In this case the analogues of (4. gradient. In other words.1). and (4. This is because any test of these inequalities on M can be “pulled back” to Rn using φ. on sufficiently small neighborhoods about any given point in M . For instance. y) and the Riemannian geodesic distance are approximately the same. and that d(x. This prevents things like infinite ends in M which asymptotically approach finite points in M with respect to d(x. and lengths of gradients are automatically meaningful. where M is a submanifold of a larger Euclidean space and d(x.case. with the loss of information in moving between M and Rn limited by the bilipschitz condition for φ. and the length of the gradient of a function. y).5) do not really require much in the way of smoothness for 29 . Indeed. y) and the Riemannian metric is satisfied automatically in the situation mentioned above. the smoothness of M will not really play an essential role here. This observation helps to make clear the fact that inequalities like (4. y) is simply the ambient Euclidean distance |x − y| inherited from Rk . like the volume measure.4). y) is inherited from the ambient Euclidean distance. We shall make the standing assumption that the distance d(x. This ensures that d(x. In general this could be much smaller than the geodesic distance. This means that there is a mapping φ from Rn onto M and a constant k such that (4.4). We shall also require that the distance d(x. imagine that M is a smooth submanifold of some higherdimensional Rk . φ should neither expand or shrink distances by more than a bounded amount. y) be compatible with the (manifold) topology on M . with the real point being to have bounds that do not depend on the presence of the smoothness in a quantitative way. with constants that depend only on the constants for Rn and the distortion factor k. Note that this local compatibility condition for the distance function d(x. φ(w)) ≤ k |z − w| for all z.

HeiKo2. HeiKo1. Bilipschitz mappings can allow plenty of spiralling and corners in M (or approximate corners. this analogue would say that there is a constant C so that (4.) I would like to describe now some conditions on M which are strong enough to give bounds as in (4. but more quantitative. One might say that these inequalities are like algebraic topology. HeiY. where | f (y)| and the volume measure dV ol(y) are defined in terms of the Riemannian structure that comes with M . CoiW2.4). The next two definitions give the conditions on M that we shall consider. Pet2. HeiKo2. First. d(x.1) for M . since we are asking that M that be smooth a priori). See also [HanH]. Notice that Euclidean spaces are automatically doubling. which are always more difficult.1). the idea of a “parameterization” is too strong for the purposes of inequalities like (4. let us explicitly write down the analogue of (4. a Definition 4. but which are quite a bit weaker than the existence of a bilipschitz parameterization. y) can be covered by at most L0 balls of half the radius of B. Appendix C is related to this as well. These and similar notions have come up many times in various parts of geometry and analysis. Although bilipschitz mappings are appropriate here for the small amount of regularity involved.1). V¨i6]. If x is any element of M . just as bounds on higher derivative of functions are not preserved. As1. y)n−1 M for all continuously differentiable functions f on M . Definition 4.the underlying space.8) |f (x)| ≤ C 1 | f (y)| dV ol(y) d(x. Gro1.9 (The doubling condition) A metric space (M. y)) is said to be locally linearly contractable (with constant L1 ) if the following is 30 . Bounds on curvature are not preserved by bilipschitz mappings. As3. with a uniform bound for its doubling constant. Pet1. every subset of a (finite-dimensional) Euclidean space is doubling. CoiW1. (4. with a constant L0 that depends only on the dimension. and (4.5). d(x. Gro2. while parameterizations are more like homeomorphisms. As2.10 (Local linear contractability) A metric space (M. AleV3. AleV2. y)) is said to be doubling (with constant L0 ) if each ball B in M with respect to d(x. as in [Ale. Similarly. (Some other themes along these lines will be discussed in Appendix D.

This is a kind of quantitative and scale-invariant condition of local contractability. Both this and the doubling condition hold automatically when M admits a bilipschitz parameterization by Rn . y)) satisfies the doubling and local linear contractability conditions with constants L 0 and L1 . Theorem 4. L1 .8)..e. If the volume measure on M behaves well. with bounds for the measure of balls like ones on Rn .1).7) (and the dimension for the doubling condition). How might one prove Theorem 4. consider the metric space which is Rn as a set. and indeed they tolerate fractal behavior perfectly well. respectively. d(x. One might say that (4. However.11 If M and d(x.8) in much the same way as for Euclidean spaces. the doubling and local linear contractability conditions work just as well for (Rn . See Appendices B and C in [Sem9]. This was proved in [Sem9]. and if (M. To see this. (Arbitrary radii are permitted when M is 1 unbounded. then (4. with uniform bounds in terms of the bilipschitz constant k in (4. Let B be a ball in M with respect to d(x.e. Before we look at some aspects of the proof. just with slightly different constants. and with radius no greater than L−1 times the diameter of M . y) are as before. then one can derive conclusions from (4.11? It would be nice to be able to mimic the proof of (4. some remarks are in order about what the conclusions really mean. This is a kind of abstract and higher-dimensional version of standard fractal snowflake curves in the plane. |x − y|α) as for (Rn . where α is some fixed number in (0.. for instance. |x − y|).8) holds with a constant C that depends only on L 0 .) Then (local linear contractability means that) it should be possible to continuously contract B to a point inside of L1 B.true. but with the metric |x − y|α . It prevents certain types of cusps or bubbling. i. to find a family of rectifiable curves in M which go from x to infinity and whose arclength measures have approximately the same kind of distribution in M as rays in Rn emanating from a given 31 . In general one cannot derive bounds for Sobolev and isoperimetric inequalities for M just using (4. y). i. and the dimension n. as in the context of the present general discussion. The doubling and local linear contractability conditions do not themselves say anything about the behavior of the volume on M . inside the ball with the same center as B and L1 times the radius. 1).8) is only as good as the behavior of the volume measure on M .

14) |dπx (u)| ≤ C |u − x|−1 for all u ∈ Rn \{x}. The basic idea was to obtain these curves from level sets of certain mappings with controlled behavior. for instance. Nir] concerning the notion of degree of a mapping. with opposing vertices p and q. and it is helpful to begin with a different formulation of the kind of auxiliary functions to be used. This problem was treated in a special case in [DaviS1].point. then one can try to extract a family of paths from p to q in Q from the level sets (4. Here the “degree” can be defined by restricting πx to a sphere around x and taking the degree of this mapping (from an (n − 1)-dimensional sphere to another one) in the usual sense. 0 < t < 1. β from p to q. When n = 2. One can write down the differential of πx explicitly. If τ is a function on Q which equals 0 on α and 1 on β (and is somewhat singular at p and q). The boundary of Q can be thought of as a pair of paths α. it is not so clear how to produce families of curves like these without some explicit information about the space M in question. (See [Mas. For the more general setting of Theorem 4.12) {x ∈ R2 : τ (x) = t}.11 one needs to proceed somewhat differently.13) This projection is topologically nondegenerate. Such families exist (with suitable bounds) when M admits a bilipschitz parameterization by Rn . and they also exist in more singular circumstances. imagine a standard square Q. where dπx(u) denotes the differential of πx at u. For a certain class of conformal deformations of R2 one can make constructions of functions τ with approximately the same behavior as in the case of the standard metric. there is an associated spherical projection πx : n R \{x} → Sn−1 given by πx (u) = u−x . each with two segments. and from these one can get controlled families of curves. in the sense that it has degree equal to 1. Mil3.) Also. with M a certain kind of (nonsmooth) conformal deformation of Rn . two sides of Q. this mapping satisfies the bound (4. Unfortunately. and C is some constant. |u − x| (4. These constructions of functions τ used the standard Euclidean geometry in the background in an important way. For the standard geometry on R2 one can write down a good family of curves and a good function τ explicitly. Given a point x in Rn . 32 .

Morg].1) in the following manner.17) Rn df ∧ λ = −f (x) when f is a smooth function on Rn with compact support. (The latter is one way to formulate the fact that the degree of πx is 1. where C is a slightly different constant from before.16). and not available in general. Sim]. z) be as before. but this precision is not needed here. and because the pull-back of a closed form is always closed.) The general idea of the mapping πx also makes sense in the context of Theorem 4. This permits one to take the exterior derivative of λ on all of Rn in the (distributional) sense of currents [Fed. using the “co-area theorem” [Fed. and normalized so that (4. λ is locally integrable across x (and smooth everywhere else). and the result is that dλ is the current of degree n which is a Dirac mass at x. In particular. which uses the observation that the integral of λ over any (n − 1)-sphere in Rn around x is equal to 1. d(y. One can also think of πx as giving (4. Sn−1 Let λ denote the differential form on Rn \{0} obtained by pulling ω back using πx.11. More precisely.and (4. and bounds for the distribution of their arclength measures can be seen as a consequence of (4.14) can be replaced by an equality.14) yields (4. because of (4.18) |dπx (u)| ≤ K d(u.16) |λ(u)| ≤ C |u − x|−n+1 for all u ∈ Rn \{x}. One would like to find a mapping πx : M \{x} → Sn−1 which is topologically nondegenerate and satisfies (4. Let ω denote the standard volume form on Sn−1 .15) ω = 1.) This characterization of dλ as a current on Rn means that (4. dλ = 0 away from x because ω is automatically closed (being a form of top degree on Sn−1 ). Then (4. a differential form of degree n − 1. The Dirac mass at x comes from a standard Stokes’ theorem computation. (A similar use of differential forms was employed in [DaviS1]. This yields (4. The rays in Rn that emanate from x are exactly the fibers of the mapping πx .14). x)−1 33 . Morg. Let M . and fix a point x in M .1).

At this stage the hypotheses of Theorem 4. with control on the way that their arclength measures are distributed in M . through the use of co-area estimates.11 permit one to reduce various constructions and comparisons to finite models of controlled complexity. except for the question of uniform bounds. This means moving them both in terms of location (the center of the supporting ball) and scale (the radius of the ball).for some constant K and all u ∈ M \{x}. For the topological nondegeneracy of πx . In the proof of Theorem 4. because of the a priori assumption that M be smooth. The hypotheses of Theorem 4. let us ask that it have nonzero degree on small spheres in M that surround x in a standard way.11 (the doubling condition and local linear contractability) are also in the nature of quantitative topology.8) as a consequence. using the same kind of argument with differential forms as above. If one can produce such a mapping πx. and which satisfy suitable bounds on their differentials.11 there are three related pieces of information that come out. topologically nontrivial (in the sense of nonzero degree). (The local linear contractability condition restricts the overall distances by which points are displaced in the contractions. as in [DaviS1]. This makes sense. namely (1) estimates for the behavior of functions on our 34 . These mappings are like snapshots of pieces of M . that the kind of bounds involved in the hypotheses of the theorem and the construction of mappings into spheres are somewhat different from each other. with bounds on the differentials being crucial for the latter.) In the end the bounds for the differentials come about because the hypotheses of Theorem 4.11 may make more sense. In the context of conformal deformations of Rn . For Theorem 4. as in a modulus of continuity. In this stabilized version one looks for mappings from M to Sn (instead of Sn−1 ) which are constant outside of a (given) ball. the method of [Sem9] does not use mappings quite like πx . such mappings πx can be obtained as perturbations to the standard mapping in (4.11. however. One can also find enough curves in the fibers of πx . Note. For this the topological nondegeneracy of πx is needed for showing that the fibers of πx connect x to infinity in M . and one has to move them around in a controlled manner. This is described in [Sem10]. while control over moduli of continuity does not come up in the former.13). Note that now the norm of the differential of πx involves the Riemannian metric on M . Existence of mappings like the ones described above is a standard matter in topology. but a “stabilized” version from which one can draw similar conclusions. then one can derive (4. but not the sizes of the smaller-scale oscillations.

and because one seeks uniform bounds. Each would be immediate if M had a bilipschitz parameterization by Rn . This problem is the same in essence as asking which (positive) functions on Rn arise as the Jacobian of a quasiconformal mapping. but this does not matter too much. as in (4. but in fact they are more robust than that. Indeed. the conformal factor or prospective Jacobian. It was natural to wonder whether the necessary conditions were also sufficient. one of the original motivations for [DaviS1] was the problem of determining which conformal deformations of Rn lead to metric spaces (through the geodesic distance) which are bilipschitz equivalent to Rn . (Another class of counterexamples were based on a different mechanism. independently of whether these conditions were sufficient for the existence of bilipschitz/quasiconformal mappings as above. As a test for this. and much easier to verify. (2) families of curves in M which are well-distributed in terms of arclength measure. through various dualities. The deformations are allowed to be nonsmooth here. For some other aspects of “quantitative topology”. AleV2. and in fact are much better than that. Some natural necessary conditions are known for these questions. 35 .) These counterexamples are all perfectly well-behaved in terms of the doubling and local linear contractability properties. in much the same fashion as in Section 3. see [Ale.space M in terms of their derivatives. (Dimension 2 remains open.8).) The simplest counterexamples involved considerations of localized fundamental groups. AleV3. at least in dimensions 3 and higher. In [Sem8] it was shown that the candidate conditions are not sufficient for the existence of such mappings. although these did not start in dimension 3. and (3) mappings to spheres with certain estimates and nondegeneracy properties. [DaviS1] looked at the Sobolev and related inequalities that would follow if the necessary conditions were sufficient. These inequalities could be stated directly in terms of the data of the problems. with a principal ingredient coming from [Geh3]. These three kinds of information are closely linked. but to some extent they also have their own lives. modulo multiplication by a positive function which is bounded and bounded away from 0. Part of the bottom line here is that spaces can have geometry which behaves quite well for many purposes even if they do not behave so well in terms of parameterizations. because of the natural scale-invariance of the problem. The conclusion of [DaviS1] was that these inequalities could be derived directly from the conditions on the data.

The following is a preliminary concept that helps to set the stage. and relies on measure theory in a crucial way. 5 Uniform rectifiability A basic fact in topology is that there are spaces which are manifold factors but not manifolds. Related matters of a a a Sobolev and other inequalities on non-smooth spaces come up in [HeiKo2. A set E contained in Rn is said to be (Ahlfors) regular of dimension d if it is closed.e. there are topological spaces M such that M × R is a manifold (locally homeomorphic to a Euclidean space) but M is not. V¨i6]. with no lowerdimensional pieces sticking off in an isolated manner). See [Dave2. It tolerates some amount of singularities. like holes and crossings. this definition asks that E behave like ordinary Euclidean space in terms of the distribution of its mass. Notice that d-planes satisfy this condition automatically. with µ equal to the ordinary d-dimensional volume.) Uniform rectifiability is a notion of controlled geometry that trades topology for estimates. Att2. and avoids some common difficulties with homeomorphisms. because of the double-suspension results of Edwards and Cannon..1 (Ahlfors regularity) Fix n and d. in connection with the behavior of quasiconformal mappings. ChaF. Edw2. Kir] for more information and specific examples. HeiKo+]. Pet2. BloW. (We shall say a bit more about this in Appendix C. HeiY. Fer2. Pet1. TukV. Fer1. In many respects it is analogous to the notion of BMO from Section 2. Luu. Geh2. Definition 5. HeiKo2. The same is true for compact smooth manifolds. and finite polyhedra which are given as unions of d-dimensional simplices (i. This can even happen for finite polyhedra. That is. The precise definition is slightly technical. There are also plenty 36 . V¨i3. and if there is a positive Borel measure µ supported on E and a constant C > 0 such that (5. r) denotes the (open) ball with center x and radius r. Gro2. with n a positive integer and 0 < d ≤ n. r)) ≤ C rd for all x ∈ E and 0 < r ≤ diam E. such as manifold factors. HeiS. V¨i5. Fer3. Che. Gro1.2) C −1 rd ≤ µ(B(x.Att1. Here B(x. Roughly speaking. Fer4.

4 should be compared with the classical notion of (countable) rectifiability.of “fractal” examples. and let µ be a positive measure on E as in Definition 5. In particular. where d is a positive integer. except that we allow for holes and singularities. each of which is bilipschitz equivalent to a subset of Rd .4 (Uniform rectifiability) Let E be a subset of Rn which is Ahlfors regular of dimension d. because it provides quantitative information at definite scales. Definition 5. r) of E there should be a large subset. Then E is uniformly rectifiable if there exists a positive constant k so that for each x ∈ E and each r > 0 with r ≤ diam E there is a closed subset A of E ∩ B(x.1. where k is a positive number. Let us recall the definition of a bilipschitz mapping. µ and H d are each bounded by constant multiples of the other when applied to subsets of E. In other words. Specifically. We say that f is k-bilipschitz.1. like self-similar Cantor sets and snowflake curves. r) such that 9 · µ(E ∩ B(x. inside of each “snapshot” E ∩B(x.6) there is a k-bilipschitz mapping f from A into Rd . and it shows that µ is essentially unique. but it is stronger. This is like asking for a controlled parameterization. r)) (5. and let f be a mapping from A to some other set in Rn . Definition 5. This is not hard to prove.5) µ(A) ≥ 10 and (5. Let A be a set in Rn .1 could have been formulated directly in terms of Hausdorff measure. which is bilipschitz equivalent to a subset of Rd . Uniform rectifiability implies this condition.3) for all x. Definition 5. in which one asks that E be covered. the dimension d can be any (positive) real number. A basic fact is that if E is regular and µ is as in Definition 5. by a countable union of sets. and with a uniform bound on the bilipschitz constant. then µ is practically the same as d-dimensional Hausdorff measure H d restricted to E. except for a set of measure 0. with at least 90% of the points. y ∈ A. while the classical notion really only gives asymptotic information as one zooms in 37 k −1 |x − y| ≤ |f (x) − f (y)| ≤ k |x − y| . if (5. d < n. but the version above is a bit more elementary.

Sem8]. suppose that f is a locally-integrable function on Rk .at almost any point. Uniform rectifiability provides a substitute for (complete) bilipschitz coordinates in much the same way that BMO provides a substitute for L∞ bounds. The use of arbitrary scales and locations is an important part of the story here. and the observations about them in [SieS].6). We shall see other manifestations of this later. and is very similar to the concept of BMO. This is true just because of the way they are defined.e. Fed. Mat] for more information about classical rectifiability. Note that L∞ bounds and bilipschitz coordinates automatically entail uniform control over all scales and locations. Dave2. the bad set may seem pretty wild. Thus. and in particular to balls in which the bad set is concentrated. Edw2]. since 1 (5.t) are uniformly bounded. and with a uniform majorant. i. Further examples are given in [Sem7. so that ωk tk is the volume of B(z.8) f (w) dw f (u) = lim t→0 ωk tk B(z.5) or (5. a bounded function is bounded in all snapshots.7) 1 ωk t k |f (w)| dw B(z. Here ωk denotes the volume of the unit ball in Rk . and that the averages (5. At the level of a single snapshot. independently of z and t.. This implies that f must itself be bounded by the same amount almost everywhere on Rk . Normally one would be much happier to simply have bilipschitz coordinates outright. With BMO and uniform rectifiability the scale-invariance is imposed by hand.t) 38 . as in Section 2. t). It may be a little surprising that one can get anything new through concepts like BMO and uniform rectifiability. This is illustrated by the double-suspension spheres of Edwards and Cannon [Can1. without having to allow for bad sets of small measure where this does not work. applies to all snapshots equally. inside the bad set. r) centered on E. However. like BMO. Can3. there are in fact further controls. uniform rectifiability. In practice bilipschitz coordinates simply do not exist in many situations where one might otherwise hope to have them. For instance. as nothing is said about what goes on there in (5. See [Fal. a fixed ball B(x. and the same basic principle is used in the John–Nirenberg theorem for BMO functions (discussed in Section 2).

Now-a-days we have better technology. (See [Cal1. Another answer lies in a theme often articulated by Coifman. These remarks might explain why some condition like uniform rectifiability could be useful or natural. then E is uniformly rectifiable. the 9/10 in (5. which allows for versions of this which are localized to individual “snapshots”.3 of [DaviS11] helping 39 . Cal2. Theorem 5.9 has been proved by G. MatMV.10). about the way that operator theory can provide a good guide for geometry. a converse was established.9 Let E be a subset of Rn which is regular of dimension d. CoiMcM] and the references therein for related work connected to the Calder´n program. See [DaviS11] (with some of the remarks in Section 12. Theorem 5. Davi3. For instance. See [DaviS3. DaviS5. David [Davi2. but why the specific version above in particular? Part of the answer to this is that nearly all definitions of this nature are equivalent to the formulation given above.9). One of the original motivations for uniform rectifiability came from the “Calder´n o p program” [Cal2]. Uniform rectifiability is like this as well. In other words. although with different kinds of “renormalizations” available. CoiDM. If E is also a d-dimensional topological manifold and satisfies the local linear contractability condition (Definition 4. See also [DaviS2. concerning the L -boundedness of certain singular operators on curves and surfaces of minimal smoothness. Davi5] showed that uniform rectifiability of a set E implies Lp -boundedness of wide classes of singular operators on E. and this gives enough room for some unbounded functions. Note that Ahlfors-regularity automatically implies the doubling condition (Definition 4.) o In [DaviS3]. Here is a concrete statement about uniform rectifiability in situations where well-behaved parameterizations would be natural but may not exist.almost everywhere on Rk . For BMO the situation is different because one asks only for a uniform bound on the mean oscillation in every ball. DaviS5] for more information. rather than using all scales and locations at once. like log |x|. David and myself. Thus a uniform bound for the size of the snapshots does imply a uniform bound outright. MatP]. so that uniform rectifiability of an Ahlfors-regular set E is actually equivalent to the boundedness of a suitable class of singular integral operators (inherited from the ambient Euclidean space Rn ).5) can be replaced by any number strictly between 0 and 1. one also has the freedom to make renormalizations by additive constants when moving from place to place.

fractal behavior. (Compare with Section 4. Additional counterexamples are given in [Sem7.3. especially Theorem 4. then it automatically holds for the other. bilipschitz coordinates are at the high end of what one can hope for in the context of Theorem 5. In other words. and bubbles with very small necks.. or if E were compact and admitted bilipschitz local coordinates from Rd . it can easily happen that a set E satisfies the hypotheses of Theorem 5. Double-suspension spheres provide spectacular counterexamples for this (using the observations of [SieS]).9 but does not admit bilipschitz local coordinates. near the end of Subsection 5. upper bounds for the d-dimensional Hausdorff measure of K together with lower bounds for the d-dimensional topology of K should lead to strong information about the geometric behavior of K.11 and the discussion of its proof and consequences. Since the existence of bilipschitz coordinates implies the hypotheses of Theorem 5. To understand better what Theorem 5.9.9 are “bilipschitz invariant”. Sem6] for more on this. We shall say a bit more about this. like cusps.to provide a bridge to the present formulation). we cannot ask for more than that in the conclusions. which is part of the point. i. 40 . if F is another subset of Rn which is bilipschitz equivalent to E. We should perhaps emphasize that the assumption of being a topological manifold in Theorem 5. self-intersections and approximate self-intersections.9 holds for one of E and F . a test of the hypotheses of Theorem 5. DaviS11.9 means.9 do in fact rule out a lot of basic obstructions to the existence of bilipschitz coordinates. See [DaviS9.e. One can think of Theorem 5. A similar argument shows that the hypotheses of Theorem 5. in Ahlfors-regularity.9 and related results in the following terms. where it can then be resolved in a straightforward manner.9. the linear contractability condition. By contrast. In the context of Theorem 5. Given a compact set K. but weaker conditions could be used. More precisely. there are natural variations of local linear contractability too.9. Sem8]. and if the hypotheses of Theorem 5. For that matter. uniform rectifiability does involve bounds. the proof shows that the uniform rectifiability constants for the conclusion are controlled in terms of the constants that are implicit in the hypotheses.9 would hold automatically if E were bilipschitz equivalent to Rd . The hypotheses of Theorem 5.9 on E can be converted into a similar test on Rd . Under these conditions.9 does not involve bounds. let us begin by observing that the hypotheses of Theorem 5.) Nonetheless. The requirement that E be a topological manifold is convenient.

if P is an n-dimensional polyhedron which is the doublesuspension of an (n − 2)-dimensional homology sphere that is not simply connected. instead of bounding the “rate” of continuity through Lipschitz conditions like (5. around these points in P . o This comes from the same argument as in [SieS]. what happens if one asks for less? What if one asks for homeomorphic local coordinates with some control.9.10) |f (x) − f (y)| ≤ C |x − y| (for some C and all x. (5. As o usual. i. but not as much? For instance. H¨lder continuous and with H¨lder continuous ino o o verse. then there are points in P (along the “suspension circle”) for which bi-H¨lder local coordinates of exponent γ > 1/(n − 2) do not exist. one could work with H¨lder o continuity conditions. and with a fixed constant C . γ ≤ 1. It turns out that double-suspension spheres do not admit bi-H¨lder o local coordinates when the H¨lder exponent γ lies above an explicit thresho old. and even “quasisymmetric” [TukV] coordinates. More precisely. but for which no uniform modulus of 41 . Specifically. this type of condition is strictly weaker than that of being Lipschitz. When x and y are close to each other and γ is less than 1. there do not exist homeomorphic local coordinates from subsets of Rn for which the inverse mapping is H¨lder continuous of order o γ > 1/(n − 2) (without requiring a H¨lder condition for the mapping itself). g(x) = |x|γ is a basic example of a function that is H¨lder continuous of order γ.11) is supposed to hold simultaneously for all x and y in the domain of f . Just as f (x) = |x| is a standard example of a Lipschitz function that is not differentiable at the origin. but not of any order o larger than γ. sometimes called the H¨lder “exponent”.. and they satisfy the hypotheses of Theorem 5. If bilipschitz coordinates are at the high end of what one could hope for. Here γ is a positive number.and the dimension.9. there are examples in [Sem8] so that local coordinates (at some points) cannot have their inverses be H¨lder continuous o of order a. in any neighborhood of the origin.e. o Given any positive number a. Instead of local coordinates which are bilipschitz. In [Sem7] there are examples which satisfy the hypotheses of Theorem 5. one could consider ones that are “bi-H¨lder”.11) |f (x) − f (y)| ≤ C |x − y|γ . which have the form (5. These examples do admit bi-H¨lder local coordinates (with a o smaller exponent). y in the domain of f ).

1 Smoothness of Lipschitz and bilipschitz mappings Another aspect of uniform rectifiability is that it provides the same amount of “smoothness” as when there is a global bilipschitz parameterization. let us first look at the smoothness of Lipschitz and bilipschitz mappings. Bilipschitz mappings are always Lipschitz.continuity for local coordinate mappings and their inverses is possible (over all scales and locations). they say a lot about the asymptotic behavior (on average) of Lipschitz mappings at very small scales. One should also not worry too much about the difference between Lipschitz mappings which are defined on all of Rd . because the former is a vector space (and even a Banach space) while the latter is not. For considerations of “smoothness” we might as well restrict our attention to functions which are real-valued. The space of Lipschitz mappings is a bit simpler than the space of bilipschitz mappings. and ones that are only defined on a subset. A mapping f : Rd → Rn is Lipschitz if there is a constant C so that (5. and anything that can happen with Lipschitz mappings can also happen with bilipschitz mappings (by adding new components. if one permits oneself to replace the image Rn with a Euclidean space of larger dimension (which is not too serious in the present context). 5. but they do not tell the whole story. and that for each η > 0 they can be modified on sets of Lebesgue measure less than η (depending on the function) in such a way as to become continuously differentiable everywhere. These are well-known results. y in Rd . 42 . See [Fed]. Two basic facts about Lipschitz functions on Rd are that they are differentiable almost everywhere (with respect to Lebesgue measure).10) holds for all x. though. or considering x + h(x) when h(x) has Lipschitz norm less than 1 to get a bilipschitz mapping). since the Rn -valued case can always be reduced to that. This is a standard fact. They are not quantitative. To make this precise. there is not really any difference between the two. There are also extension results for bilipschitz mappings. For the purposes of “smoothness” properties. Related topics will be discussed in Appendix C. but they do not say anything about what happens at scales of definite size. Lipschitz mappings into Rn that are defined on a subset of Rd can always be extended to Lipschitz mappings on all of Rd .

t) sup t−1 |f (y) − A(y)|. The part on the right side of (5. and fix a point x ∈ Rd and a radius t > 0. Here is a simple example. t). using Taylor’s theorem. because we can take A(y) to be the constant function equal to the value of f at x.14) α(x.13) α(x.12) α(x. and then the infimum gives us the best approximation by any affine function for a particular choice of x and t.12) with just the supremum (and not the infimum) measures how well the particular affine function A approximates f inside B(x. let a Lipschitz mapping f : Rd → R be given. If 0 < δ < 1. then estimates like (5. The factor of t−1 makes α(x. t) scale properly. The smallness of α(x. In particular. To do this we define the quantity α(x. Let us take d = 1. We want to measure how well f is approximated by an affine function on the ball B(x. t). t) by (5. This is not hard to check. For functions which are twice-continuously differentiable one can get estimates like (5. t) = 0 t→0 for almost every x. gρ (x) is Lipschitz with norm 1 no matter how ρ is chosen.To make this precise. Now. for instance.16) gρ (x) = ρ · sin(x/ρ) on R. α(x. because one does not know how long one might have to wait before the limiting behavior kicks in. Here A denotes the (vector space) of affine functions on Rd . t) = inf A∈A y∈B(x. and be dimensionless. This does not say anything about any particular t. Differentiability almost everywhere of f implies that (5. one can take the derivative to get that (5. t) provides a manifestation of the smoothness of f . t) = O(tδ ) (locally uniformly in x) correspond to H¨lder continuity of the gradient of f o of order δ. t) = O(t). Here ρ is any positive number. and consider the function (5.15) lim α(x. t) is uniformly bounded in x and t when f is Lipschitz.17) gρ (x) = cos(x/ρ) 43 .

The bad behavior cannot always be confined to a single scale — one might have sums of functions like the gρ ’s. gρ (x) is approximately affine. but the bad behavior is confined to approximately just one scale. as mentioned above. no matter how large or small. This implies that (5. However. t) will not be too small when t is equal to ρ. and that bad scale can be arbitrarily large or small. In other words. because one can use scaling arguments to reduce the lower bound to the case where ρ = 1. because α(x. so that one cannot avoid the problem by removing a set of small measure or anything like that. Fix a radius r > 0. because of the mean-value theorem. Fix a ρ. We assume that a lipschitz function f on Rd has been fixed. At scales much smaller than ρ. or much larger than ρ.) If ρ is very small. but they will be small when t is either much smaller than ρ. and define a family of functions which try to count the number of “bad” scales associated to a given point x. for the functions gρ (x) there is always a bad scale where the α(x. there is then a positive lower bound for α(x. or the fundamental theorem of calculus. because the smoothness of the sine function has a chance to kick in. as before. This is not hard to verify directly.18) |gρ (u) − gρ (v)| ≤ |u − v| for all u and v (and all ρ). Let us be more precise. Given x ∈ Rd . there is something else that one can observe about these examples. The corresponding quantities α(x. on average. but with very different choices of ρ — but. It turns out that something similar happens for arbitrary Lipschitz functions. Thus a bound on the Lipschitz norm is not enough to say anything about when the limit in (5. define Nr (x) to be the number of nonnegative 44 . (One also has that |gρ (x)| = 1 at some points. t)’s may not be small. In fact. then one has to wait a long time before the limit in (5.15) takes full effect. These examples work uniformly in x. while at larger scales gρ (x) is simply small outright compared to t (and one can take A = 0 as the approximating affine function). which will provide our threshold for what is considered “small”. One does not really have to worry about ρ here. so that the Lipschitz norm is always equal to 1. the bad behavior is limited to a bounded number of scales. and also a small number . t) will not be small when t = ρ.15) will take effect.so that |gρ (x)| ≤ 1 everywhere. t) that does not depend on x or ρ (assuming that t is taken to be equal to ρ).

and there is nothing to do. and dist(x. For the functions gρ (x) in (5.15) implies that Nr (x) < ∞ for almost all x. Another interesting class of examples to consider are functions of the form (5. r. with Nr (x) behaving roughly like log(r/|x|).20) for B centered at 0. let us consider some examples. namely that the average of Nr (x) over any ball B in Rd of radius r is finite and uniformly bounded. Notice that the bound does depend on . If one is far enough away from the origin (compared to r). and ρ. F ) is defined (as usual) by (5. F ) = inf{|x − z| : z ∈ F }. This is a kind of “Carleson measure condition”. F ). (5.23) dist(x. t) is positive and independent of t. In general one can have mixtures of the two types of phenomena. and f Lip denotes the Lipschitz norm of f . That is. Before we get to the reason for this bound. it blows up as → 0. In fact it has a logarithmic singularity near 0. s) is a constant that depends only on n and s. 2−j r) ≥ . It is easy to see that (5. There is a more quantitative statement which is true.21) f (x) = |x|. For this function we have that Nr (0) = ∞ as soon as is small enough. and this is compatible with (5. This is because α(0. As another example.e. so that (5.16). the functions Nr (x) are simply uniformly bounded. where F is some nonempty subset of Rd which is not all of Rd . −1 f Lip ). and below the radius r. Depending on the behavior of the set F . then Nr (x) simply vanishes.integers j such that (5.19) α(x.22) f (x) = dist(x.20) r−d B Nr (x) dx ≤ C(n. Thus Nr (x) is not uniformly bounded in this case.19) holds for all j when is sufficiently small. i. These j’s represent the “bad” scales for the point x. where C(n. independently of the ball B and the choice of r. This is not hard to check.. consider the function f defined by (5. this function can have 45 . It is a standard exercise that such a function f is always Lipschitz with norm at most 1. independently of x.

There is more to the matter of smoothness of Lipschitz functions than this. The α(x. In particular. t)’s tend to 0 uniformly as t → 0. some of whose classical manifestations are described in [Ste1]. and indeed (5. harmonic analysis provides a fairly thorough understanding of the sizes of the α(x. At a more practical level. the values of f become small in compensation. There are stronger estimates available than (5. t)’s and related quantities. The present discussion is closer in spirit to [Dor] for the measurements of oscillation used.plenty of sharp corners.20) can be derived from the results in [Dor]. the affine approximations keep spinning around as t → 0. and with quantitative estimates. and yet the derivative fails to exist at almost every point. Whenever the elements of F become dense enough to make a lot of oscillations. one can work with sums of the form (5. called Littlewood–Paley theory. but to get this one should modify the definition of α(x. rather than the supremum. the oscillations can occur at lots of different scales as one moves from point to point. for instance. Instead of simply counting how often the α(x. t)’s. However. t)’s are larger than some threshold.20)? This is part of a larger story in harmonic analysis. 2 −j r) q 1 q . there are classical examples of functions for which the α(x. (One can consider situations where F has points at regularly-spaced intervals. however. as in the definition of Nr (x) above. without settling down on a particular affine function. (That the choice of q = 2 is the “right” one reflects some underlying orthogonality. t). and is a basic point of Littlewood–Paley theory. t) (in most dimensions) so that the measurement of approximation of f by an affine function uses a suitable Lp norm. Roughly speaking.) How might one prove an estimate like (5. q = 2 is best because it works for the estimates for the α(x. one does not really have oscillations at different scales overlapping each other. 46 .24) ∞ j=0 α(x. like |x| has at the origin. and plenty of oscillations roughly like the ones in the functions gρ . t)’s and allows reverse estimates for the size of the gradient of f in terms of the sizes of the α(x. This works for Lipschitz functions.20). The “right” choice of q is 2.) In short. but they do not say too much about how these approximating affine functions might change with x and t. t)’s measure how well a given function f can be approximated by an affine function on a ball B(x. In fact. and more generally for functions in Sobolev spaces.

and between 47 . t)’s. as in [Garn]. in much the same manner as before. Differentials of mappings correspond to tangent planes for sets. For example. For this there are uniform bounds on the averages of these numbers. In fact. but in fact it is a very robust real-variable method. Again one fixes a threshold .2 Smoothness and uniform rectifiability The preceding discussion of smoothness for Lipschitz and bilipschitz mappings has natural extensions to the geometry of sets in Euclidean spaces. and one that is quite different from what is suggested more naively by the definition (5. quantitative estimates are possible. would prevent this from happening.2 of [DaviS5].20). as in (5.10). 5. This type of quantitative control on the oscillations of the gradients of the affine approximations of f comes from Carleson’s Corona construction. one can consider approximations of sets by affine planes.2 on p348 of [Garn]. The Corona construction and the known estimates for affine approximations as discussed above provide a fairly complete picture of the “smoothness” of Lipschitz functions. A more detailed discussion of the Corona construction in the context of Lipschitz functions can be found in Chapter IV. This is consistent with the correspondence between affine functions and d-planes. the existence of the differential almost everywhere implies that for almost every x the gradients of the approximating affine functions on B(x. and one can measure how many oscillations of size at least there are in the gradients of the affine approximations as t ranges between 0 and r. This construction was initially applied to the behavior of bounded holomorphic functions in the unit disk of the complex plane. They also provide an interesting way to look at “complexity” of Lipschitz functions. just as in (5. (A faster rate of decay for the α(x. the type of bound just mentioned in the previous paragraph (on the average number of oscillations of the gradients of the affine approximations as t goes from r to 0) is completely analogous to one for the boundary behavior of harmonic functions given in Corollary 6.) For Lipschitz functions. t) do not have to spin around by more than a finite amount as t goes between some fixed number r and 0. One can think of “embedding” the discussion for functions into one for sets by taking a function and replacing it with its graph.14). Instead of approximations of functions by affine functions.as would happen when the derivative exists.

t) defined by (5. t) is always less than or equal to 1. then there is a simple correspondence between the β(x. t) is.23). Here “quadratic” means q = 2 in the context of (5. Notice that β(x. t). The smoothness of E is reflected in how small β(x.1 in [DaviS5] for some o general statements of this nature. Jones showed how quadratic estimates on the β’s could actually be used to characterize subsets of rectifiable curves. In other words. It turns out that the type of estimates that one gets for the β’s in this way when E is bilipschitz equivalent to Rd also work when E is uniformly rectifiable. as one can see by taking P to be any d-plane that goes through x. especially a theorem of Str¨mberg. In particular. In analogy with (5. and let x ∈ E and t > 0 be given. be more directly linked to the ordinary Pythagorean theorem. If E is the image of a bilipschitz mapping φ : Rd → Rn . Roughly speaking. he used the sharp quadratic estimates that correspond to Littlewood–Paley theory to give a new approach to the L2 boundedness of the Cauchy integral operator on nonsmooth curves. This permits one to transfer the estimates for the α’s on Rd to estimates for the β’s on E. t) a scale-invariant. no matter the behavior of E. t)’s on E and the α(z.) To my knowledge. t)}. this because the estimates for the α’s and β’s are not uniform ones. Jones [Jon1]. P ) is defined as in (5. The factor of t−1 in (5. s)’s for φ on Rd . This is very much analogous to results in the context of BMO functions. and one could also go backwards.24).differentials and tangent planes. t) = inf sup{t−1 dist(y. can. as in [Jon3]. A completion of Jones’ results for 1-dimensional sets in Euclidean spaces of 48 . consider the quantity β(x. which come naturally from orthogonality considerations in Littlewood–Paley theory and harmonic analysis. and in a way which is compatible with the measure-theoretic aspects of the Definition 5.12). but involve some kind of integration.12) to the context of sets? Fix a set E in Rn and a dimension d < n. How might one generalize the α(x. t). P ∈Pd Here Pd denotes the set of d-dimensional affine planes in Rn . dimensionless quantity. t)’s (5. and we look at the optimal degree of approximation of E by d-planes in B(x. in this context. The quadratic nature of the estimates. we take a “snapshot” of E inside the ball B(x.4. (See Chapter IV. the first person to look at estimates like these for sets was P. and dist(y. P ) : y ∈ E ∩ B(x.25) β(x.25) makes β(x. In [Jon3].

In higher dimensions none of these things are true. which the definition of β(x. This corresponds to the situation for sharp estimates of quantities like α(x. using arclength. For rectifiable curves there is a canonical way to regulate the “speed” of a parameterization. t) itself in general. and a recurring theme of classical topology. given a set E in Rn . Making parameterizations for 1-dimensional sets is largely a matter of ordering. then the uniform rectifiability of E is equivalent to certain quadratic Carleson measure conditions for quantities like β(x. t) in (5. t) in the context of Lipschitz functions. There is a “bilateral” version. P.higher dimension was given in [Oki]. More precisely. t)} + sup{t−1 dist(z. set (5. t) = inf Approx(E. t). if E is a d-dimensional Ahlforsregular set in Rn .25)) as well as distances from points in the d-plane to E.25) (there are counterexamples due to Fang and Jones). This takes “holes” in E into account. Specifically. In [DeTY] a different uˇ kind of “normalized coordinates” are discussed for d = 3. Analogues of Jones’ results for (Ahlfors-regular) sets of higher dimension are given in [DaviS3].27) bβ(x. x. P ) : y ∈ E ∩ B(x. M¨lS.26) Approx(E. although conformal coordinates sometimes provide a partial substitute when d = 2.. (See also Appendix C in connection with these topics. and a d-plane P in Rn .e. HeiKo1. t) = sup{t−1 dist(y. Sem7].25). The problem of building parameterizations is quite different when d > 1 than in the 1-dimensional case. t)’s from (5. P. t) = 0 if and only if there is a d-plane P0 such that every 49 . One cannot use β(x. in which one measures both the distance from points in E to the approximating d-plane (as in (5. t) provides a natural version of the α(x. but the underlying partial differential equation is unfortunately not elliptic. This is a basic fact. t) by P ∈Pd (5. but instead one can replace the supremum with a suitable Lp norm for a range of p’s that depends on the dimension (and is connected to Sobolev embeddings). See [DaviS4. as in [Dor]. x. it is not the only choice to consider.25) of β(x. t)} and then define the bilateral version of β(x. E) : z ∈ P ∩ B(x. lining up the points in a good way. a point x ∈ E.) Although this definition (5. Sem3. For instance. t) does not. i.12). with the supremum on the right side of (5. a radius t > 0. β(x. Part of the point of uniform rectifiability was exactly to try to come to grips with the issue of parameterizations in higher dimensions.

t) lies in P0 . as in the definition of Ahlfors regularity). estimates like these for the bβ’s are sufficient to imply the uniform rectifiability of the set E. One does have mass bounds for the examples in [DaviS3] (of totally-unrectifiable Ahlfors-regular sets for which the β(x. Similarly. In the context of functions. in which one makes comparisons with other collections of sets besides d-planes. at least if E is Ahlfors-regular of dimension d.. A slightly surprising fact is that the converse is also true. t)’s tending to 0 uniformly as t → 0. t)’s. There are a number of variants of the bβ’s. See [DaviS5]. by definition. the fact that suitable thresholding conditions on the bβ’s are sufficient to imply uniform rectifiability relies heavily on the assumption that E be Ahlfors-regular. and no counterpart to the mass bounds are included in the above-mentioned examples for functions. as in [Mat]. Note that this result for the bβ’s does have antecedents for the classical notion of (countable) rectifiability. there are Ahlfors-regular sets which are “totally unrectifiable” (in the sense of [Fal. For uniformly rectifiable sets one has bounds on the averages of Nr (x) exactly as in (5. On the other hand. for instance. but settle for cruder “thresholding” conditions.20). in that one can have the α(x. The bβ’s.point in E ∩ B(x.19)). as we did before. and there the issue is more in the size of the holes in the set. and define a function Nr (x) which counts the number of times that bβ(x. t) lies in E (assuming that E is closed.1. Imagine that we do not look for something like sharp quadratic estimates.1). like unions of d-planes. this type of thresholding condition is too weak. i. 2−j r) is greater than or equal to . one might fix an > 0.1. Fed. This is a geometric version of the information that one can get about a Lipschitz function from the methods of Carleson’s Corona construction (as mentioned in Subsection 5. with j ∈ Z+ (as in the discussion around (5. while mass bounds are part of the conclusion (rather than the hypothesis) in Jones’ results. in the following sense. It turns out that the bβ(x. while for bβ(x. as discussed in Subsection 5. Roughly speaking. t)’s going to 0 uniformly as t → 0 for functions which are differentiable almost nowhere.e. Perhaps the strongest formulation of smoothness for uniformly rectifiable sets is the existence of a “Corona decomposition”. (See [DaviS3]. in this condition one controls not only how often E is well50 . t) to be 0 it should also be true that every point in P0 ∩ B(x. Mat]) and have the β(x. t)’s behave a bit differently from the β(x. t)’s tend to 0 uniformly as t → 0). In other words.) For the bβ’s the story is simply different. but now integrating over E instead of Rd . This was proved in [DaviS5]. control the sizes of holes. as mentioned in Subsection 5.

the existence of a Corona decomposition is perhaps the most useful way of managing the complexity of a uniformly rectifiable set. and assume that g is positive. DaviS10. Once one has a Corona decomposition. Sem1] for more information about Corona decompositions of uniformly rectifiable sets and the way that they can be used. but how fast the d-planes turn as well. concerning a minimal surface problem with nonsmooth coefficients. it is a stopping-time argument. 51 . In fact.approximated by a d-plane. See [GarnJ. Let g(x) be a Borel measurable function on Rn . then there is a good chance that it is. This can also be formulated in terms of good approximations of E by flat Lipschitz graphs. the basic procedure for finding Corona decompositions when they exist is discussed. This is a nice point. This as opposed to sets which look roughly as though they should admit a well-behaved (homeomorphic) parameterization. and one which is fairly simple (and very similar to Carleson’s Corona construction). Although a bit technical. there is a general procedure for finding a Corona decomposition when it exists. because in general it is not so easy to build something like a good parameterization of a set. Jon3] for some other situations in which Carleson’s Corona construction is used geometrically. In particular. In this context. DaviS5. 5. DaviS3. See [DaviS2. Specifically. Jon1. Conversely. in practice the existence of a Corona decomposition can be a good place to start if one wants to prove that a set is uniformly rectifiable. The paper [DaviS10] is written in such a way as to try to convey some of the basic concepts and constructions without worrying about why the theorems are true (which is much more complicated). even if one knows a priori that it exists. The difficult part is to show that this procedure works in the right way. If one has a set which looks roughly as though it ought to be uniformly rectifiable. In this subsection we would like to briefly mention a result of this type. and do not (as discussed before). it is generally pretty easy to derive whatever else one would like to know. and one does not want to have to stop too often. there are in principle methods for doing this. with the correct estimates.3 A class of variational problems Uniform rectifiability is a pretty robust condition.

one might also wish to limit irregularities in the behavior of the boundary of U . Let F be a closed subset of Rn . 52 . and the minimization of this kind of functional. M and all x ∈ Rn . which means exactly that the distributional first derivatives of the characteristic function of U are measures of finite mass. so that (5.29) g(x) dνU (x). and assume that Q0 is contained in the interior of Q1 .bounded.28) 0 < m ≤ g(x) ≤ M for some constants m. The latter ensures that the limit of the minimizing sequence is actually a minimum. For this one would work with sets U which have “finite perimeter”.29) with respect to suitable convergence of the U ’s. can come up. and if the function g is lower semi-continuous.29) using weak compactness. with sides parallel to the axes. Consider an integral like (5. (See [DaviS9] for an example of this. and one uses the lower semi-continuity of g to get lower semi-continuity of (5. one takes limits of minimizing sequences for (5. Let Q0 .29) to find domains with a good balance between the behavior of ∂U and the desire to have it be contained (as much as possible) in F .) When do minimizers of (5. and how do they behave? If one works with sets of finite perimeter. Let U be an open subset of Q1 which contains the interior of Q0 . Note that the “obstacle” conditions that U contain the interior of Q0 and be contained in Q1 prevents the minimization from collapsing into something trivial. That is. or very nearly so. as in [Giu]. but for technical reasons it is often better to define dνU using distributional derivatives of the characteristic function of U . For this type of situation one could choose g so that it is much smaller on F than on the complement of F . On the other hand. but in general one has to be more careful. and bounded away from 0. then one can obtain the existence of minimizers through standard techniques (as in [Giu]).29) exist. Imagine that one is particularly interested in domains U which have their boundary contained in F . and then look for minimizers of (5. Here is one way in which this kind of functional. One can simply take for dνU the restriction of (n − 1)-dimensional Hausdorff measure to ∂U . This would be defined as in calculus when ∂U is at least a little bit smooth (like C 1). ∂U where dνU denotes the measure that describes the (n−1)-dimensional volume of subsets of ∂U . Q1 be a pair of (closed) cubes in Rn .

9 and related questions.29) for a suitable choice of g.27 on p207 53 . one can take g to be a sufficiently small positive constant on ∂U . it is also a minimizer with g chosen as above. Specifically.29) (with g bounded and bounded away from 0). minimizers of (5. one cannot expect much in the way of smoothness in general. and to be equal to 1 everywhere else. regardless of any minimizing or quasiminimizing properties. minimization of functionals like these can provide useful means for obtaining “existence results” for approximate parameterizations with good behavior.29) as a special case. through uniform rectifiability. and more precise results are given in [DaviS9]. This is shown in [DaviS9]. although this case is more complicated technically. and uniformly rectifiable. where stronger forms of smoothness cannot be expected. This brings one back to Theorem 5. a small positive constant on ∂U and equal to 1 everywhere else. Their argument concerned the existence of curves containing a given set. One can use this framework of minimization (with respect to nonsmooth coefficient functions g) as a tool for studying the structure of sets in Rn with upper bounds on their d-dimensional Hausdorff measure and lower bounds for their d-dimensional topology. If a set U arises as the minimizer for some g. DaviS11]. Part of the motivation for this came from an earlier argument of Morel and Solimini [MoreS]. That such a choice of g works is not very hard to establish. i. along with some additional geometric information which is sufficient to characterize the class of sets U which occur as minimizers for functionals of the form (5. if the boundary of U can be represented locally as the graph of a Lipschitz function. with good properties in terms of the distribution of the arc-length measure of these curves. See [Giu]. See [DaviS11] for more information. Analogous results about regularity work for sets of higher codimension as well. See [DaviS9. Note that properties of ordinary rectifiability always hold for boundaries of sets of finite perimeter.. then U in fact minimizes (5.As to the behavior of minimizers of (5. under more localized conditions on the given set (at all locations and scales). The same regularity results work for a suitable class of “quasiminimizers” of the usual area functional.29) are always Ahlfors-regular sets of dimension n − 1. To put it another way. but quantitative bounds are reasonable to seek. and in particular more “localized” versions of it. and one that includes minimizers for (5. See Lemma 16. For instance. Uniform rectifiability provides a natural level of structure for situations like this. Conversely.29).e.

where ∆ is the Laplace operator n 2 =1 ∂ . and i = −1. then its Fourier transform φ(ξ) is defined (for ξ ∈ Rn ) by (A. See [SteW] for these and other basic facts about the Fourier transform. if ∂k denotes the operator ∂/∂xk on Rn .ξ φ(x) dx. one can define it through the equation (A. |ξ|2 If m(ξ) is any bounded function on Rn . or one should interpret this equation in the sense of tempered distributions on Rn . except for a multiplicative constant. Using Plancherel’s theorem.e. i.4) (T φ) (ξ) = m(ξ) φ(ξ) 54 . One can also use the Fourier transform to give a precise definition of the operator R = ∂j ∂k /∆.. there is an explicit inversion formula (which looks a lot like the Fourier transform itself). for instance — but we shall not bother with this.of [MoreS]. That is. A key feature of the Fourier transform is that it diagonalizes differential operators. and the Fourier transform preserves the L2 norm of the function φ.1) φ(ξ) = Rn ei x. then (A. ξ denotes the usual inner product for x.2) from Section 2. it is very easy to give another proof of the 2 L estimate (2. Specifically. Specifically.3) (Rφ) (ξ) = ξj ξk φ(ξ). The Fourier transform also carries out this diagonalization in a controlled manner. and to derive many other inequalities of a similar nature. √ Here x. by the Plancherel theorem. so that the left side can be defined in particular.2) (∂k φ) (ξ) = i ξk φ(ξ). Often one makes slightly different conventions for this definition — with some extra factors of π around. differentiation is converted into mere multiplication. A Fourier transform calculations If φ(x) is an integrable function on Rn . ξ ∈ Rn . For this one should either make some differentiability assumptions on φ. then (A.

defines a bounded operator on L2 (Rn ). In general these operators are not bounded on Lp for any other value of p, but this is true for many of the operators that arise naturally in analysis. For instance, suppose that m(ξ) is homogeneous of degree 0, so that (A.5) m(tξ) = m(ξ) when t > 0,

and that m(ξ) is smooth away from the origin. Then the associated operator T is bounded on Lp for all p with 1 < p < ∞. See [Ste1, SteW]. Note that this criterion applies to the specific choice of m(ξ) in (A.3) above. For a multiplier operator as in (A.4) to be bounded on L1 or L∞ is even more exceptional than for Lp boundedness when 1 < p < ∞. (See [SteW].) For instance, if m is homogeneous, as above, and not constant, then the corresponding operator cannot be bounded on L1 or L∞ . However, if m is homogeneous and smooth away from the origin, then the operator T in (A.4) does determine a bounded operator from L∞ into BMO. See [GarcR, Garn, Jou, Ste2]. In fact, T determines a bounded operator from BMO to itself. Here is another example. Let φ now be a mapping from R2 to itself, with components φ1, φ2. Consider the differential dφ of φ as a matrix-valued function, namely, ∂ 1 φ1 ∂ 1 φ2 (A.6) . ∂ 2 φ1 ∂ 2 φ2 (Let us assume that φ is smooth enough that the differential is at least some kind of function when taken in the sense of distributions, although one can perfectly well think of dφ as a matrix-valued distribution.) Let A and S denote the antisymmetric and symmetric parts of dφ, respectively, so that (A.7) A= dφ − dφt , 2 S= dφ + dφt , 2

where dφt denotes the transpose of dφ. In this case of 2 × 2 matrices, the antisymmetric part A really contains only one piece of information, namely (A.8) ∂ 1 φ2 − ∂ 2 φ1 .

It is not hard to check that this function can be reconstructed from the entries of S through operators of the form (A.4), using functions m which 55

are homogeneous of degree 0 and smooth away from the origin. For this one should add some mild conditions on φ, like compact support, to avoid the possibility that S vanishes identically but A does not. Under these conditions, we conclude that the Lp norm of A is always bounded by a constant multiple of the Lp norm of S, 1 < p < ∞, and that the BMO norm of A is controlled by the L∞ (or BMO) norm of S. (For the case of BMO norms, the possibility that S vanishes but A does not causes no trouble, because A will be constant in that case.) This example is really a “linearized” version of the problem discussed in Section 1. Specifically, let us think of f : R2 → R2 as being of the form (A.9) f (x) = x + φ(x),

where is a small parameter. The extent to which f distorts distances is governed by the matrix-valued function df t df , which we can write out as (A.10) df t df = I + 4 S +
2

dφt dφ.

Thus the linear term in is governed by S, while A controls the leading behavior in of the “rotational” part of df .

B

Mappings with branching

In general, there can be a lot of trouble with existence and complexity of homeomorphisms (with particular properties, like specified domain and range). If one allows mappings with branching, then the story can be very different. As a basic example of this, there is a classical result originating with Alexander to the effect that any oriented pseudomanifold of dimension n admits an orientation-preserving branched covering over the n-sphere. Let us state this more carefully, and then see how it is proved. Let M be a finite polyhedron. We assume that M is given as a finite union of n-dimensional simplices that meet only in their boundary faces (so that M is really a simplicial complex). To be a pseudomanifold means that every (n − 1)-dimensional face in M arises as the boundary face of exactly two n-dimensional simplices. In effect this says that M looks like a manifold away from its codimension-2 skeleton (the corresponding statement for the codimension-1 skeleton being automatic). For the present purposes it would 56

be enough to ask that every (n − 1)-dimensional face in M arise as the boundary face of at most two n-dimensional simplices, which would be like a “pseudomanifold with boundary”. An orientation for an n-dimensional pseudomanifold M means a choice of orientation (in the usual sense) for each of the constituent n-dimensional simplices in M , with compatibility of orientations of adjacent n-dimensional simplices along the common (n − 1)-dimensional face. In terms of algebraic topology, this means that the sum of the n-dimensional simplices in M , with their orientations, defines an n-dimensional cycle on M . For the purposes of the Alexander-type result, it will be convenient to think of the n-sphere as consisting of two standard simplices S1 and S2 glued together along the boundary. This is not quite a polyhedron in the usual (affine) sense, but one could easily repair this by subdividing S1 or S2 . We also assume that S1 and S2 have been oriented, and have opposite orientations relative to their common boundary. To define a mapping from M to the n-sphere one would like to simply identify each of the constituent n-dimensional simplices in M with S1 or S2 in a suitable manner. Unfortunately, this does not work, even when n = 2, but the problem can be fixed using a barycentric subdivision of M . Recall that the barycenter of a simplex (embedded in some vector space) is the point in the interior of the simplex which is the average of the vertices of the simplex. The set of barycenters for M means the set of barycenters of all of the constituent simplices in M (viewed as a simplicial complex), of all dimensions, including 0. In particular, the set of barycenters for M includes the vertices of M (which are themselves 0-dimensional simplices, and their own barycenters). The barycentric subdivision of M is a refinement of M as a simplicial complex whose vertices are exactly the set of barycenters of M . In other words, the set M as a whole does not change, just its decomposition into simplices, which is replaced by a finer decomposition. Here is a precise description of the simplices in the barycentric subdivision of M . Let s0 , s1 , . . . , sk be a finite sequence of simplices in M , with each si an i-dimensional simplex which is a face of si+1 (when i < k). Let b(si ) denote the barycenter of si . Then b(s0), b(s1 ), . . . , b(sk ) are affinely independent, and hence determine a k-dimensional simplex. The simplices that arise in this manner are precisely the ones used for the barycentric subdivision of M . (See p123 of [Spa] for more details.) Let V denote the set of all vertices in the barycentric subdivision of M . This is the same as the set of points which arise as barycenters of simplices 57

. Let us identify these vertices with the integers from 0 to n.e. in the barycentric subdivision of M . This is because of the orientation and pseudomanifold conditions. defined by associating to each point b in V the dimension of the simplex from which it was derived. For the n-dimensional simplices the extension is uniquely determined once one chooses S1 or S2 for the image of the simplex. There are exactly n + 1 vertices in our realization of the n-sphere as the gluing of S1 and S2 . MartRiV3. The idea of branching also makes sense for mappings that are not piecewiselinear. . as with the classes of quasiregular mappings and mappings of bounded length distortion. 1. . k < n. n}. . namely the one so that the linear mapping from T onto Sj is orientationpreserving. n} can now be interpreted as a mapping from the vertices of the barycentric subdivision of M to the vertices of the n-sphere. . . there is only one natural choice of S1 or S2 for each n-dimensional simplex T . which ensure that if a point in M lies in the interior of an (n − 1)-dimensional simplex in the barycentric subdivision of M . . 58 . Because of the orientations. . . . . We should emphasize that the singularities of the mapping from M to the n-sphere — i. the places where it fails to be a local homeomorphism — are confined to the codimension-2 skeleton of the barycentric subdivision of M . k}. MartV. . and there are well-developed notions of “controlled geometry” in this case. Thus our mapping from V to {0. We are now ready to define our mapping from M to the n-sphere. This follows easily from the definitions. . 1.. This mapping between vertices admits a canonical linear extension to each k-dimensional simplex. then the (two) adjacent n-simplices at that point are not sent to the same Sj in the image. MartRiV2. 1. 1. then the mapping from V to {0. . and in particular we have a natural mapping from V to the integers {0. This uses the fact that our initial mapping between vertices was always one-to-one on the set of vertices in any given simplex in the domain.in the original version of M . If T is a k-dimensional simplex in the barycentric subdivision of M . by construction. See [HeiKiM. MartRiV1. . In the end we get a mapping from the barycentric subdivision of M to the n-sphere which preserves orientations and which defines an affine isomorphism from each n-dimensional simplex T in the domain onto one of S1 and S2. n} just described induces a one-to-one correspondence between the k + 1 vertices of T and the set {0. . This completes the proof.

e.) In order for an arc to be wild. C C. see [Davi4.1) a global homeomorphism from Rn onto itself which maps K to a straight line segment? If n = 1. Sullivan [Sul2. 1].. For these one can take the corresponding homeomorphism to be smooth or piecewise-linear as well. V¨i2. 59 . then K itself is a closed line segment. When n ≥ 3. A broader and more detailed discussion of mappings with branching can be found in [HeiR2]. as are polygonal arcs. Vuo]. for instance. and some ideas for studying obstructions to controlled homeomorphic coordinates. Smooth arcs are always tame. but this is more complicated. HeiR2] there are examples a where branching maps of controlled geometry can be constructed but suitable homeomorphisms either do not exist or must distort distances more severely. and is more in the spirit of the Sch¨nflies theorem in the plane. especially o Chapter 10.Res. is there (C. for instance. See [Gut+. When n = 2. DaviS4]. Ric1. and let K be a compact subset of Rn . the answer to the question above can be “no”. the answer is also “yes”.1). An arc K is said to be “tame” (or flat) when a homeomorphism does exist as in (C. See [Moi]. MartRyV] for some recent results about branching and regularity conditions under which it does not occur. i. For some real-variable considerations of mappings which may branch but enjoy substantial geometric properties. See [Moi] for some examples of wild arcs in R3. HeiKi. and “wild” when it does not exist. some amount of infinite processes are needed.1 More on existence and behavior of homeomorphisms Wildness and tameness phenomena Consider the following question. In [HeiR1. and the answer is “yes”. Sul3] has proposed some mechanisms by which the existence of local (controlled) branching maps can be deduced. Let n be a positive integer. arcs made up of finitely many straight line segments. If K is homeomorphic to the unit interval [0. Jon2. (Compare with Theorem 1 on p134 of [Moi].

which gives a 2-dimensional polyhedron in R4 . For instance. they may be bilipschitz. There are many well-known examples of this. This turns out to be compatible with the case of arcs (for which there is no issue of knottedness). and which is in fact piecewise-linearly equivalent to a standard 2-dimensional cell. Let us also mention that embeddings. for a closed curve. and for further references. Dave1. and there are some other natural variants of this. One can show that this embedding of the 2-cell is not locally flat at the cone point. Specifically.e. so that there does not exist a homeomorphism of R3 onto itself which maps the curve onto a standard circle (inside a standard 2-dimensional plane in R3 ). as in (4. Bur. Dave2. like the trefoil knot. This phenomenon is special to codimension 2. Similar phenomena occur for codimension-2 embeddings in Rn for all n ≥ 4. Consider the cone over γ. Here is another basic example. one defines “wildness” in a slightly differently way. or quasisymmetric. Wild embeddings of cells and spheres (and other manifolds) exist in Rn for all n ≥ 3. A similar remark applies to other categories of mappings. in terms of the existence of local flattenings. one can also look for local flattenings which are piecewise-linear. and which represents the trefoil knot. an embedding is quasisymmetric if relative distances are approximately preserved. may still enjoy substantial good behavior. as in Example 2.2 on p34 of [Rus1]. LuuV. in the sense of [TukV]. Can1.7). Suppose that γ is a simple closed curve in R3. and for all dimensions of the cells and spheres (from 1 to n − 1). V¨i3] for some basic results a 60 . (Roughly speaking. BurC. Moi. We shall not pursue this here. although wild. This includes embeddings of cells and spheres which are not equivalent to piecewise-linear embeddings in codimension 2. In the context of piecewise-linear embeddings. which is a polygonal curve. Rus2] for more information. and embeddings which are not normally given as piecewise-linear. as for a bilipschitz mapping. it cannot be straightened out to agree with a standard (geometrically flat) embedding by a homeomorphism defined on a neighborhood in R4 of the cone point. See [Bin6.) See [Geh1. rather than distances themselves. i.. for sets of higher dimension.3. Thus. as before). See Theorem 1. Edw1. We shall mostly consider here issues of existence of topological flattenings or local flattenings.A simple closed curve in R3 might be smooth or polygonal and still knotted. however. a piecewise-linear embedding of a k-dimensional piecewise-linear manifold into Rn is locally topologically flat if n − k = 2 (or if k = 1 and n = 3.7. for instance. Rus1.2 on p59-60 of [Rus1].

and that C is homeomorphic to the usual middle-thirds Cantor set. through a homeomorphism from Rn onto itself? When n = 1 this is automatically true. Suppose that F is a closed set inside of some Rn . If C is a compact subset of Rn which lies in a line and is homeomorphic to the Cantor set. and not just for Cantor sets. It is also true when n = 2. This type of condition is satisfied by standard embeddings of sets into 61 . Can one move C to a subset of a straight line in Rn . one would like to know whether it is possible to contract γ to a point in Rn \F while staying in a small neighborhood of p. This is not hard to see. This second neighborhood of p might not be quite as small the first one. especially Chapter 13. However. Basically. Versions of the fundamental group play an important role for wildness and taming in general. then one can make small perturbations of the disk to avoid intersecting C. Note that the homology of the complement of a compact set in Rn is controlled through the intrinsic topology of the set itself. A specific and basic version of this is the following. its 1dimensional homology does vanish. then γ can be contracted to a point in B(p. see [Moi]. then the complement of C in Rn is simply-connected. ) ∩ (Rn \F ). In higher dimensions it is not true in general.about this. a precise statement would say that for every > 0 there is a δ > 0 so that if γ lies in B(p. and if that disk happens to run into C. See [Moi. The complement of C is also simply-connected if there is a global homeomorphism from Rn onto itself which maps C into a line. imagine that one has a compact set C in some Rn . as is shown by a famous construction of Antoine (“Antoine’s necklaces”). In particular. Given a point p ∈ F . if one takes a loop in the complement of C and fills it with a disk in Rn . δ) ∩ (Rn \F ). while the complement of an Antoine’s necklace may not be simply-connected. For this one may not take (or want to take) the fundamental group of the whole complementary set. and a loop γ in Rn \F which lies close to p. Antoine’s necklaces have the property that their complements are not simply-connected. and if n is at least 3. See Chapter 18 of [Moi] and [Bla]. As another version of wildness for embeddings. as in Alexander duality [Spa]. This is merely because the homeomorphism itself permits one to reduce to the previous case. let us consider Cantor sets. Bla]. but look at more localized forms of the fundamental group. How can one tell when a set is embedded wildly or not? As a simple case.

and explicitly. Some aspects of this came up before in Section 3. Rus1. Edw1. one should restrict one’s attention to points p in the interior of the segment for this. or other kind of “standard” (non-wild) behavior. Examples of wild sets are often made with the help of various linkings. see Proposition 4 on p84 of [Dave2]. For homology (or cohomology). Qui1. as in the Hurewicz and Whitehead theorems. For instance. Fundamental groups and localized versions of them have a basic role in geometric topology in general. These involve a famous device of Klee. This definitely does not work for π1. This is easy to see in explicit examples (like a trefoil knot). one can often see the taming in a larger-dimensional space directly. Rus2] for more information about localized fundamental groups and their role in wildness phenomena and taming theorems (and for related matters and further references). Dave1. it is always unknotted. and we shall encounter some more in this appendix. one often has good information from data in the given situation through standard results in algebraic topology. One might wonder why π1 and localized versions of it play such an important role. and others later in this appendix. like duality theorems. cells. one would get Z for the corresponding localized fundamental group of the complement of the set. In concrete examples. Bur. Can2. Dave2. one can pass from information about homology to information about homotopy (in general dimensions). there are results which permit one to go backwards. See [Bin5. or a line segment in R3 . For some simple and general results about wild embeddings in Rn becoming tame in a larger Rm . For many constructions. Can1.Rn . Bin6. including the ones mentioned above. A wild embedding of a set into some Rn can become tame when viewed as an embedding into an Rm with m > n (m = n + 1 in particular). Bin8. The same is true for knotting. and spheres. or something like that.) Conversely. like Cantor sets. homotopy is closer to what one really needs. Moi.. (In the case of a line segment in R3. Some basic points behind this are as follows. and the corollaries on p85 of [Dave2]. as shown by many examples. a smooth loop may be knotted in R3. but when viewed as a subset of R4. Qui2. and say that localized fundamental group conditions for the complement like these (localized simple-connectedness conditions in particular) lead to tameness of a given set. Spa]. etc. BurC. For a point in R2 . Another basic point concerns the effect of stabilization. See [Bred1. at least when the dimension of the set is different from n − 2. and in a higher-dimensional space 62 . In circumstances with suitable simple-connectivity.

Compare with the bottom of p390 and the top of p391 in [Dave1]. for that matter). Note that this argument works independently of the behavior of F . Specifically.e. More precisely. and one can contract the loop in a standard way. i. and imagine that one has a loop γ in Rn \F which lies in a small ball centered at a point in F .2) 63 . into Rn × {a} for some a = 0 rather than Rn × {0} in Rn+1 (using the obvious identifications). while remaining in a small ball. then it is easy to contract γ to a point in the complement of F in Rn+1 . (Compare also with the remarks on p452 of [Can1]. and considerations like those in the previous paragraph.e. As in the present setting. This parallel copy is then disjoint from F . one can first translate γ into a parallel copy of Rn inside of Rn+1 . I. moving them around freely there. it is enough to go from Rn to Rn+1 .2 Contractable open sets If U is a nonempty contractable open subset of Rn .one can disentangle the linked parts. C. (C. and in a simple way. one can get stronger results on tameness that occurs from stabilization than the ones on p8485 in [Dave2] mentioned above.. the effect of stabilization is also frequently related to conditions concerning localized fundamental groups.. Let F be a closed set inside of some Rn . is a very basic one in geometric topology (as well as other areas. If one thinks of γ and F as being also inside Rn+1 . and then putting them back into the original Rn in a different way. while remaining in a small ball. one would like to contract γ to a point in the complement of F . instead of needing k extra dimensions in some cases. and the references indicated there. Using taming theorems based on localized fundamental group conditions. This simplifying effect of stabilization also fits with the role of localized versions of fundamental groups indicated before. is U necessarily homeomorphic to the open unit ball in Rn ? Fix a positive integer n. such conditions often become true. In the condition that was discussed earlier. We shall encounter a number of other instances of this in this appendix. of objects becoming more “tame” or simple after stabilization. after stabilization. this type of phenomenon. This can be accomplished by taking individual pieces and pulling them into a new dimension.) At any rate.

The two notions are equivalent under assumptions of local arcwise connectedness.) U is connected at infinity if for each compact set K0 ⊆ U there is a larger compact set L0 ⊆ U such that every pair of points in U \L0 is contained in a connected set which is itself contained in U \K0 .2) is “yes” again. When n = 1. Starting in dimension 3. Indeed. an open segment in the real line. Each of these is easily seen to be homeomorphic to the interval (−1. this means that if one takes a closed loop γ out near infinity in U . Roughly speaking. If U is the unit ball in Rn . In particular. in Subsection C.. Here is a more formal definition.2) is “no”. let B(0. then a necessary condition for a set U to be homeomorphic to an n-dimensional ball is that U be “simply connected at infinity”. but let us first ask ourselves the following: how might one be able to tell that a given contractable open set in Rn is not homeomorphic to an n-dimensional ball? Here again a localized version of the fundamental group is important. or a topological space more generally. then the answer to the question in (C. the answer to the question in (C. This is a well-known fact. the homotopy and homology groups of U (of positive dimension) would then vanish. 64 . to say that U is contractable means that the identity mapping on U is homotopic to a constant.e. and for topological manifolds in particular. Definition C. (Normally one might at least ask that U be locally compact. U is either the whole real line. r) denote the open ball in Rn with center 0 and radius r. then it should be possible to contract γ to a point.2) is “yes”. and we shall return to it later. n ≥ 3. then γ is homotopic to a constant through continuous mappings from the circle into U \K1 . If n ≥ 3. 1). (One can define “arcwise connectedness at infinity” in a similar manner.) U is simply-connected at infinity if it is connected at infinity. through (continuous) mappings from U into itself. We shall say something about examples for this in a moment. which is the unit ball in this case. while staying out near infinity too (although perhaps not as much as γ itself is).8.3 Let U be an open set in Rn . and if for every compact set K1 ⊆ U there is a larger compact set L1 ⊆ U so that if γ is an arbitrary closed loop in U \L1 (i. In this case. just as for an n-dimensional ball. an arbitrary continuous mapping from the unit circle S1 into U \L1 ). For this we also include “connectedness at infinity” as a first part. then U is simply-connected at infinity. If n = 2.For the record. the answer to the question in (C. or an open ray.

) First take a “small” solid torus in T . 1). In other words. If U is contractable. T1 should lie in the interior of T . and simply-connected when n ≥ 3. and then passing one across the other. and simply-connected when j ≥ 2. One can think of grabbing hold of this small solid torus at two ends. small enough to be contained in a topological ball in T . A mechanism for having this happen for a set U contained in R3 is given by the construction of “the Whitehead continuum” [White]. Then every compact subset of B(0. it should contain its boundary.and let B(0. and B(0. 1) is contained in B(0. and then stretching them around the “hole” in the larger torus T .e. or two links in a chain.. (See also [Dave2. If T1 is chosen in this way. these two ends should hook around each other on the other side of the hole. wrapped around the hole in T . then it has the following two basic properties.e. then it means that there is a compact set K ⊆ U and loops γ in U which lie as far towards infinity as one would like (i. For each r < 1. Here T should be a compact set. To get T1. 65 . stretched around opposite sides of T . The property of being simply-connected at infinity is clearly preserved by homeomorphisms. like two hooks. Next one chooses another smooth solid torus T1 inside T . until they do not touch any more. r) for some r < 1. One chooses T1 in a particular way. 1)\B(0. and (b) γ cannot be contracted to a point in U \K. r) is homeomorphic to Sn−1 × (r. 1).. and not simply-connected at infinity. one might imagine having the two ends of the small solid torus from before.) Here is an outline of the procedure. but in doing this one always has to pass through at least one element of the compact set K. Thus to get a contractable open set U in Rn which is not homeomorphic to an n-dimensional ball. Kir]. The configuration looks locally like two hooks or links clasped together. (Pictures can be found on p68 of [Dave2] and p82 of [Kir]. these loops γ can be contracted to points in U . To put it another way. in the complement of any given compact subset of U ) such that (a) γ can be contracted to a point in U . One stretches them around the two different sides of the hole in T . Start with a standard smooth “round” solid torus T in R3 . r) is a compact subset of B(0. B(0. it suffices to choose U so that it is not simply-connected at infinity. then it is simply-connected itself in particular. connected at infinity. 1)\B(0. i. but are clasped together. More precisely. This is because B(0. If U is simply-connected. r) is connected when n ≥ 2. r) denote the corresponding closed ball. which can be imagined as follows. and Sj is connected when j ≥ 1. but in fact one has two ends of the single solid torus T1.

To put it a bit differently. 2. This explains how T and T1 should be chosen. This is attributed to Arnold Shapiro in [Bin3]. One can show that U is contractable. but not simplyconnected at infinity. (For the purposes of looking at U . If one could get T1 inside a ball in T . Kir. in making the homotopy. and so that the deformations do not ever cross each other (unlike the homotopy in the previous paragraph). in which one builds U up from smaller pieces in an “increasing” manner. they are diffeomorphic to each other in particular. because this is automatically prevented by injectivity (independent of clasping or not). one is allowed to stretch or move T1 around as much as one like. and so that Tj+1 is arranged in Tj in the same way as T1 is arranged in T . One then repeats the process indefinitely. it can be convenient to use a modestly different description of the construction. such that Tj+1 is contained in the interior of Tj for each j. this means that one cannot continuously deform T1 inside T in such a way that T1 ends up in a ball in T . then one could continue the deformation to get an isotopy into an arbitrarily small ball. One would not ask for shrinking T1 to a point here. the identity mapping on T1 is homotopic to a constant mapping through (continuous) mappings from T1 into T . if φ : T → T1 is such a diffeomorphism. This gives a nonempty compact set in R3. . analogous to the “decreasing” construction for W above. . . and one is allowed to have different parts of (images of ) T1 cross each other in T . Specifically. and this can be used to make precise the idea of “repeating the process”. the mappings being deformed are not required to be injective. This means that one cannot continuously deform T1 through an isotopy of T into a set which lies in a ball contained in T . Since T1 is a 3-dimensional smooth solid torus in its own right. In effect. We can think of W as lying inside of S3 . the Cartesian product of U with a nonempty open interval is homeomorphic to a 4-dimensional ball. One can also rotate this around so that U actually lies in R3 . Now let W be the intersection of all these solid tori Tj .) Although U is not homeomorphic to a 3-dimensional ball in this case. The second property is that T1 is not “isotopically trivial”. and in fact contained in the interior of T1. That is. getting smooth solid tori Tj for j = 1. In other words. and then take U = S3 \W .The first is that it is homotopically trivial in T . since T and T1 are both smooth solid tori. see also 66 . White] for more information. the complement of W . See [Dave2. This follows exactly the description above. then one can take T2 to be φ(T1). one can repeat the process to get another smooth solid torus T2 contained in it.

This is a general phenomenon. the complement of the Whitehead continuum in S3 cannot be realized as the interior of a compact manifold with boundary. For some related information and references concerning these examples in dimensions greater than or equal to 4. A related reference is [McMZ]. including the top of p94.. This is analogous to the effect of stabilization before. and Corollary 1. one can go from there to the topological category via [KirS].1. and is not homeomorphic to an n-ball in particular. The interior then fails to be simply-connected at infinity again. since S2 is simply-connected. because of the existence of “fake R4’s (smooth manifolds homeomorphic to R4. whether or not this compact manifold should occur as the closure of the set in S3 . in Subsection C.1.2. The four-dimensional result does not work in the smooth or piecewise-linear categories (which are equivalent in dimension 4). one can check directly that taking the Cartesian product with the interval gets rid of the problem that U itself has with simple-connectivity at infinity. See [Sta1] for n ≥ 5.e. The reason is that if such a compact manifold did exist. for that matter. [Sta1] is stated for the piecewise-linear category. In particular. which is relevant as well for other situations mentioned in this appendix. see [FreQ] (p122 in particular) and [Kir] (Chapter XIV). and the discussion on p103-104. A similar point came up Subsection C. Actually. its boundary would be a 2-dimensional surface with the homology of the 2-sphere. but not diffeomorphic to it). 67 . C. a manifold with the same homology as Sn−1 ) which is not simplyconnected. In this case the boundary would have to be homeomorphic to the 2-sphere. see [Dave2]. The difference with n ≥ 4 is that the boundary can be a homology (n−1)sphere (i. and which have the additional feature that their closures are compact manifolds with boundary.1 Some positive results For dimensions n ≥ 4. Concerning the latter. We shall say more about this in a moment. it is known that every contractable topological manifold M which is simply-connected at infinity is homeomorphic to Rn . Beginning in dimension 4. This last does not work in dimension 3. there are contractable open sets in Rn which are not topological n-balls.2 on p366 of [Fre] for n = 4. and.Section 10 of [Bin4] and [Kir]. This would contradict the failure of simple-connectivity at infinity for the original space.

4). in [McM]. then one can get an n-dimensional manifold N as in (C. then P \{x} will also be simplyconnected at infinity. which is topologically the same as the one-point compactification of P \{x}. and in the topological category).These topics are also related to “McMillan’s cellularity criterion”. To go from this and the Poincar´ conjecture to the e conclusion that N is homeomorphic to a closed ball. by gluing the ball which was removed back in.5. given a manifold N as in (C. Suppose that N is an n-dimensional compact topological manifold with boundary. (We shall say more about this in Remark C. However. one can use the “generalized Sch¨nflies theorem”. If one knows that P \{x} is homeomorphic to Rn . as one can check using the manifold structure of P around x.4) If N is contractable and ∂N is a topological (n − 1)-sphere.) Conversely.1.4) is known to be “yes” when n = 3. discussed later in this subsection (after Remark o C. We shall discuss cellularity and this criterion further in Subsubsection C. Now let us look more closely at the case of compact manifolds with boundary. If n ≥ 3. from contractable open manifolds which are simply-connected at infinity to compact manifolds 68 . the answer to (C.11 on p373.5). and the problem is open for n = 3. in Theorem 1. Consider the following question: (C. If one is given a compact n-dimensional topological manifold without boundary which is a homotopy n-sphere. it is not as easy to go in the other direction. then one can deduce that P . if one starts with a compact ndimensional topological manifold without boundary P which is a homotopy n-sphere. is homeomorphic to Sn . The main points are the following. If this manifold N is homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in Rn . is N homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in Rn ? This question is actually equivalent to the Poincar´ conjecture (in dimension e n.4.4) from it by cutting out a topological ball (with tame boundary). one can get a homotopy n-sphere from it by gluing in a ball along the boundary of N . then one can obtain that the original space was homeomorphic to the standard n-sphere. This is a well-known fact. Namely. In particular. There are some analogous relationships between the Poincar´ conjecture e and contractable open manifolds. then one can get an n-dimensional contractable open manifold by removing a point x from P . A 4-dimensional version of this is given in [Fre].

As above.2 and Subsection C. there are also some tricky aspects in this case. but the converse is more complicated. For the first part. even if one knows more about P and the homeomorphism between P \{x} and Rn . a radial extension like this is not smooth in general at the 69 .4). This is a standard observation (which can be proved using the fact mentioned in the next paragraph). The simpleconnectivity at infinity for the open manifold is a necessary condition for this (when n ≥ 3). and we shall say more about this next. A complication with this type of argument is that one does not necessarily say too much about the behavior of the homeomorphism at the point x which was removed and added back again (in the notation before). can work better. However. as it is in (C. as in (C. If one takes two copies of the closed unit ball in Rn . in the smooth category. and it works for any gluing homeomorphism. then the resulting space is homeomorphic to a standard n-dimensional sphere. One can take the one-point compactification of the open manifold to get a compact space.which are homotopy-equivalent to a sphere. one can use the following fact. Exotic spheres can be viewed in this manner. and glues them together using a homeomorphism between their boundaries. but it is not immediately clear that this space is a manifold. but it may not be diffeomorphic to a standard sphere.3. arguments that go through compact manifolds with boundary. In this respect. about going from P to an open manifold. suppose that one is in a situation where there is a general result to the effect that an n-dimensional contractable open manifold which is simply-connected at infinity is homeomorphic to Rn for some fixed n. If h is a homeomorphism from ∂Bn onto itself.5 There are some subtleties about gluing in balls in the context of (C. though.4) and its correspondence with the Poincar´ conjecture in the smooth e category. then the resulting space is a smooth manifold in a natural way. There are broader issues concerning the behavior of open manifolds at infinity. one can use this to show that a compact n-dimensional manifold P (without boundary) which is homotopy-equivalent to Sn is homeomorphic to Sn . If the gluing map is a diffeomorphism. Let Bn denote the closed unit ball in Rn .2. then h can be extended to a homeomorphism from Bn onto itself. and we shall mention some aspects of this in Subsubsection C. In the topological case. This method also works for the analogous statement in the piecewise-linear category. Remark C. One can do this by a straightforward “radial extension”. as gluings of standard closed balls through (tricky) diffeomorphisms along their boundaries.4).

Mors]. one uses the original collaring of ∂N inside N .4). because of the collaring that we have for N . 1). In the smooth case. If N happens to be given as a subset of Rn . but may not be bi-collared inside Rn . then this parallel copy is also bi-collared inside Rn . See [Brow2. and where the homeomorphism maps each point z ∈ N to (z. To get back to N in its entirety. This means that there is a neighborhood of ∂N in N which is homeomorphic to ∂N × [0. one o n needs a topological (n − 1)-sphere in R which is “bicollared”. To deal with this. Con] and Theorem 8 on p40 of [Dave2]. then N is homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in Rn . i. to apply the generalized Sch¨nflies theorem. 70 . then f (Sn−1 × {0}) can be realized as the image of Sn−1 under a homeomorphism mapping all of Rn onto itself. occurs as f (Sn−1 × {0}) for some embedding f : Sn−1 × [−1. The assumption that N be a topological manifold with boundary gives a local version of this at each point in ∂N . and to glue this to the other piece without causing trouble. The extension unwinds the effect of the gluing map. Let us be a bit more precise about the way that the generalized Sch¨nflies o theorem is used here. An extension to a diffeomorphism may simply not exist (radial or not). together with this copy of ∂N itself. 1] into Rn . Let us look some more at (C. 0) ∈ ∂N × {0}. one can use it to get an equivalence between the space obtained by gluing together the two copies of Bn . The first point is that the boundary of N is “collared” in N . The boundary of N is collared inside of N . to get that the region o n in R bounded by this parallel copy of ∂N . One can apply the generalized Sch¨nflies theorem. In any of the three categories.. If N lies inside Rn . This result says that o if one has an embedding f of Sn−1 × [−1. once one has an extension like this. is homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in Rn . On the other hand. this may not be possible. Maz. provided by the collaring of ∂N inside N . 1] → Rn . This can be derived from the “generalized Sch¨nflies theorem” [Brow1.e.origin in Bn . and the standard n-dimensional sphere. This parallel copy is now bi-collared in the interior of N .4). if the gluing map is not the standard one. See also Theorem 6 on p38 of [Dave2]. and this occurs with exotic spheres. to know that the missing part of N is homeomorphic to the product of ∂N ∼ Sn−1 with an = interval. one can use a parallel copy of ∂N in the interior of N . in the topological category. in addition to the conditions in (C. and one can derive the existence of a global collaring from a result of Brown.

For n ≥ 6. and Corollary 9. One could use Theorem 9.4’ on p367 of [Fre]. where the homology spheres are all ordinary spheres. see [Fre. by well-known results about 3-dimensional manifolds (as in [Moi]). this assumption would be crucial. See also Corollary 2B on p287 of [Dave2] for n ≥ 5 and the topological category. See [Fre. through the Kirby–Siebenmann theory [KirS]. (For arbitrary manifolds. For n = 5 in the topological category. in the piecewise-linear category (for both the homology sphere and its filling by a contractable manifold). FreQ. if N is an n-dimensional compact topological manifold with boundary which is contractable. see Theorem 1. not necessarily embedded in Rn . In this case it can happen that the filling by a contractable manifold cannot be given as a piecewiselinear manifold. This is a well-known fact. Kir]. one can convert this into a statement about topological manifolds. for instance. FreQ. this is given in [Ker1]. as in the discovery of Milnor. any compact (n − 1)-dimensional topological manifold without boundary which is a homology sphere can be realized as the boundary of an n-dimensional compact topological manifold with boundary which is contractable. For n ≥ 5. If H is a k-dimensional compact manifold (without boundary) which is k-dimensional homology sphere. Conversely. See also the bottom of p184 of [Dave2]. there are complications which come from the existence of exotic spheres.10 on p353 of [Bred1]. then the boundary ∂N is always a homology sphere (has the same homology groups as an (n−1)-dimensional sphere). then H is 71 .3C on p146 of [FreQ]. see the corollary on p197 of [FreQ]. FreQ].) In general. This is elementary for n ≤ 3. but not among piecewise-linear manifolds. This is a particular example where a contractable filling exists among topological 4-manifolds. and it does not require any restrictions on the dimension e n.4) when N lies inside Rn . Kir]. A famous example of a homology 3-sphere which is not simply-connected e is given by the “Poincar´ homology sphere”.Thus one can get a positive answer to (C. This is simpler than the solutions of the o Poincar´ conjecture.2 on p357 of [Bred1]. The assumption of contractability of N is not needed for this either.) For n = 4. Concerning the possible lack of piecewise-linear filling for a homology 3-sphere by a contractable 4-manifold. This is a quotient of the standard S3 by the (finite) icosahedral group. The boundary ∂N would always admit a unique piecewiselinear structure. using the generalized Sch¨nflies theorem. (For the smooth category in high dimensions. In particular. and can be filled with balls. see [Fre. See Theorem 8. and if H is also simply-connected.

i. Concerning dimension 3. and Section 11. In all of these. C. the Poincar´ conjecture in dimension k would seek to say that H should be e homeomorphic to Sk . A characterization for this is given in [Sie1]. see Theorem 1.. the fundamental group at infinity plays an important role. Define M to be the one-point compactification of M . i. Some sufficient conditions for realizing an open manifold as the interior of a compact manifold with boundary in high dimensions are given in [BroLL]. when can M be realized as the interior of a compact manifold with boundary? This would be a nice way of “taming” the end. or one expects the end to be spherical. For dimension 4 (with 3-dimensional boundaries). one adds to M a special point q. not compact.12 on p373 of [Fre]. Assume that M is open. That is.e. not compact. This type of issue is clearly related to the questions considered throughout this subsection. What can one say about the “ends” of M ? In particular. then ∂N is simplyconnected if and only if the interior of N is simply-connected at infinity in the sense of Definition C.3. where K is a compact subset of M .3 Interlude: looking at infinity. through the usual recipe. see [Qui3] and Section 11. which was also mentioned in Section 3. 72 . the point at infinity. and the neighborhoods of q in M are given by sets of the form M \K. and without boundary. whether or not M is contractable.2. or one expects it to be homeomorphic to a ball.e.. This is a standard fact from topology. C. See also [Ker2] concerning the latter. Note that if N is a compact manifold with boundary.homotopy-equivalent to the standard k-dimensional sphere. In this case.9 in [FreQ]. It also makes sense in general. For dimension 5 (with 4-dimensional boundaries).2 Ends of manifolds Suppose that M is an n-dimensional manifold without boundary which is “open”. or looking near a point Let M be a topological manifold of dimension n.9 of [FreS]. see p216 of [FreQ].

let us note that a necessary condition for M to be a manifold is that (C.Consider the following question: (C. at least if n ≥ 3.6) as asking about the existence of a normal bundle for M at the point q. and (C. It is not hard to see that M will be a topological manifold exactly when M looks like (is homeomorphic to) Sn−1 × [0.3 in [FreQ]. one might think of local taming properties of embedded sets in terms of existence of “normal bundles” for the embedded sets.2. i. Let us now think of M as being any topological space. about the behavior of a space at a given point. Equivalently.e. M is a manifold exactly when M can be realized as the interior of a compact manifold with boundary.8) every pair of points x.. one can think of (C. where the boundary is homeomorphic to Sn−1 .2. especially Theorem 9. In this regard. we can reformulate this condition as follows: for every neighborhood U of q in M . and not necessarily the one-point compactification of an open manifold. For a given point q ∈ M . as in [Brow2.9) every loop γ in V \{q} can be contracted to a point in U \{q}. (This uses Brown’s theorem about the existence of collars for boundaries of manifolds with boundary. 1) outside of a set with compact closure. y ∈ V \{q} lies in a connected set in U \{q}. This is similar to the localized fundamental group conditions mentioned in Subsection C.1. (C. In “local” language.6) is somewhat close in outlook to Subsection C.1. For the record. there is a neighborhood V of q such that V ⊆ U . Similarly. if there is 73 .1.7) M is simply-connected at infinity. Concerning the latter. while the local view is perhaps more like the perspective in Subsection C.) The large-scale perspective of (C.3B. one might compare with the discussion in Section 9. or as a question about large-scale behavior of M .6) Under what conditions is M a topological manifold? One might look at this as a kind of local question. especially Subsubsection C.3A and Corollary 9. Con] and Theorem 8 on p40 of [Dave2]. one can still ask whether M is an n-dimensional manifold at q.

The local connectivity and simple-connectivity conditions for M \{q} at q as described above provide a way to capture the information in the connectedness and simple-connectedness of the codimension-1 link at q in the case where M is a polyhedron. the connectedness and simple-connectedness of the link L around q are equivalent to the local connectivity and simple-connectivity conditions for M \{q} near q indicated above. Note that there are special results for detecting manifold behavior in a space of dimension 1 or 2. imagine that one starts with the class of finite polyhedra. Thus L is an (n − 1)-dimensional finite polyhedron. (As in Section 3. imagine now that M is a finite polyhedron of dimension n. This implies that L should be connected and simply-connected. with (C. In the next subsection we shall look at another case of this kind of “local manifold” question.9). and. This is because M looks locally like a cone at q. it is not hard to see that L should be homotopy-equivalent to Sn−1 . under our assumption that n is at least 3. In particular. L is determined up to piecewise-linear equivalence. To put it a bit differently. but not as a polyhedron. and M looks locally at q like a cone over L. in a manner that makes sense for arbitrary topological spaces. and it is also rather nice. This is not hard to see. If M is a polyhedron. The necessary condition in the preceding paragraph still applies (when n ≥ 3). as in Section 3. the link L should be fairly close to a standard (n − 1)-sphere.8) and (C. then any point q in M automatically has the feature that there are arbitrarily small neighborhoods U of q in M which can be contracted to q while staying near q.9)). As a special case. in fact. In fact.) In order for M to be an n-dimensional topological manifold in a neighborhood of q. Let L denote the codimension-1 link of q in M . This is reviewed in the introduction of [Fer4]. let us assume that n ≥ 3. For the rest of this subsection. as discussed in Section 3.8) and (C. concerning local simple-connectivity of M \{q} near q (as in (C.a neighborhood of q in M which is homeomorphic to an open ball in Rn . These local connectedness and simple-connectedness conditions for M \{q} at q should be compared with local connectedness and simple-connectedness conditions for M itself. without special structure as one has for finite polyhedra. 74 . in the case where M is a finite polyhedron. and then tries to go to more general contexts of topological spaces. while staying in U itself.

while leaving the rest of Rn alone. Let us consider some basic examples. and there is nothing to do.10) Given K as above.C. Let us write Rn /K for the set which consists of the points in Rn which do not lie in K.6. (That is. but we shall generally stick to Euclidean spaces for simplicity. this local connectedness property for the complement of {q} would be necessary only when n ≥ 2. then it is easy to see that Rn /K is not a manifold. but this special case already includes a lot of interesting examples and phenomena. Now let us consider the following question: (C. This set can be given a topology in a standard way. so that Sn /K — defined in the same manner as above — is equivalent to the one-point compactification of Sn \K. If we let q denote the point in Rn /K which corresponds to K.3. If K consists of only a single point. and looking at the topological space that results. More precisely.) 75 .) This type of quotient Rn /K is a special case of a “decomposition space”. as in (C. there would be more than 2 such local components.4 Decomposition spaces. Here “inverse image” uses the automatic quotient mapping Rn to Rn /K. the inverse image of U in Rn means the set of points in Rn which correspond to elements of U . (In concrete terms. Imagine shrinking K to a single point. and let K be a nonempty compact subset of Rn .8) in Subsection C. When n = 1. then (Rn /K)\{q} does not enjoy the local connectedness property that it should if Rn /K were a manifold at q. For this it is better to use Sn instead of Rn . one does not have to have this local connectedness condition. This can be defined more formally as follows. so that a subset U of Rn /K is open if and only if its inverse image back in Rn is open. 1 Let n be a positive integer. In other words. but then (Rn /K)\{q} would have too many local components near q for Rn /K to be a manifold at q. when is Rn /K a topological manifold? This is really a special case of the situation in Subsection C. then Rn /K is automatically the same as Rn itself. One could also consider general manifolds instead of Rn here. We shall discuss the general situation further in Subsection C. The main ideas come up in this case anyway. this is where we shrink K to a single point. where one includes all points in K if the element of Rn /K associated to K lies in U . If K is a finite set with more than one element.3. together with a single point which corresponds to K itself.

that K must be wildly embedded when Rn /K is not a manifold (and K is a topological cell). This follows automatically from the case of standard rectangular cells. 1 ≤ j ≤ n − 1. We shall say more about this as the subsection goes on.1.3. then one runs into trouble with local simple-connectivity of (Rn /K)\{q} at q. This point is the one that corresponds to K in Rn /K.9) in Subsection C. if one merely assumes that K is homeomorphic to a standard rectangular cell. smooth. which is equivalent to (Rn /K)\{q}. The converse is true. then one has similar obstructions to Rn /K being a n 76 .Now suppose that K is a straight line segment in Rn .9) in Subsection C. but they are never contractable in (R3/K)\{q} at all. which are nonetheless linked with K. Let us denote this point by q again. This is the same as saying that these loops are not contractable inside of Rn \K. More generally. round sphere. Imagine now that K is a copy of the j-dimensional sphere Sj . This would also work if K were a standard rectangular cell of higher dimension in Rn . In this case Rn /K is never a topological manifold. then it is not necessarily true that Rn /K is a manifold! This is another aspect of wild embeddings. If j = n − 2. with the two meeting at a single point. this works if K is a tame cell in Rn .8) in Subsection C. A concrete example is given by taking K to be a copy of the Fox–Artin wild arc in R3. so that K is a standard circle in R3 .) Note that we are not saying that Rn /K is always not a manifold when K is wildly embedded. where they can be as close to the point q as one likes. which one might view as a generalization of the earlier comments about the case where K is a finite set with more than a single point. In this case (Rn /K)\{q} does not have the right local-connectedness property at q in order for Rn /K to be a manifold.3). For this let us use a standard. In this event. If j = n − 1. (Compare with [Fer4]. as in (C. then Rn /K is homeomorphic to the union of Rn and an n-sphere. This is just a rephrasal of the remark above. it is not a matter of wildness that we want to consider. However. as above. Here is a slightly more foolish example. This is not hard to check. meaning the image of a standard rectangular cell under a homeomorphism of Rn onto itself. from Subsection C. When j < n − 2. that Rn /K is a manifold when K is a tamely embedded cell. as in (C. R \K is homeomorphic to Rn again. let alone in small neighborhoods of q (as in (C. These loops then project down into (R3 /K)\{q}. For this one might think about the special case where n = 3. It is easy to take small loops in R3 \K.3. lying close to K.

but the behavior near a given point of punctured neighborhoods around that point are another matter.2. That the Whitehead continuum W is cell-like is not hard to see from the construction of W . then K is contractable to a point inside of itself. This neighborhood can be contracted onto K in a simple way. Compare with [Dave2]. If K is a topological cell. This ambiguity will not really cause trouble for us here. as there is some flexibility in the construction. as in Subsection C. where we have Rn /K with K a standard round jdimensional sphere. Specifically. This is as opposed to connectedness properties of (Rn /K)\{q}. when j = n − 1 or n − 2. and we can work with any compact set W in R3 which is obtained as in the procedure described in Subsection C. but for the moment let us go on to some other matters. which is homeomorphic to the Cartesian product of the j-sphere K and an (n − j)-dimensional ball. We should not really say the Whitehead continuum here. without using the extra bit of room provided by a small neighborhood of 77 . Specifically. from Subsection C. Definition C.manifold. This is analogous to the cases already described. as the intersection of a decreasing sequence of solid tori with certain properties. which can lead to the resulting set W not being pinned down completely. For this example. especially p120. We shall say more about this soon.3. and this leads to the local contractability of Rn /K at q. for this the key point is that the th solid torus can be contracted to a point inside the previous one. and it is analogous to what happens in the case of finite polyhedra. but in terms of the failure of higher-dimensional forms of local connectedness of (Rn /K)\{q} (using homology or homotopy). for finite polyhedra one always has local contractability. Now let us consider the case of the Whitehead continuum. The set W has the feature of being cell-like.11 (Cell-like sets) A compact set K in Rn is said to be celllike if K can be contracted to a point inside of any neighborhood U of itself in Rn . In Rn . In the present case.2. one can take a tubular neighborhood of K. one can see the local contractability of Rn /K at the point q (corresponding to K) as follows. note that Rn /K itself is locally contractable at q. as in the following definition. where K is taken to be a standard j-dimensional sphere. The latter is connected to the behavior of the codimension-1 link of the polyhedron around the given point.

If we let q denote the point in R3/W corresponding to W . For W . The loop from the solid torus Tj can be filled with a disk inside Tj .) Thus these loops near W can be contracted to a point in R3\W . See [Dave2. as in Subsection C. let alone in a neighborhood of K. or any of its successors. as discussed before. this means that there are loops in R3\W (which is the same as (R3/W )\{q}) which lie as close to W as one likes (in their entirety).3. around (C.10). For W . the failure of the local simple-connectivity of (R3 /W )\{q} at q is equivalent to S3 \W not being simply-connected at infinity. there are loops in R3\K which lie as close to K as one wants. and the comment just after (C. one can avoid the 78 .e. (This is a straightforward exercise. but not without crossing the smaller torus Tj+1 . one has that S3 \W is contractable (as mentioned in Subsection C. These loops can be described concretely. one can fill the loops with surfaces inside R3 \W while staying close to W . Kir]). let us compare the situation with W and the example before where K is a standard circle inside of R3.9)). these loops can be made homologically trivial in R3 \W while staying near W . This comes back to the way that each T +1 is “clasped” inside of T . and which are not contractable to a point in R3\K at all.itself. if one allows the surfaces to have handles (rather than simply being a disk. This is also independent of the way that K might be embedded into some Rn . Although one has these loops in R3\W which lie near W but cannot be contracted to a point in R3 \W while staying near W . Kir] for more information (including Proposition 9 on p76 of [Dave2]). In this respect.11). as meridians in the solid tori whose intersection gives W .2). However. That is. For the latter. but which cannot be contracted to a point in R3\W while remaining reasonably close to W . More precisely. W is like a topological cell (and hence the name “cell-like” for the property in Definition C. This is something that one can easily see from the pictures (as in [Dave2. but also pass through W (and so are not in R3 \W ). if one allows oneself to go away from W for the contraction.2. it is not true that R3/W is a topological manifold.. This also follows the discussion in Subsection C. Here is another aspect of this. In concrete terms. and this implies that R3 \W is simply-connected. where the disks stay close to W . as in the case of homotopic triviality). The basic idea is that one can fill the loops with disks. i. In any event. wildly or tamely. This case is quite different from the one of embedding round spheres in n R . then (R3 /W )\{q} is not locally simply-connected at q (in the sense of the condition in Subsection C.3.

one can “unclasp” T in R4 by lifting one end up. This is a standard observation. the extra dimension provides a lot of extra room. the case of Whitehead continua is much more tame than that of embedded circles and spheres of other dimensions. bringing it around the hole in T . the linking number of the loop with K is nonzero. In this situation.) In this respect. it is not possible to make an isotopy which shrinks T to a set of small diameter. back in R3.intersection with W by cutting out a couple of small holes in the disk. When one has the extra dimension in R4. throughout the rest of the construction. In R4. Fla. through the inclusion of R3 in R4 by taking the fourth coordinate to be 0. (For more about “linking numbers”. For R4 .2. Then W will stay inside this next solid torus. 79 . This kind of filling by surfaces does not work in the case where we take K to be a standard circle in R3. we have loops in R3 \K which lie close to K. and [Dave2. and it is analogous to the way that knots in R3 become unknotted in R4. We shall encounter other versions of this. in such a way that this “clasping” is not really present any more. we have that R4/W is a topological manifold (homeomorphic to 4 R ). In the realization of W as the intersection of a decreasing sequence of solid tori in R3. This is exactly because of the way that T is “clasped” in T . The basic point behind this is the following. and this surface gives a way of filling the loop without intersecting W (or being forced to go far away from it). In other words. while not moving points some distance away at all. and attaching a handle to them which goes along the boundary of the solid torus in the next generation of the construction. and which are linked homologically with the circle K. and this linking number is a homological invariant which would vanish if the loop could be filled with a surface without intersecting K. which distinguishes it from ordinary circles in R3 (or spheres in Rn more generally). Here is another feature of W . while leaving the points in the complement of the larger solid torus fixed. Kir]). By contrast. this procedure gives a way to make a deformation of R4. In other words. in which the solid torus T is mapped to a set of small diameter. Let us think of W now as lying in R4 rather than R3 . the th solid torus was always “clasped” in the previous one (as in Subsection C. Spa]. If T is a solid torus which is embedded and clasped inside of another solid torus T in R3. now and further in this appendix. Bred1. see [BotT. so that it cannot be “unclasped” by an isotopy in T . even if it is still singular. and leaving the other end alone.

and is discussed in detail in [Dave2]. By contrast. (R3 /K)\{q} ∼ R3\K is not simply= connected at all. however. Once one has this kind of “shrinking” in R4 . One should not be too surprised about this. and asks analogous questions for R4 /K (or R4\K). with circles or spheres (and their complements in Rn ). but (n − 2)-dimensional connectivity still does not work. in the form of 2-dimensional connectivity. For that matter. The trick is to do this without shrinking everything. One can do this directly. to make a mapping from R4 to itself which shrinks W to a point while remaining injective (and continuous) everywhere else. The basic underlying problem continues. then R4/K is still not a topological manifold. by lifting one end up and moving it around. This follows from our earlier discussion about circles and spheres of higher dimensions inside of Rn in general. In other words. let us consider the case of a circle K in R3. and if q denotes the point in R3/K which corresponds to K. This idea of shrinking can be given a general form. that there is a kind of “improvement” that occurs in adding dimensions in this way. then there is no longer any trouble with simple-connectivity. One also does not get a manifold by replacing R4 with Rm for larger m’s. and combinations of them. and deeper and deeper in the construction of W . which 80 . See also [Edw2. of which W is the intersection. using shrinking homeomorphisms like this. Similarly. while circles or spheres of higher dimension are not at all cell-like. The problem with local simple-connectivity goes away when we proceed from R3 to R4. One puts homeomorphisms like this on top of each other. If one views K as a subset of R4 in the same way. are made smaller and smaller in this process. so that the mapping that results remains a homeomorphism on the complement of W . then (R3 /K)\{q} is not locally simply-connected at q. until W itself is shrunk all the way to a point. If K is a circle in R3 . but difficulties with higher-dimensional connectivity do not then arise in their place.one can “undo” the clasping. one can use this to show that R4/W is homeomorphic to R4 . This is not hard to see. there is some clear and simple nontrivial topology around. while the Whitehead continuum is much closer to something like a standard cell. When one considers K as a subset of R4 . Kir]. then the trouble with connectivity in lower dimensions goes away. since the Whitehead continuum is cell-like. as indicated above. With the Whitehead continuum we are more fortunate. though. if one views K as a subset of Rn for larger n. The various solid tori Tj in the construction. Notice.

then K is cell-like. and p44 of [Rus1]. Definition C. then K is cellular if it is cell-like. a compact set K is cellular if and only if any neighborhood of K contains an open set which contains K and is homeomorphic to the standard n-dimensional ball. equivalently. the converse is very simple. In R2 . since connectedness implies that a set is an interval. For the record. 81 . (One can look at this more precisely. If K is cellular. [Edw2]. especially the theorem on p114.) See also [Edw2]. but we shall not pursue this here. especially p35.12 (Cellularity) A compact set K in Rn (or. where each Bi is a topological n-cell (or. and hence cellular. The fact that cellularity implies cell-likeness follows easily from the definitions. let us mention the following. and the cellularity criterion Now let us look at some general notions and results. In this case. Theorem C. an n-dimensional topological manifold) is said to be cellular if it can be realized as the intersection of a countable family of sets Bi . (Concerning the latter.causes less trouble. When n = 1. Proposition C. Alternatively. Note that some of the notation in Exercise 7 on p41 in [Dave2] is explained in the statement of Proposition 2 on p36 of [Dave2]. See Corollary 4C on p122 of [Dave2]. Conversely. the argument uses special features of plane topology. Rn /K is homeomorphic to Rn . see Section 5 in [Dave2] too. more generally.) C. and Proposition 2 on p36 of [Dave2] for the second one. Then Rn /K is a topological manifold if and only if K is cellular in Rn . in fact.13 Let K be a compact subset of Rn . Compare with [Dave2]. and if each Bi+1 is contained in the interior of the preceding Bi .14 Let K be a compact subset of Rn .1 Cellularity. concerning the possibility that Rn /K be a topological manifold (and. homeomorphic to Rn ). if n is equal to 1 or 2.4. See Exercise 7 on p41 of [Dave2] for the first assertion. homeomorphic to the closed unit ball in Rn ). and p44ff of [Rus1].

In higher dimensions, cell-like sets need not be cellular. Examples are given by Whitehead continua, and some wild embeddings of cells. However, there is an exact characterization of cellular sets among cell-like sets, which is the following. Basically, the point is to include the same kind of localized simple-connectivity of Rn \K around K as discussed before. Theorem C.15 Let K be a compact set in Rn , with n ≥ 3. Then K is cellular inside of Rn if and only if (a) it is cell-like, and (b) for every open neighborhood U of K in Rn there is another open neighborhood V of K so that every continuous mapping from S1 into V \K can be contracted to a point inside of U \K. This characterization of cellularity is stated in Theorem 5 on p145 of [Dave2]. This uses also the definition of the cellularity criterion given on p143 of [Dave2]. When n ≥ 4, this result works for subsets of general ndimensional topological manifolds, and not just Rn . When n = 3, there is trouble with the general case of manifolds, related to the 3-dimensional Poincar´ conjecture being unsettled; if the cellularity criterion holds for gene eral manifolds, then the 3-dimensional Poincar´ conjecture would follow, as e discussed on p145 of [Dave2]. See Theorem 1.11 on p373 of [Fre] concerning the 4-dimensional case, and [McM] and Section 4.8 of [Rus1] for dimensions 5 and higher. Corollary C.16 Let K be a compact subset of Rn , n ≥ 3. If K is cell-like in Rn , then K × {0} is cellular in Rn+1 . See Corollary 5A on p145 of [Dave2]. Corollary C.16 is analogous to the fact that wild embeddings into Rn can become tame when one passes from Rn as the ambient space to an Rm with m > n. This was discussed briefly in Subsection C.1, towards the end. Similarly, Theorem C.15 is analogous to taming theorems for embeddings mentioned in Subsection C.1. Theorem C.15 and Corollary C.16 are also close to some of the matters described in Subsection C.2. The main point behind the derivation of Corollary C.16 from Theorem C.15 is that by passing to a Euclidean space of one higher dimension, potential trouble with local simple-connectedness of the complement of K goes away. This fits with basic examples, and the Whitehead continuum in particular. 82

We saw before that when K is a sphere, the passage from Rn to Rn+1 can get rid of the trouble with local simple-connectivity of the complement of K, but that problems remain with higher-dimensional connectivity of the complement. For cell-like sets, unlike general sets, it is only the localized 1dimensional connectivity of the complement which is needed to get cellularity. This is shown by Theorem C.15. In this regard, let us also notice the following simple converse to Corollary C.16. Lemma C.17 Suppose that K is a compact subset of Rn . If K × {0} is cellular in Rn+1 , then K is cell-like in Rn . Indeed, if K × {0} is cellular in Rn+1 , then it is also cell-like in Rn+1 , as in Proposition C.14. It is easy to check that cell-likeness for K × {0} in Rn+1 implies cell-likeness for K inside Rn , just by the definitions. (Thus cell-likeness, unlike cellularity, is not made more feasible by the extra room of extra dimensions.) This implies Lemma C.17. For concrete examples of cell-like sets, often the cellularity in higherdimensional spaces, as in Corollary C.16, can be seen in fairly direct and simple terms. The room from the extra dimensions makes it easy to move pieces of the set apart, without the claspings, knottings, etc., which occurred originally. Some aspects of this came up earlier, concerning Whitehead continua. Before leaving this subsection, let us observe that the localized simpleconnectivity conditions that are used here are a bit different from those employed in the context of taming theorems, as in Subsection C.1. To make this precise, let K be a compact subset of some Rn . The conditions that come up in the present subsection involve the behavior of Rn \K, localized around K (the whole of K). That is, one looks at the behavior of Rn \K within arbitrarily-small neighborhoods of K in Rn . In the context of Subsection C.1, one would look at the behavior of Rn \K near individual points in K. To put it another way, here one seeks to contract loops in Rn \K that are close to K to points, while staying close to K. In the context of Subsection C.1, one looks at small loops in Rn \K near K, and tries to contract them to points in the complement while staying in small balls, and not just staying near K.

83

C.5

Manifold factors

Let W be a Whitehead continuum, constructed through a decreasing sequence of solid tori in R3, as in Subsection C.2. Theorem C.18 If R3 /W is defined as in Subsection C.4, then (R3 /W ) × R is homeomorphic to R4 . In particular, (R3/W ) × R is a topological manifold, even though R3 /W itself is not. Thus (R3 /W ) × R is a manifold factor. The fact that (R3/W ) × R is homeomorphic to R4 is given as Corollary 3B on p84 of [Dave2]. See also [AndR, Kir]. Note that the existence of a homeomorphism from (R3 /W ) × R onto 4 R is not the same as the observation mentioned in Subsection C.4, that R4/(W × {0}) is homeomorphic to R4 . In considering (R3/W ) × R, one is in effect taking R4, and then shrinking each copy W × {u} of W to a point, where u runs through all real numbers. For R4 /(W × {0}), one shrinks only a single copy of W to a point. Although the construction is more complicated for (R3 /W ) × R than for R4/(W × {0}), there are some common aspects. As before, one of the main points is that the solid tori in R3 which are “clasped” (inside of other solid tori) become unclasped in R4 . With the extra dimension in R4 , one can pick up one end of one of these tori, bring it around, and then lay it down again, so that the clasping is undone. For the present situation with (R3 /W ) × R, one performs this kind of action for all of the copies W × {u} of W at once, u ∈ R, rather than just a single copy. (Compare also with Subsection C.6, and the general notion of decomposition spaces mentioned there.) In Subsection C.2, it was mentioned that S3 \W is a contractable open set which is not homeomorphic to a 3-ball (because it is not simply-connected at infinity), and that (S3 \W ) × R is homeomorphic to a 4-dimensional open ball. (See [Bin3, Bin4, Kir].) This result is similar in some ways to Theorem C.18, but the conclusions are not quite the same either. In this vein, let us make the following observation. As usual, denote by q the (singular) point in R3 /W that corresponds to W . Let us write L for the subset of (R3 /W ) × R given by q × R. Thus L is homeomorphic to a line. Using a homeomorphism from (R3 /W )×R to R4, one gets an embedding of L into R4. It is not hard to see that any such embedding of L into R4 has to be wild. Just as R3\W is not locally simply-connected near W , if L denotes the image of L in R4 by an embedding as above, then R4\L is 84

in Lemma 3. In a particular. each nontrivial arc of L has to have Hausdorff dimension at least 2. by construction. This is also true locally. if F is closed and has Hausdorff dimension < n − 2. (In general. and this is an instance of that. though. Conversely. one might have to figure out something about how to put the topological line back in. i. Theorem C. In other words. The next fact helps to give an idea of how wild L can have to be. and let F be a closed set in Rn .not locally simply-connected near L. using 85 . Rn \F is simply-connected. In particular. By now. From this one can check that L as above necessarily has Hausdorff dimension at least 2. it is enough to ask that the (n − 2)-dimensional Hausdorff measure of F be zero. then F is practically invisible for considerations of fundamental groups.19 Let U be an open set in some Rn .e.19 is given (in a slightly different form) in [MartRiV3]. If the Hausdorff dimension of F is less than n − 2. if one wanted to go in the other direction. Hausdorff dimension need not be preserved by homeomorphisms. [SieS] uses Theorem C. no matter what homeomorphism from (R3/W ) × R onto R4 one might use. V¨i3] for related results.18 to a homeomorphism from (S3 \W ) × R onto R4. since ordinary straight lines in R4 do not behave in this way. then any open loop in U \F that can be contracted to a point in U can also be contracted to a point in U \F . even local ones. since L is homeomorphic to a line (and straight lines have Hausdorff dimension 1).) This ensures that L is wild in R4 .19 in a manner very similar to this. Bin4]. (Note that R4 \L is homeomorphic to (R3\W ) × R. and for the same reasons. SieS. One can also make local versions of this argument.3 on p9. because of the wildness of L inside of R4. This is somewhat remarkable. in the context of double-suspension spheres and homeomorphic parameterizations of them. then in particular one could be lead to try to figure out something about what happens when one deletes L from R4. If one were to want to pass from a homeomorphism from (R3/W ) × R onto R4 in Theorem C. See also [Geh2. These endeavors should be at least somewhat complicated. there are many examples known of spaces which are manifold factors (and not manifolds).19. to show that L is locally wild in the same manner. LuuV. The original discovery was in [Bin3. no matter the homeomorphism from (R3/W ) × R onto R4 which produced it..) Theorem C. Note that instead of requiring that F have Hausdorff dimension less than n − 2 in Theorem C.

C. Bry2. Can2. note that the definition of a “k-dimensional decomposition” of a manifold is given near the top of p152 of [Dave2].a different space.6 Decomposition spaces. given a compact subset K of Rn . (For Theorem 9 on p196 of [Dave2]. There are compact sets K in Rn such that K is not cell-like. Bing’s “dogbone” space. 2 The construction of the quotient Rn /K. More generally. then Rn /K may not be a manifold if K is wild. See Section 29 of [Dave2]. then Rn /K may not be homeomorphic to Rn . if K is a compact set in Rn which is a cell. Bry1. This happens for every n ≥ 4. See [AndC. and Theorem 9 on p196 or Theorem 13 on p200 of [Dave2] for n ≥ 4. Edw2] (mentioned in Section 3). When n = 1 or 2. but for which P × R is a manifold. Dave2.4. (Compare with Proposition C.13 in Subsubsection C. More generally. then (Rn /K) × R is homeomorphic to Rn+1 . Rus1]. one can allow many subsets of Rn (or some other space) to be contracted to points at the same time.4. Can3. 86 . See Proposition 2 on p206 of [Dave2] for n = 3. 3 is the smallest dimension in which this type of phenomenon can occur (where a non-manifold becomes a manifold after taking the Cartesian product with R). because of results about recognizing manifolds in dimensions 1 and 2. if K is any compact set in Rn which is cell-like. but it is true that (Rn /K) × R is homeomorphic to Rn+1 in this situation. but (Rn /K) × R is homeomorphic to Rn+1 . As mentioned near the bottom of p93 of [Dave2].14 and Theorem C. as in Subsection C. rather than just a single set. (The proof uses the double-suspension theorems. From these one has the remarkable fact that there are finite polyhedra P which are not topological manifolds. As a basic class of examples.) If n ≥ 3.) Another class of examples (which is in fact closely related to the previous ones) comes from the celebrated double-suspension theorems of Edwards and Cannon [Can1. is an example of a decomposition space.6. It does occur in all dimensions greater than or equal to 3. Rn /K is itself homeomorphic to Rn . will come up again in Subsection C.1. Dave2. This example. beginning on p223. but (Rn /K) × R is homeomorphic to Rn+1 .) There are also non-manifold spaces which become manifolds after taking the product with other non-manifold spaces. and not cellular in particular. See Corollary 3E on p185 of [Dave2].

and that for each 87 . For the present discussion. This decomposition is sometimes denoted GK .. Moore [Moo] is an early result about when decomposition spaces are manifolds. product spaces of the form (Rn /K) × R can be viewed as decomposition spaces. The topology on the quotient is the richest one (the one with the most open sets) so that the canonical mapping from the space to the quotient is continuous. with the latter running through all points in Rn \K. corresponding to the copies of K. but in order to have some good properties (like the Hausdorff condition for the quotient space). All of this makes sense in general. first as a set — by collapsing the sets in the partition to individual points — and then as a topological space. we shall always assume that some conditions like these hold. and whose union is the whole space. See [Can1. then one writes Rn /G for the corresponding quotient space. Dave2] for more information. Specifically. the last paragraph in Section 2 on p380 of [Dave1]. even if we do not say so explicitly. The following theorem of R. one can always consider the decomposition of Rn consisting of K and sets with only single elements.4. As another basic situation. and the remarks near the top of p37 in [Dave2]. Theorem C.e. One can then form the corresponding quotient space. means a partition of it. and the quotient Rn /GK in the general sense of decompositions is the same as the space Rn /K from Subsection C. one has a particular “line”. See [Dave2] for details. and homeomorphic to the original space. some assumptions about the decomposition should be made. typical assumptions would be that the individual sets that make up the decomposition be closed. For instance. An important general point is that wild or interesting embeddings can often occur in simple or useful ways through decompositions. including p451 of [Can1]. L. Suppose that f is a continuous mapping from the 2-sphere S2 to X. If G is a decomposition of Rn . a decomposition of Rn . including the definition on p13 of [Dave2]. The resulting decomposition space is equivalent topologically to (Rn /K) × R. As a start. Given a set K in Rn . = together with single-element sets for all of the points in Rn+1 \(K × R). and that the decomposition satisfy a certain upper semi-continuity property. or some other space.In general. Dave1. a collection of subsets which are pairwise disjoint.20 Let X be a compact Hausdorff topological space. in the decomposition space described in the preceding paragraph. one gets a decomposition of Rn+1 ∼ Rn × R using sets of the form K × {u} in Rn+1 for each u ∈ R. i.

because of counterexamples like the non-manifold spaces that one can get by contracting a circle to a point (as in Subsection C. For this it is enough to assume that the inverse images of points under the mapping be connected (and nonempty proper subsets of the domain). f −1 (x) is nonempty and connected. and Proposition 2 on p36 of [Dave2]. This is true for decompositions which consist of a single cellular subset of the space. and that the set itself is cellular (Definition C. For decompositions in general. or other topological manifolds) by a cellular decomposition is a manifold. See Theorem C. the inverse images of points will simply be arcs.4. for this and other examples.4). where the fibers are connected and have connected complements. For a closed subset of S2 which is not empty nor all of S2 . one might hope that a quotient of Rn (or Sn .4.4. together with all the remaining points in the space as one-element sets. especially Section 9. these conditions imply that the complement of the set is homeomorphic to a 2-dimensional disk. in dimension 2. and S2 \f −1 (x) is nonempty and connected. This fails already for decompositions of R3 .) As an analogy with Moore’s theorem. However. It is true that f can always be approximated by homeomorphisms. whatever it might be). The first example of this was provided by Bing’s “dogbone” construction in [Bin2].x ∈ X. For the statement that the decomposition space is not a 88 . and homeomorphic to Rn again (or to the original manifold.4). without imposing conditions on their complements. In other words.12 in Subsection C. See also [Dave2]. it is not true that cellularity is sufficient to ensure that the quotient space is a manifold. f might have the effect of collapsing some line segments down to single points. As in Subsection C. In this situation. Compare with [Dave2]. including the remarks near the bottom of p17. the property of a set in S2 or R2 being connected and having connected complement is quite strong. Then X is homeomorphic to S2 . What might be reasonable analogues of Theorem C. In this theorem. the mapping f itself may not be a homeomorphism. this statement is true in the context of quotients as in Subsection C. for instance.13 in Subsection C. in the statement of Corollary 2A on p36. however. A decomposition G of Rn is said to be cellular if each of the subsets of Rn of which it is composed is cellular. (Compare with [Dave2]. See [Dave2] for more information and references.20 in higher dimensions? One should not keep the hypotheses literally as they are above. Similar results hold in dimension 1.

there are many which define the same topology. This decomposition has a symmetry to it. and translations. and not just not homeomorphic to R3. and results about when it should take place. which leads to a homeomorphic involution on S3 which is highly nonstandard. The results mentioned in Subsection C. The topology is canonical. Note that there are general results about existence of metrics which are compatible with the topology. or anything like that. See [Bin3. even if there are also special metrics 89 . C. especially Section 4 of [Bin1]. Although quotients by cellular decompositions do not in general give manifolds. giving rise to some wild embeddings in particular. A particularly nice and fundamental example is given by “Bing doubling”. see Theorem 13 on 498 of [Bin2]. The fixedpoint set of this homeomorphism is a wildly-embedded 2-sphere in S3 . Once one has one such metric. as in Proposition 2 on p13 of [Dave2]. See also Section 9 of [Bin4] for a wild involution on R4. the decomposition has some interesting features. Dave2] (Example 1 in Section 9 of [Dave2]). This is true just as well for ordinary Euclidean spaces.1 Geometric structures for decomposition spaces A basic class of constructions One feature of decomposition spaces is that they do not a priori come with a canonical or especially nice geometry. there are many nontrivial examples where this does occur. and are homeomorphic to Rn+1 . A recent paper related to this is [Arm]. This uses the fact that the product of the dogbone space with the real line is homeomorphic to R4 . This is a decomposition of R3 for which the corresponding quotient space is homeomorphic to R3. reflections.7 C. or the spheres Sn . made from rotations.5 — about quotients Rn /K being homeomorphic to a Euclidean space after taking the Cartesian product with R — can also be seen as providing nontrivial examples of cellular decompositions of Rn+1 for which the corresponding quotients are manifolds. See [Bin1] for more information. The dogbone space was also used in the initial discovery of manifold factors. This construction apparently gave the first examples of involutions on R3 which were not topologically equivalent to “standard” ones. but this is somewhat different.7.manifold. whose fixed point set is homeomorphic to the dogbone space. While the quotient space is standard. See [Bin1. Bin4].

Thus. Let us be more precise. if the original “rule” involves m copies of D inside of itself. In these cases. one can get a new collection of smaller copies of D. m = 4. The construction gives Cj ⊆ Cj−1 for all j ≥ 2.. one also includes the one-point set {x} in the decomposition G. The Whitehead continuum (discussed in Subsection C. by applying the “rule” to the copies of D with which we started. and with the result being nontrivial.) In these cases the number of components grows exponentially in the process. i. one can take the set C = ∞ Cj . and are used to define the decomposition. At each stage of the process there is only one domain. and then passes to the copies of D inside of itself. In particular.(like the Euclidean metric) that one might normally like or use.2) is an example of this. there are more than one embedding being used at each step. with the first step corresponding to D alone. which can be converted into geometric self-similarity. To generate the nontrivial elements of the decomposition. Bing doubling [Bin1]. 90 .e. one has m > 1. To pass to the limit. and is infinite in the end (after taking the limit). The “rule” can be described by a smooth domain D in Rn together with some copies of D embedded in the interior of D. then the jth step of this process gives rise to mj−1 copies of D. and Bing’s dogbone space [Bin2] — have a natural topological “self-similarity” to them. For Bing doubling and Bing’s dogbone space. one can have m = 1 in the general set-up described above. while for the dogbone space it is a solid 2-handled torus. For the dogbone space. A number of basic examples — like the Whitehead continuum. In some cases (for decomposition spaces). one starts with D. and more than one copy of the basic domain. as the name suggests. There the “rule” is particularly simple. (For Bing doubling the basic domain is again a solid torus.e. The limiting sets which arise from this procedure are pairwise disjoint. in that it is based on an embedding of a single solid torus T1 inside a larger one T . To do this carefully. and then use the components of C as subsets of Rn to be j=1 employed in the decomposition G of Rn .. For each of these copies of D inside of D. and only one nondegenerate set being produced in the end (i. the nondegenerate elements of the decomposition are generated by repeating a simple “rule”. in a pairwise-disjoint manner. In Bing doubling one has m = 2. the Whitehead continuum). which is the union of the mj−1 individual copies of D indicated above. one can think of the jth step of the process as producing a compact set Cj . there are some particularly nice or special geometries that one can consider. For each point x ∈ Rn \C. One then repeats this indefinitely.

especially Section 9. Normally this will not be the case. the next simplest possibility would be that the embeddings are made up out of something like dilations. defining metrics on Rn with suitable properties. and reflections. Some amount of bending or twisting. through embeddings of the decomposition spaces into higherdimensional Euclidean spaces. can be realized in terms of standard linear self-similarity. To build such a set X. The scale factors should be less that 1. one can start with the complement of the original domain D in Rn . will (in general) be involved. the basic “rule” involves nontrivial distortion of the standard Euclidean geometry at each step. or things like that. One can do this in a kind of direct and “intrinsic” way. then some change in the geometry (along the lines of shrinkage) is unavoidable. when one embeds a copy of some (bounded) domain D into itself. See [Dave2]. translations. to reflect the shrinking that is supposed to take place for the decomposition spaces (even at a purely topological level). One can also do this more concretely.At any rate. More precisely.e. i. As a first point along these lines. one can modify the usual Euclidean metric so that the embeddings involved in the basic “rule” do have the kind of behavior indicated above. In other words. with individual copies of a domain being replaced systematically by some embedded subdomains. following repetitions of a single basic “rule”. One would view Rn \D as an n-dimensional submanifold 91 . the quotient of Rn by the decomposition can be realized topologically as an n-dimensional subset X of some RN (with N = n + 1.. there are a number of basic examples of decompositions generated in this manner. It is not hard to see that one can make deformations of geometry like this. This includes linking. and needed. at least if the embedded copy is a proper subset of the original domain. in such a way that X is a smooth submanifold away from the natural singularities. the self-similarity that one wants. in these circumstances.. except for a uniform scale factor. a constant scale factor together with an isometry. In these higher-dimensional Euclidean spaces. etc. clasping. however. through dilations and translations. “physically”. copies of itself. in typical situations. one might hope that the geometry does not have to change. to accommodate the kind of topological behavior that is present. rotations. For the purpose of choosing a geometry that might fit with a given decomposition space. In typical situations. for instance). and X is self-similar around these singularities. Given that there needs to be some shrinkage in the embedding.

the building blocks are constructed in such a way that their ends are all similar to each other (i. The curving of the interiors of these building blocks compensates for the straightening of their ends. the building blocks are chosen so that when one goes to stack them on top of each other. As above. These things are not difficult to arrange. In this manner. In place of the iteration of the basic rule for the decomposition from before. so that the different building blocks can be stacked properly. but they are also constructed in such a way as to be “similar” to each other. minus the interiors of the m copies of D embedded inside D. Up there. with smoothness across the interfaces. to get basic building blocks in RN that are n-dimensional curved submanifolds whose ends are similar to each other. given by D minus the interiors of the m embedded copies of D in D. even different ends on the same building block). and without changing anything near the boundary of the original domain D. since they are all diffeomorphic to this same model. The building blocks are all diffeomorphic to each other. the main “trade-off” here is that one gives up the “flatness” of the original model. One starts with the basic model in Rn . which is the original domain D in Rn .of RN . until they are similar to D itself (i. the original model region in Rn becomes realized as an n-dimensional compact smooth submanifold (with boundary) in RN . Further. as a region in Rn .. Specifically.. They are diffeomorphic to a single “model” in Rn . That is. over and over again. up into the extra dimension or dimensions in RN . they can all be given by translations and dilations of each other. Roughly speaking.e. To put it another way. to get a realization of the decomposition space by an n92 . these subdomains can be moved or bent around. one uses the extra dimensions in RN to straighten the “ends” in this way. this would involve something like the following. with the ends matching up properly under similarities. their “ends” fit together properly. and then on top of the other building blocks. Typically. One then makes some translations of the m embedded subdomains in D.e. This is a key difference between this construction and the original decomposition in Rn . one after another. This can be done one at a time. one then stacks these building blocks on top of each other. one now stacks some “basic building blocks” in RN on top of Rn \D (along the boundary of D). These basic building blocks are given by n-dimensional smooth manifolds in RN (with boundary). as given by the basic “rule” that generates the decomposition. being the same modulo translations and dilations).

) This subset is smooth away from the singularities. These extra points are the singularities of X. In other words. there are some slightly different but related constructions. This is also part of the story of the “limiting points” in the previous paragraph. as above). at the same time that they include more and more stages in the stacking. properties of the decomposition space can be reflected in questions of quantitative bounds for the approximations which may or may not hold. and self-similar at the singularities. Some versions of this come up in [Sem7]. (One also puts in some limiting points. In addition. At any rate. at the level of the topology. The actual homeomorphic equivalence between the set X in RN produced through this method and the decomposition space Rn /G with which one starts is obtained using the diffeomorphic equivalence between the building blocks in RN and the original model in Rn (D minus the interiors of the m embedded copies of itself. The limiting points are exactly the ones associated (in the end) to the nondegenerate sets in the original decomposition in Rn . but which approximates the non-smooth version that represents the decomposition space. 93 . although this kind of approximation is standard topologically. The topological structure of the decomposition space can also be seen in terms of Gromov–Hausdorff limits of smooth approximations like these. at the ends of the towers of the building blocks that arise. This gives a set which is still smooth.dimensional subset X of RN . by matching up the individual building blocks. more details for these various matters are given in [Sem7]. the diameters of the ends tend to 0 (and in a good way) as one stacks the building blocks on top of each other many times. X and the decomposition space. its geometry does reflect the basic rule from which the decomposition space is obtained. In particular. this makes X be a closed subset of RN . To put it another way. with copies of finite approximations repeated but getting small. which are being shrunk to single points. Instead of stacking basic building blocks on top of each other infinitely many times. In rough terms. This corresponds to the fact that the sets in the decomposition are supposed to be shrunk to single points in the quotient space. This is not hard to track. By choosing the scale-factors associated to the ends of the basic building blocks to be less than 1. and diffeomorphic to Rn . one can stop after finitely many steps of the construction. the same kind of construction is occurring in both places. because of the corresponding properties of the basic building blocks. and one can match them up.

One also gets good behavior in terms of “calculus”. With the extra structure from the geometry. For instance.7. These general matters are related as well to the topics of Appendix D.7. For the constructions described in Subsubsection C. like Sobolev and Poincar´ inequalities. and the local linear contractability condition (Definition 4.) We shall look at these types of geometries from some more perspectives in the next subsubsections. this is manifested in terms of properties like Ahlfors-regularity (Definition 5. if one starts with a decomposition space Rn /G from Rn . and some slightly different versions of these basic themes. and which are perhaps not apparent at first. In the type of examples mentioned above.4). Ahlfors-regularity 94 . To summarize a bit. and Ahlfors-regularity in addition even nicer.10). and gives it a metric in which it becomes Ahlfors-regular of dimension n. and also consider some special cases. there are extra dimensions to the story as a whole.1). (Possibilities for doing analysis on spaces like these. independent of the number of levels. although the spaces are actually quite a bit more regular than that. for conditions like these. then in particular the decomposition space has Hausdorff dimension n with respect to this metric. and spaces which are significantly different from standard Euclidean spaces at that. See [Sem7] for more information. give one form of this. To have the two be equal is rather nice. although the quotient spaces that one gets from decompositions may not be topological manifolds.When one makes constructions like these — either finite approximations or infinite limits — the self-similarity helps to ensure that the spaces behave geometrically about as well as they could. C. as in Chapter VII of [HurW]. The Hausdorff dimension of a metric space is always greater than or equal to the topological dimension.2 Comparisons between geometric and topological properties Many of the geometric properties that occur when one constructs geometries for decomposition spaces as above correspond in natural ways to common conditions in purely topological terms that one might consider.1. For instance. at least under suitable assumptions or choices. in many cases one can realize them geometrically in such a way that the behavior that occurs is really pretty good. one can have uniform bounds. One has uniform rectifiability as well e (Definition 5. Rn /G would also have topological dimension n. For smooth approximations with only finitely many levels in the construction.

then there are weaker but analogous conclusions that one can make. For the situations discussed in Subsubsection C.10) is a more quantitative version of this for metric spaces. In other words. Ahlfors-regularity of dimension n for the geometry of the decomposition space is a nice way to have good behavior related to the dimension (and with the right value of the dimension. See Corollary 11B on p129 of [Dave2]. it is a geometric property that fits nicely with general topological considerations (as in the preceding two paragraphs).g.1. there is a theorem which says that the topological dimension of the quotient is less than or equal to the topological dimension of the space with which one starts. by a result of Dranishnikov [Dra] (not available at the time of the writing of [Dave2]). These notions are purely topological ones. and see [Dave2] in general for more information. along the lines of local contractability. It is about as strong as one can get.. under suitable conditions on the space from which one starts (e. If the quotient space is not known to be finite-dimensional. there is a smaller neighborhood V ⊆ U of p in X such that V can be contracted to a point in U . i. but somewhat larger than the first one. The local linear contractability condition (Definition 4. in terms of the sizes of the neighborhoods concerned.. if one tries to contract a small ball in the space to a point inside of another ball which is also small. and self-similar around the singularities.e. See [DaviS8] for more information. and every neighborhood U of p in X. being a manifold). Note that it is possible for the topological dimension of the quotient to be infinite. See Theorem 7 on p135 of [Dave2]. That is.7. if the topological dimension of the quotient is known to be finite. (Note that it is automatically preserved under Gromov–Hausdorff limits. when there are uniform bounds. It is also quantitative. the topological dimension). say). and it makes sense to consider uniform bounds for smooth approximations that use only finitely many levels of the construction.) Another general result about decomposition spaces implies that a cell-like quotient of a space is locally contractable if the quotient has finite dimension. then weaker conditions besides local linear contractability might allow somewhat larger radii for the second ball (than a 95 . while also being about as strong as it can be. For cell-like decompositions in general (of compact metric spaces. Here local contractability of a topological space X means that for every point p ∈ X.reflects the fact that one chooses the geometries to be smooth away from the singularities. See Corollary 12B on p129 of [Dave2] (as well as Corollaries 4A and 8B on p115 and p119 of [Dave2] for auxiliary statements).

7. As indicated earlier (towards the end of Subsubsection C. As a special case.e. We shall give a concrete example of this in a moment. For example. one can look at simple-connectivity of punctured neighborhoods in this regard. even though the underlying space is topologically equivalent to Rn . For instance. Exactly how nice the spaces discussed in Subsubsection C.7. This is one way that geometric structures for decomposition spaces (as in Subsubsection C.constant multiple of the initial radius).1.7. one can still have highly nontrivial geometries from the procedures described in Subsubsection C.. This includes not only how many singularities there are. and things like that. i. I. local linear contractability does come up in a natural manner for the constructions in Subsubsection C. by giving a geometric form which reflects the topological properties in about the best possible way. C.e.1. the decomposition might arise from a nontrivial manifold factor.1).1 are depends on the features of the decompositions. For instance.7.1) can help to add more to the general story. One had before the notion that a wild embedding might have a simple realization 96 .3 Quotient spaces can be topologically standard. The linear bound fits naturally with self-similarity. This is something that one does not have for the space obtained by taking R3 and contracting a Whitehead continuum to a single point. with geometric properties which are not possible in Rn with the standard Euclidean metric. cellularity can give rise to more good behavior than local linear contractability. the wild embeddings that can occur in the quotient (with the topological identification with a Euclidean space) can behave in a very special way in the geometric realization of the decomposition space that one has here. cellular decompositions can lead to nicer or more properties for the resulting spaces than cell-like decompositions.. but do so in a manner that is still somehow nontrivial. Some other versions of this are considered in [Sem7]. at the geometric level.7. In these situations. This fits nicely with the general topological results.7. or lead to wild embeddings in the quotient which seem very simple (like a straight line) at the level of the decomposition. but geometrically tricky We have seen before how decompositions of Rn might lead to Rn again topologically in the quotient. but also how strong they are.

as in Subsection C. Through the type of construction described in Subsubsection C. using the type of geometry for the decomposition space that one has here. it has homeomorphic local coordinates from R4 at every point. any such embedding of L in R4 must be wild.2. and now this might be made precise through metric properties of the embedding (like Hausdorff dimension). Specifically.. as the product of the one in R4 mentioned before with R. and in fact any such embedding must have Hausdorff dimension at least 2. the point in the quotient which corresponds to W . namely. o Although (R3 /W ) × R — with the kind of geometry described above — is quite different from R4 with the usual Euclidean metric. However.e. it has Hausdorff dimension 1. there are homeomorphic local coordinates from a standard Euclidean 97 . As in Subsection C. L = {q}×R is a perfectly nice line. let us think of (R3 /W ) × R as being equipped with a metric. “Uniform local coordinates” asks for a stronger version of this.19. around each metric ball B in (R3/W ) × R (with respect to the kind of geometry that we have).1. Since (R3 /W ) × R is homeomorphic to R4. It is a “straight” line! In particular. One could then use the geometry induced from the usual one on the ambient R4. with respect to the usual Euclidean metric in R4. no such homeomorphism can be Lipschitz (with respect to the geometries that we have on these spaces). Specifically.through a decomposition space. or even H¨lder continuous of order larger than 1/2. In short. One could also think of (R3/W ) × R as being realized as a subset of R5. and is more quantitative. Using the metric on R3/W indicated above.4.5. This used Theorem C. Let us write q for the singular point in R3 /W . and locally finite length. one can realize it topologically as a subset of R4. In this geometry.7. in common with R4 . even though there are homeomorphisms from (R3 /W ) × R onto R4 . there is a strong and nice feature that it has. Let W be a Whitehead continuum in R3 . the image of L inside of R4 under a homeomorphism from (R3 /W ) × R onto R4 will be wild. We shall call this property “uniform local coordinates”. and has a simple self-similarity at the singular point. Consider the corresponding quotient space R3/W . i. one can give R3 /W a geometric structure with several nice properties. where this subset is smooth away from the singular point. as in Subsection C. Here is a concrete instance of this. even though the two spaces are topologically equivalent. This shows that the geometry that we have for (R3 /W )×R has to be substantially different from the usual Euclidean geometry on R4.

which corresponds to a mapping being Lipschitz with constant C. which then implies the existence of some modulus of continuity. continuity automatically implies uniform continuity. we do not look at moduli of continuity for the mappings themselves. and (C. B and 98 . in fact. such as ω(r) = (log log log(1/r))−1 . but renormalized versions of them. which corresponds to H¨lder continuity o of order α. In this way. for instance.22) the modulus of continuity of the coordinate mapping and its inverse can be controlled. In our case.23) r→0 lim ω(r) = 0. and ω(r) would be nonnegative and satisfy (C.21) the image of β under the coordinate mapping covers the given ball B in (R3 /W ) × R. For a mapping from a compact metric space to another metric space. The renormalizations are given by dividing distances in the domain and range by the (common) radius of B and β. This is not to say that one knows much about the modulus of continuity. α > 0. such that (C. Here “modulus of continuity” means a function ω(r) so that when two points in the domain (of a given mapping) are at distance ≤ r. and in a scale-invariant manner. or ω(r) = C rα . gives uniform continuity.ball β of the same radius in R4. but one cannot in general say how fast it tends to 0 as r → 0. with the property of “uniform local coordinates”. a priori. we want to have a single modulus of continuity ω(r) which works simultaneously for all of the local coordinate mappings (and their inverses). r would range through positive numbers. One can have much slower rates of vanishing. This last captures the continuity involved. uniformly over all choices of metric balls B in (R3/W ) × R. their images are at distance ≤ ω(r). (One can always choose it to be monotone. and.) Concrete examples of moduli of continuity would include ω(r) = C r for some constant C. Actually. Also.

(To be honest. for a modestly different situation. so that one can move the center to (q. For that matter. In this case one can get the condition of uniform local coordinates from the existence of topological coordinates (without uniform bounds).) This substitution does not cause trouble for the kind of bounds that are being sought here. This gives a kind of uniform basis for making comparisons between the behavior of the individual local coordinate mappings. Using the self-similarity of (R3 /W )×R. Let us return now to the special case of (R3 /W ) × R. one could replace B with a ball which is centered on {q} × R. if necessary. as well as stronger forms of smoothness. We may as well assume that the center of B is the point (q.) Let B be a metric ball in (R3/W )×R. Specifically. and which is not too much larger. The bounds that one gets are scale-invariant. Here is an outline of the argument.1). 0).7. This is because (R3 /W ) × R and the geometry that we have on it are invariant under translations in the R direction. In fact. for which one wants to find suitable coordinates. by simply increasing the radius by a bounded factor (which again does not cause problems for the uniform bounds that are being considered here). 0) without difficulty. That is.3 on p241 in [Sem7].7 on p192 of [Sem7]. as in Definition 1. and with suitable uniform bounds for the moduli of continuity of the coordinate mappings and their inverses. together with the self-similarity and smoothness properties of the set. This permits one to get local coordinates around B quite easily. Note that the property of uniform local coordinates is called “Condition (∗∗)” in [Sem7]. and in fact that the radius of B is reasonably small compared to the distance from B to the singular line. by construction (through the method of Subsubsection C. If the ball B is reasonably close to the singular line {q} × R.7. (The radius of the new ball would be bounded by a constant times the radius of B. Assume first that B does not get too close to the singular line {q} × R in (R3 /W ) × R. (A detailed version of this. one can reduce further to the case where the radius of B is approximately 1. is given in [Sem7]. one can have Lipschitz bounds in this case. see Theorem 6.1).β are viewed as though they have radius 1. if one takes the geometry for R3/W to 99 . In this case (R3/W ) × R is pretty smooth and flat in B. with the geometry as before. one can reduce to the case where it is equal to 1. then one can reduce to the case where it is actually centered on {q} × R. Thus we suppose that B is centered on the line {q} × R. independently of what the radius was originally. because of the self-similarity in the geometric construction (from Subsubsection C.

7. in the sense described before. This is because of the way that the reductions cooperate with the scaling and the geometry. For this single choice of scale and location. We saw before that the singular line {q} × R. in the proof of Theorem 6. there is no issue of “uniformity” in the moduli of continuity for the coordinate mappings. and with the kind of geometry for (R3 /W ) × R as before. It is not hard to check that this has the property of uniform local coordinates. Examples of this are given by (R3 /W ) × R with the kind of geometry as above.3 on p241 of [Sem7]. one can take Rn equipped with the metric |x − y|α . where |x − y| is the usual metric.22). there are spaces which have uniform local coordinates and not be bilipschitz equivalent to the corresponding Rn . one can also get much simpler examples. 100 . The converse is not true in general. one does get local coordinates with uniform control on the (normalized) moduli of continuity of the coordinate mappings and their inverses. as above).21) and (C.e. One simply needs a modulus of continuity. one can use the fact that (R3/W ) × R is homeomorphic to R4 to get suitable local coordinates. That is. one gets down to the case of the single ball B in (R3 /W ) × R. or even H¨lder o continuous of order greater than 1/2. i. one should handle large scales a bit differently. It is easy to see that a metric space which is bilipschitz equivalent to some n R has uniform local coordinates (relative to Rn rather than R4 . The required local coordinates can simply be obtained from restrictions of the global bilipschitz parameterization.1. For this single ball B. and α is a positive real number strictly less than 1. this argument is nearly the same as one given in [Sem7]. this completes the outline of the argument for showing that 3 (R /W ) × R has uniform local coordinates. I. is that when works backwards in the reductions just made. At any rate. to go to arbitrary balls in (R3/W ) × R which are relatively close to the singular line {q} × R. by taking snowflake spaces. and a similar point is discussed in [Sem7] in a slightly different situation (for examples based on “Bing doubling”). As mentioned at the beginning.) Once one makes these reductions.. so that such a homeomorphism can never be Lipschitz. 0) and with radius 1. which has Hausdorff dimension 1 in our geometry on (R3/W ) × R. however. A key point. around (C. centered at (q.. as in Subsubsection C. is always sent to sets of Hausdorff dimension at least 2 under any homeomorphism from (R3/W ) × R onto R4. then this reduction is not fully covered by self-similarity. This can be done. However.e.be flat outside a compact set.

one would get sets which are Ahlfors-regular of the correct dimension. In dimension 3. and is discussed in [Sem7]. Note that Ahlfors-regularity of the correct dimension rules out snowflake spaces. We shall encounter another result which is special to dimension 2. but not bilipschitz coordinates. and with much less than uniform local coordinates being needed. If one assumes uniform local coordinates relative to Rn and Ahlforsregularity of dimension n (Definition 5. One can get bilipschitz equivalence with R from Ahlfors-regularity of dimension 1 and uniform local coordinates with respect to R (and less than that). based on “Bing doubling”. and this is why it allows for the possibility that there is no global bilipschitz parameterization. This is true even though the local coordinate mappings at different locations and scales often have a common “model” or behavior. as above. This is not hard to do. Dimension 1 is more special in this regard (and as is quite standard). because it has Hausdorff dimension n/α instead of Hausdorff dimension n. one can take Cartesian products with more copies of R to get examples in all dimension greater than or equal to 4. The case of (R3 /W ) × R provides a good example of this. as in the previous paragraph. In particular. though.1). there is a different family of examples that one can make. In 101 . It is still not sufficient. with similar properties as in dimension 4. Notice that the uniform local coordinates property would imply a bilipschitz condition if the local coordinates all came from restrictions of a single global parameterization. then the matter becomes much more delicate. and see how the local coordinates that are used are not restrictions of a single global parameterization. using arclength parameterizations. For this one can check the earlier argument. there are some relatively strong conclusions that one can make. later in this subsubsection. This was mentioned earlier. even if one does not get something like bilipschitz parameterizations. With Ahlfors-regularity of dimension n (and uniform local coordinates relative to Rn ). In general. and which have uniform local coordinates. in addition to having uniform local coordinates (relative to R4 ). because the (R3/W ) × R spaces with the type of geometry as above are Ahlfors-regular of dimension 4. the uniform local coordinates property allows the local coordinate mappings to change as one changes locations and scales. or even somewhat less than bilipschitz coordinates. Some versions of this came up in Sections 4 and 5.It is not bilipschitz equivalent to Rn . Let us note that in place of (R3/W ) × R in dimension 4.

This is true for nearly the same reason as for bilipschitz mappings.e. As with bilipschitz mappings. Two metric spaces are quasisymmetrically equivalent if there is a quasisymmetric mapping from one onto the other. With the uniform local coordinates property. even if the actual distances between the points might be changed a lot. Another way to think about the uniformity over all locations and scales in the uniform local coordinates property is that it is a condition which implies the existence of homeomorphic coordinates even after one “blows up” the space (in the Hausdorff or Gromov–Hausdorff senses) along any sequence of locations and scales in the space. we do have some limits on this. if one has three points x.. and if x is much closer to y than z is. Under some conditions one might be o able to derive that. then it also satisfies the condition of uniform local coordinates. and z in the domain of such a mapping. one does not ask that the uniform modulus of continuity be something simple. The final answers are not clear. as in the examples mentioned above.other words. Roughly speaking. In other words. with the uniform bounds for the moduli of continuity providing the equicontinuity and compactness needed to take limits of the coordinate mappings (after passing to suitable subsequences). given a quasisymmetric mapping from Rn onto the metric space. a quasisymmetric mapping between two metric spaces is one that approximately preserves relative distances. one might often use rescalings of a single mapping. i. Instead of looking at uniform local coordinates in connection with bilipschitz equivalence with Rn . in the same way that bilipschitz mappings approximately preserve actual distances. compositions and inverses of quasisymmetric mappings remain quasisymmetric. relatively weak conditions that hold uniformly over all locations and scales often imply conditions which are apparently much stronger. one can consider quasisymmetric equivalence. like a Lipschitz or a H¨lder condition. using the uniformity of the hypothesis over all locations and scales. one can get suitable local coordinates for the space from restrictions of the global mapping to indi102 . however. This is analogous to something that happens a lot in harmonic analysis. then this should also be true for their images under a quasisymmetric mapping. If a metric space admits a quasisymmetric parameterization from Rn . and this can be quite different from restrictions of a single mapping. the local coordinates could be “blown up” along with the space. In the present circumstances. y. Let us emphasize that in the uniform local coordinates condition. See [TukV] for more details and information about quasisymmetric mappings.

the identity mapping on Rn is quasisymmetric as a mapping from Rn with the standard metric to Rn with the snowflake metric |x − y|α. though. a These examples occur already in dimension 2. dimension 1 is special. Quasisymmetric mappings try to treat different directions in a uniform manner. Tuk. Indeed. as in the preceding paragraph. but if one adds an extra rescaling on Rn (depending on the choices of balls). where the individual factors behave nicely in their own right. See Lemma 4 in [Tuk]. and it is analogous to what happens in the bilipschitz case. However. This is a basic part of the story. There are results starting from more primitive conditions. compare with [AleV1. going back to results of Rickman and V¨is¨l¨. If a metric space has uniform local coordinates with respect to Rn .vidual balls. That is. a As usual. but which do not admit quasisymmetric parameterizations. these spaces are Cartesian products. They do not behave well in terms of measure. and good characterizations for the existence of qua103 . these are spaces which have uniform local coordinates a aa (and are even somewhat nicer than that). 0 < α < 1. Specifically. but then there is no reason why the radii of B and β should be approximately the same. and in the end this does not work for parameterizations of these examples. There is a difference between this case and that of bilipschitz mappings. then one can still get local coordinates with the kind of uniform control on the (normalized) moduli of continuity as in the uniform local coordinates condition. and in particular one does not get examples simply by using snowflake metrics |x − y|α on Rn . This is trickier than before. it still may not be true that it admits a quasisymmetric parameterization. then that parameterization does have to be quasisymmetric. For a bilipschitz mapping. In the quasisymmetric case. Basically. one may not have that. a ball B in the metric space may be covered in a nice way by the image under a quasisymmetric mapping of a ball β in Rn . and also [V¨i4] and [AleV1]. one would be able to choose β so that it has radius which is comparable to that of B. there are counterexamples. If a metric space admits uniform local coordinates from some Rn . A basic example (which was the original one) is to take a product of a snowflake with a straight line. This is an easy consequence of the definitions. V¨i4]. and where the combination mixes different types of geometry. and for Ahlfors-regularity (of dimension 2) in particular. which is that one should allow some extra rescalings to compensate for the fact that distances are not approximately preserved. and if these coordinates come from restrictions and then rescalings (on Rn ) of a single global parameterization.

sisymmetric parameterizations, in fact. See Section 4 of [TukV]. On the other hand, in dimension 2, there are positive results about having global quasisymmetric parameterizations for a given space, and with bounds. For these results one would assume Ahlfors-regularity of dimension 2, and some modest additional conditions concerning the geometry and topology, conditions which are weaker than “uniform local coordinates”. See [DaviS4, HeiKo1, Sem3]. For these results, it is important that the dimension be 2, and not larger, because of the way that they rely on the existence of conformal mappings. We shall say a bit more about this in Subsection C.8. If we go now to dimension 3, then there are counterexamples, even with good behavior in terms of measure. That is, there are examples of subsets of Euclidean spaces which are Ahlfors-regular of dimension 3, admit uniform local coordinates with respect to R3 , but are not quasisymmetrically-equivalent to R3. These examples are based on the decompositions of R3 associated to “Bing doubling” (as in [Bin1, Bin7, Dave2]), using geometric realizations as in Subsubsection C.7.1. This is discussed in [Sem7]. The absence of a quasisymmetric parameterization in this case is close to a result in [FreS], although the general setting in [FreS] is a bit different. Concerning the space (R3/W ) × R considered before, equipped with a nice geometry as from Subsubsection C.7.1 and [Sem7], it is not clear (to my knowledge) whether quasisymmetric parameterizations from R4 exist or not. We saw earlier that bilipschitz mappings do not exist, because of the line in (R3 /W ) × R which has to have Hausdorff dimension at least 2 after any homeomorphism from (R3 /W ) × R onto R4 . These considerations of Hausdorff measure do not by themselves rule out the existence of a quasisymmetric mapping, as they do for bilipschitz mappings. (Compare with [V¨i3], a for instance.) Similar remarks apply to double-suspensions of homology spheres. In particular, it is not known (to my knowledge) whether or not quasisymmetric parameterizations exist for them. To summarize a bit, we have seen in this subsubsection how decomposition spaces might be “standard” topologically, being equivalent to Rn as a topological space, and still lead to geometries which are tricky, and which have some interesting structure. We shall discuss another class of examples like this in Subsubsection C.7.4. These examples are more trivial topologically, more tame geometrically, but still nontrivial geometrically. (They admit simple quasisymmetric parameterizations, but no bilipschitz parameterizations.) 104

See [Sem7] for some other types of geometric structure which can arise naturally from decompositions. For instance, cellular decompositions whose quotients are not manifolds — such as Bing’s dogbone space ([Bin2], Example 4 on p64-65 in [Dave2]) — give rise to spaces which do not have “uniform local coordinates”, but which do have nice properties in other ways. For instance, one can make constructions so that local coordinates exist at all locations and scales, and with uniform bounds on how they are localized, but not for their moduli of continuity. This last is related to having Gromov– Hausdorff limits which are not manifolds, but are topologically given as a decomposition space (with a cellular decomposition), like Bing’s dogbone space. C.7.4 Examples that are even simpler topologically, but still nontrivial geometrically

Let us mention another class of examples, which one can also think of in terms of decompositions (although they are “trivial” in this respect). These examples are based on “Antoine’s necklaces”, which came up before, in Subsection C.1. Antoine’s necklaces are compact subsets of R3 which are homeomorphic to the usual middle-thirds Cantor set in the real line, but for which there is no global homeomorphism from R3 onto itself which maps these sets into subsets of a line. In dimension 2 this does not happen, as in Chapter 13 of [Moi]. The “wildness” of these sets is manifested in a simple fundamental-group property. Namely, the complement of these sets in R3 have nontrivial fundamental group, whereas this would not be true if there were a global homeomorphism from R3 to itself which would take one of these sets to a subset of the line. This last uses the fact that these sets are totally disconnected (i.e., to have simple-connectivity of the complement in R3 if the set were to lie in a line). Antoine’s necklaces are discussed in Chapter 18 of [Moi]. See also p71ff in [Dave2]. The basic construction for them can be described in terms of the same kind of “rules” as in Subsubsection C.7.1. One starts with a solid torus T in R3. Inside this torus one embeds some more tori, which are disjoint, but which form a chain that is “linked” around the hole in the original torus. (See Figure 18.1 on p127 of [Moi], or Figure 9.9 on p71 of [Dave2].) In each of these smaller tori, one can embed another 105

collection of linking tori, in the same way as for the first solid torus. One can repeat this indefinitely. In the limit, one gets a Cantor set, which is a necklace of Antoine. Actually, we should be a little more precise here. In saying that we get a Cantor set in the limit, we are implicitly imagining that the diameters of the solid tori are going to 0 as one proceeds through the generations of the construction. This is easy to arrange, if one uses enough tori in the basic rule (linking around the original torus T ). If one uses enough tori, then one can do this in such a way that all of the tori are similar to the initial torus T , i.e., can be given as images of T by mappings which are combinations of translations, rotations, and dilations. One can also consider using a smaller number of tori, and where the embeddings of the new tori (in the original one) are allowed to have some stretching. (Compare with Figure 9.9 on p71 of [Dave2].) As an extreme case, the Whitehead continuum corresponds essentially to the same construction as Antoine’s necklaces, except that only 1 embedded torus is used in the linking in the original torus T . (See Figure 9.7 on p68 of [Dave2].) For this one definitely needs a fair amount of stretching. In Bing doubling, one uses two solid tori, embedded and linked around the hole in T (Figure 3 on p357 of [Bin1], Figure 9.1 on p63 in [Dave2]). One again needs some stretching, but not as much for the Whitehead continuum. These cases are different from the standard ones for Antoine’s necklaces, because when one iterates the basic rule in a straightforward way, the components that one gets at the nth generation do not have diameters tending to 0. For the Whitehead continuum, this is simply unavoidable, and reflects the way that the components are clasped, each one by itself, around the “hole” of the original torus T . In the case of Bing doubling, one can rearrange the embeddings at later generations in such a way that the diameters do tend to 0, even if this might not be true for naive iterations. This was proved by Bing, in [Bin1]. (See also p69-70 of [Dave2], and [Bin7].) Let us imagine that we are using enough small solid tori in the linking around T , as in standard constructions for Antoine’s necklaces, so that it is clear that the diameters of the components of the sets obtained by repeating the process do go to 0 (i.e., without having to make special rearrangements, or anything like that, as in Bing doubling). In other words, in the limit, one gets a Cantor set in R3 , as above. Let us call this Cantor set A. This Cantor set A is wild, in the sense that its complement in R3 is not simply-connected, and there is no global homeomorphism from R3 to itself 106

on p61.which takes A to a subset of a line.) While there is nothing going on at the level of the decompositions topologically.1.) In the construction that we are considering here. (See also the discussion at the beginning of Section 9 of [Dave2]. for being degenerate. and the decomposition space is just R3 again. however. one can think of deforming the geometry of R3. This was described before. one can also work more directly at the level of R3 itself. there is not much going on here. Here is the basic point. for the record. in Subsubsection C. with metrics and self-similarity properties for them. as the case may be). In technical terms. In the present situation. for making geometric representations of decomposition spaces. concerning the notion of a defining sequence. At the level of decompositions. together with sets with one element for the rest of the points in R3 (or Rn . so that the 107 . One can take this function to be positive and regular away from the Antoine’s necklace. consisting of one-element sets. about this kind of defining sequence and decomposition. one takes the connected components obtained in the limit of the process.7. to be clear about it. at the level of infinitesimal measurements of distance. Imagine deforming the geometry of R3 . Normally. especially since it is a situation to which one might normally pay little attention. and so there is nothing to do to them.7. one could take the function to be a positive power of the distance to the necklace A. There is nothing too complicated about this. (See also the text at the beginning of p71 of [Dave2]. In the present setting. one can still shrink the geometry around these points in R3. It is just something to say explicitly.1. to get geometries like this. all of the connected components in the end contain only one element each. the decomposition that occurs here is automatically “trivial”. by multiplying its standard Riemannian metric by a function. one can shrink sets in some Rn which have nonzero diameter to single points. to get a decomposition from a process like this. and then vanish on the necklace itself. so to speak. one for each point in R3 . as with Riemannian metrics. In the general idea of a decomposition space. Taking the quotient does not do anything. However. because of the way that the diameters of the components in finite stages of the “defining sequence” converge to 0. this is not the case geometrically! One can think of this in the same way as in Subsubsection C. our basic components already are single points. For instance. In other words.

it is enough to employ arbitrarily small powers α of the distance to the necklace in (C. the metric space that one gets in this way is not bilipschitz equivalent to R3 with the standard Euclidean metric.5. with suitable choices of parameters.25) ds2 = |x − p|β dx2 . Poincar´. or something like that. Sem10]. A)α dx2 . In any case. For instance. because of Theorem C. See [Sem8]. On the other hand. the main point is to have enough shrinking of distances around A to get the Hausdorff dimension to be less than 1. R3 \A is not simply-connected.) Let us emphasize that in making this kind of construction. and Sobolev. one might deform the standard Euclidean Riemannian metric on R3 by multiplying it by a function that vanishes at a point.Riemannian metric can be written as follows: (C.24) ds2 = dist(x. It is easy to make deformations of the geometry so that the new metric seems to be much different from the old one in the given coordinates. where β > 0. The geometry of R3 with this kind of metric behaves a lot like standard Euclidean geometry. this means (C. the conclusion is that the metric space that one gets is not bilipschitz-equivalent to R3 through any homeomorphism between the two spaces. one is always free to take the power α to be larger. In the standard coordinates. for this particular type of deformation (as in 108 . this metric and the ordinary one look quite different.) However. By using Antoine’s necklaces which are sufficiently “thin”. Explicitly. but for which this is not really the case if one is allowed to make a change of variables. and this means that the geometry which has been constructed cannot be bilipschitz equivalent to the standard geometry on R3. like a positive power of the distance to that point. The amount of shrinking needed depends on some of the choices involved in producing the necklace. (This kind of deformation is special case of the broader class in [DaviS1] and [Sem5. See [Sem8] for more information.19 in Subsection C. This is because the shrinking of distances around the necklace A can lead to A having Hausdorff dimension less than 1 in the new metric. This type of metric is discussed in some detail in [Sem8] (although in a slightly different form).24) to get enough shrinking of the metric around the necklace. and isoperimetric e inequalities in the new geometry. (Concerning the “choice of parameters” here. One still has basic properties like Ahlfors-regularity of dimension 3. However.

here one gets examples of spaces which are quasisymmetrically equivalent to a Euclidean space.28 on p390 of [Sem8]. if one allows a nontrivial change of variables. we considered the question of whether a nonempty contractable open set in Rn is homeomorphic to the standard open unit ball in Rn . but for which there are changes of variables which give a bilipschitz equivalence with the standard metric. K)γ dx2 . where γ > 0 and K is a self-similar Cantor set in R3 which is not wild.27) ds2 = dist(x. in the sense of [TukV]. When one makes deformations based on Antoine’s necklaces.3. o given in advance. As a more complicated version of this. one can also make deformations of the standard geometry on R3 of the form (C. Thus. it can be impossible to have a homeomorphism like this which is even H¨lder continuous of an arbitrary exponent δ > 0. In fact. and which are Ahlfors-regular of the correct dimension.2.7. When n = 2 this is true. it is also quasisymmetric. In this case one can again get geometries which may look different from the usual one in the given coordinates.8 Geometric and analytic results about the existence of good coordinates In Subsection C. (Compare with Subsubsection C. the identity mapping itself on R3 always gives a homeomorphism which is H¨lder continuous with some positive exo ponent. Compare with Remark 5. With suitable choices of parameters. 109 .25)). Under the conditions in [Sem8]. but which are not bilipschitz equivalent to a Euclidean space. In fact. one can use changes of variables of the form (C. and it is a standard result in topology. there will not be a homeomorphism which is Lipschitz (from the new geometry to the standard one). the two metrics are bilipschitz equivalent.(C. as above. the linking that goes on can ensure that there is no bilipschitz equivalence between R3 with the new geometry and R3 with the standard geometry. Specifically. without asking for bilipschitzness.) C.26) f (x) = p + |x − p|β/2(x − p). This is not hard to verify.

Lau. where λ is a smooth positive function on S2 . one might try to imagine doing such things without the Riemann mapping. concerning related matters in higher dimensions. and one might not know much about it at definite scales. HeiKo1. Another fact in dimension 2 is that any smooth Riemannian metric on the 2-sphere S2 is conformally-equivalent to the standard metric. g). but for the moment let us stick to this formulation. HeiKo1. This theorem gives the existence of a conformal mapping from the unit disk in R2 onto any nonempty simply-connected open set in R2 which is not all of R2 . and there are results about the dependence of Riemann mappings on the domains being parameterized. g0 ) → (S2 . In other words. general conditions are given in [DaviS4. then there is a diffeomorphism from S2 onto S2 which converts g into a metric of the form λ g0 . in terms of simple geometric properties of (S2 . through a parameterization which respects the geometry. for instance. Suppose that one has a 2-dimensional space which behaves roughly like a 2-dimensional Euclidean space (or sphere) in some ways. Let us assume for simplicity that our space is given to us as S2 with a smooth Riemannian metric g. and if g0 denotes the standard metric. The Riemann Mapping Theorem is of course very important for many aspects of analysis and geometric function theory in R2 ∼ C. See Chapter 6 of [Ahl1]. From it one not only obtains homeomorphisms from the unit disk in R2 onto any nonempty simply-connected proper open subset of R2 . and one would like to know whether it can be realized as nearly-Euclidean in more definite ways. Riemann mappings are unique modulo a three real-dimensional group of automorphisms of the unit disk (which can be avoided through suitable normalizations). Specifically. A priori the behavior of this mapping could be pretty complicated. but without bounds for the smoothness of g. if g is a smooth Riemannian metric on S2. It would be nice to have some bounds for the behavior of f . By comparison. Some results of this type are given in [DaviS4. see [Hat1. g). but it also does = a lot at a less special level. or in other contexts where it is not available.One can establish this result in 2 dimensions analytically via the Riemann Mapping Theorem. In this regard. as in the result mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Hat2. In particular. There are also local and other versions of this fact. RanS]. One can then get a conformal diffeomorphism f : (S2 . but one gets a way of choosing such homeomorphisms which is fairly canonical. One way to try to use this theorem is as follows. Sem3] under which a 110 . Sem3].

One might keep in mind that conformality is defined in infinitesimal terms. Thus one cannot “integrate” directly in a conventional sense. This gave a new approach to results in [Tor1]. g) actually gives a quasisymmetric mapping (as in [TukV]). a What would happen if one attempted analogous enterprises in higher dimensions? One can begin in the same manner as before. [M¨lS] works with conformal mappings. the smoothness of g should be taken in the character of an a priori assumption. Sem3]. There the assumptions on the space involved more smoothness — uˇ an integral condition on (principal) curvatures. g). One would seek uniform bounds that do not depend on this in a quantitative way. as before. See [Ahl2. under suitable conditions on the initial space (S2 . See also [Tor2]. which deals with the balance between length and area. and the recent and quite different method in [Fu]. Let g0 denote the standard metric on Sn . under some (hopefully modest) geometric conditions on (Sn . Here. A priori. Ahl3. these results have the effect of giving uniform bounds for the behavior of f at any location or scale. LehV. with uniform bounds for the quasisymmetry condition. (The bounds would depend on constants in the geometric conditions on (Sn . This is a very classical subject for conformal and quasiconformal mappings. and using the conformality of f . methods like these are highly nonlinear. g0 ) → (S2. One might like to know that (Sn . no other method for getting quasisymmetric or other coordinates with geometric estimates (under similar conditions) is known. because one is not given any information about the conformal factors (like the function λ before). Another use of conformal mappings of an analogous nature is given in [M¨lS].conformal equivalence f : (S2 . while [Tor1. V¨i1] for more information. g). one in effect tries to “integrate” the information that one has. for a surface in some Rn — and the conclusions are also stronger. Let n be an integer greater than or equal to 2. In other words. and suppose (as a basic scenario) that one has a smooth Riemannian metric g on Sn . In the context of [DaviS4. and with suitable bounds. Tor2] uˇ and [Fu] obtain bilipschitz coordinates by quite different means. g). at least to my knowledge. concerning bilipschitz coordinates. One of the basic methods is that of “extremal length”. HeiKo1. More precisely.) 111 . g0 ) through a mapping with reasonable properties. g) can be parameterized by (Sn . through the differential of f . At any rate. To go from infinitesimal or very smallscale behavior to estimates at larger scales. it is rather tricky.

the metrics which are conformallyequivalent to the standard metric are described by n+1 real-valued functions of n real variables. there are no general results about existence of conformal parameterizations for a given space. See [HeiKo2. A conformal deformation of the standard metric is defined by 1 real-valued function of n real variables. g) under which one can establish that f is quasisymmetric. then [HeiKo1] provides some natural hypotheses on (Sn . In other words. by examples which are pretty concrete. g) which is conformal. and they are based on practically the same principles. but for n > 2 one has that n(n + 1)/2 > n + 1. g0 ) → (Sn . Thus. A general Riemannian metric in n dimensions is described (locally. when n > 2. They are not especially strange or pathological or anything like that. even locally. and not just n = 2. It is simply not true that arbitrary smooth Riemannian metrics admit conformal coordinates. See [Sem7]. or quasiconformal parameterizations with uniform bounds for the dilatation. Parts of this are reviewed or discussed in Subsection C. especially Subsubsection C. However. as they do when n = 2. These examples can be viewed as geometrizations of classical examples from geometric topology. but which do not admit quasisymmetric parameterizations. one knows that in dimension 3 there are numerous examples of spaces which satisfy geometric conditions analogous to ones that work in dimension 2. The issue would be to avoid or reduce that. A general diffeomorphism in n dimensions is described by n real-valued functions of n variables.e. for the conformal factor. allowing for general changes of variables. In fact. and which would come together in dimension 2. and with bounds. between basic geometric properties and having quasisymmetric parameterizations. HeiKo2] for further results along these lines. not only does the method based on conformal and quasiconformal mappings not work in higher dimensions. as above. but some of the basic results that one might hope to get or expect simply are not true.If one has a mapping f : (Sn . One can easily see that the problem is highly overdetermined. say) by n(n + 1)/2 real-valued functions of n variables. When n = 2.3. but with the quasiconformal dilatation depending on the metric or on the size of the region being parameterized in a strong way. i.7. There are also different levels of structure which occur in dimension 3. or which is quasiconformal (with a bound for its dilatation).7. 112 .. Thus. this works for all n ≥ 2. this is equal to n(n + 1)/2. Quasiconformal coordinates automatically exist for reasonably-nice metrics. in the following sense.

In dimension 2.1 Special coordinates that one might consider in other dimensions We have already discussed a number of basic topological phenomena in this appendix. versus behavior of partial differential equations).) A very standard energy functional to consider would be the L2 norm of the differential. One can also consider energy functionals based on Lp norms of differentials of mappings. conformal mappings can be placed in this framework. these two tracks can exist independently. They reflect basic phenomena that occur. this concerns the existence of homeomorphisms with good properties. Each of these two tracks also starts running into trouble in higher dimensions. (One can also try to work directly with spaces and metric that are not smooth. One basic approach would be to try to find and use mappings which minimize some kind of “energy”. This concerns the existence of homeomorphisms with certain properties. even if there is again significant overlap between them. This is more complicated in terms of the differential equations that come up. even if there are ways in which each can be involved in the other. and aspects of geometry and analysis on the other. in similar veins as above. Each of these two tracks has special features in low dimensions. for instance. Each has statements and results and machinery which make sense for the given track. one can consider smooth metrics on smooth manifolds (like Sn ). C. and also Section 3. A priori. As before. as with harmonic mappings. In particular. in this appendix more broadly.but have a lot of nice properties. but it can have other advantages. and not for the other side. with geometric topology on one side. Let us now briefly consider a couple of things that one might try in higher dimensions on the side of geometry and analysis.8. and try to get parameterizations with uniform bounds on their behavior. and at about the same time! We have seen a number of instances of this by now. The choice of p as the dimension n has some particularly nice 113 . The kinds of trouble that they encounter can be rather different a priori (such as localized fundamental group conditions. This is all pretty neat! One has kinds of “parallel tracks”. under modest conditions on the geometry of the spaces. in this subsection. even if there are also some overlaps (as with applications of Riemann mappings).

in addition to Lp norms of the differentials. A general Riemannian metric is described by 114 . the functional can try to limit both the way that the differential becomes large and small. for having the energy functional cooperate with the geometry (and analysis). the energy becomes invariant under conformal changes in the metric when p is equal to the dimension. one might bear in mind issues related to mappings with branching. In this case the diagonal entries are allowed to vary independently.j for which only the diagonal entries gi. For conformal deformations of the standard Euclidean metric. perhaps someone will find ways of using such variational problems for geometric questions like these some day. We shall say a bit more about this later in this subsection. let us consider metrics g = gi. as discussed before. I do not really know of results in dimensions n ≥ 3 where they can be used to obtain well-behaved parameterizations of spaces. This is a bit unfortunate. Namely.i are nonzero. One might also keep in mind the existence of spaces with good properties. in the same way as for conformal deformations of Euclidean metrics in dimension 2. In dimension 3. for this one can have both p = n and p = 2 at the same time!) In particular.7. the problem of making a change of variables to put a given metric into diagonal form like this is “determined”. instead of metrics which are conformal deformations of the standard Euclidean metric. and in [Sem7. compared with the way that the normal form of conformal mappings can be so useful in dimension 2. the off-diagonal entries are zero. these might include integral norms of the inverse of the Jacobian of the mapping. (This is one of the ways that n = 2 is special.3 and C.features. In dimension 3. and the diagonal entries are all equal. one considers more elaborate energy functionals as well. but not good parameterizations. there is another kind of special structure that one might consider. For instance. On the other hand.4. Specifically. In any case. This is especially true in comparison with what one can get in dimension 2. as in Appendix B. or will find some kind of special structure connected to them. as mentioned earlier (and discussed in Subsubsections C. with bounds. one can compute as follows. although there is a lot of work concerning existence and behavior of minimizers for functionals like these.7. In other words. Sem8]). under modest or general geometric conditions. In this regard. In elasticity theory. so that it takes into account both stretchings and compressions.

) However. Of course this is just an informal “dimension” count. this type of “normal form” does not seem to be as useful for the present type of issue as conformal parameterizations are. As in the case of conformal coordinates. This was established in [DeTY] in the case of smooth metrics. this analogue behaves differently in fundamental ways. One would need methods of getting estimates without this information. (One should also be careful that there is not significant overlap between changes of variables and diagonal metrics. part of the problem is that even if one has such a normal form. at least locally. See [DeTY]. In dimensions greater than or equal to 4. the metrics that can be reduced to diagonal metrics can be described by 6 real-valued functions of 3 real-variables. In a way this is all “just fair”. so that there was no “overcounting” for the combination of them. and other conformal and quasiconformal invariants and quasi-invariants. There were earlier results in the real-analytic category. conformal capacities. With diagonal metrics one does have something analogous to conformal coordinates in dimension 3. it does turn out that one can put metrics in diagonal form (in dimension 3). it is not clear what one might do. and the possibilities for having estimates for them under mild or primitive geometric conditions.e. allowing for changes of variables. and changes of variables are given by 3 real-valued functions of 3 real variables as well. and there would again be too many Riemannian metrics in general compared to diagonal metrics and ways of reducing to them via changes of variables. This is closely connected to the kind of stability that one has for conformal mappings. A related point is that the analysis of the partial differential equations which permits one to put smooth Riemannian metrics in dimension 3 into diagonal form is roughly “hyperbolic”. In the context of conformal mappings.. 115 . On the other hand. which is the same as for the total family of Riemannian metrics in this dimension. which means 6 real-valued functions of 3 real variables in dimension 3. and nicely so. and not a justification for being able to put metrics into diagonal form in dimension 3. Metrics with only diagonal nonzero entries are defined by 3 real-valued functions of 3-real variables. Thus. (See [DeTY] for more information. in the same way that the corresponding differential equations for conformal coordinates in dimension 2 are elliptic. and only the nature of the normal form. i. one does not a priori know anything about the behavior of the diagonal entries of the metric in this normal form. one has extremal lengths.n(n + 1)/2 real-valued functions of n variables.) However. For diagonal metrics. this would not work.

let us also note that there are some other special features in low dimensions that we have not mentioned. HeiR2]. Some topological difficulties could go away or be ameliorated. Concerning variational problems. On the side of geometry and analysis. That is. General pictures for mappings with branching. The Alexander argument described in Appendix B. including existence and good behavior. etc. Ric1]). and working from there (with extensions. There are many basic examples of this. one might also keep in mind the approaches of [DaviS9. seem to indicate many promising possibilities and directions. as in Appendix B. As a basic example. then a number of things can change. with the properties that one might otherwise hope for). by starting with submanifolds of dimension 2. Sul3].) These possibilities in dimension 3 can be much more restricted than in dimension 2. the large amount of flexibility that one has in making conformal mappings in dimension 2 leads to some possibilities in dimension 3 that are not available in higher dimensions.including estimates. and the constructions in [HeiR1. as has been indicated before (and in Appendix B). In any event. as in Appendix B. and the work of Sullivan [Sul2. This is somewhat remarkable in analogy with topological phenomena. We should also make clear that if one allows mappings with branching. this illustrates how analytic and geometric methods seem to behave rather differently in dimensions 3 and higher.g. Sul3] are also important in this regard (and as mentioned in Appendix B). Ideas of Sullivan [Sul2.. which have similar differences between dimensions. like the topological and geometric examples that one has in dimension 3 (where homeomorphisms may not exist. This is compatible with other aspects of the story as a whole. With the topology there are both some crossings and overlaps with geometry and analysis. the branching can unwind obstructions or problems with localized fundamental groups (in complements of points or other sets). and much that is separate or independent. e. the constructions of Heinonen and Rickman [HeiR1. the large freedom that one has in dimension 2 can sometimes permit one to make more limited constructions in dimension 3. have yet to be fully explored or understood. DaviS11] (and some earlier ideas of Morel and Solimini 116 . but having them at all can be significantly more than what happens in higher dimensions. gluings. classical work on quasiregular mappings (as in [Res. compared to the special structure and phenomena which occur in dimension 2. For instance. HeiR2]. One can perhaps use variational problems in these regards as well.

see Section 4 of [TukV]. and [Sem7. In geometry and analysis. Neither of these are generally available in 117 . but one has conformal coordinates there. More generally. or some other measure (as appropriate). when they are around. or approximate parameterizations. in connection with quasisymmetric mappings. and these are often constructible.[MoreS]). Once one has the ordering. This broader range can make it easier for the minimizations to lead to useful conclusions about geometric structure and complexity. For these one does not necessarily work directly with mappings or potential parameterizations of sets. even in dimension 2. Arclength parameterizations provide a very robust and useful way for obtaining parameterizations in dimension 1 with good behavior and bounds. one might say that dimension 1 is special for the way that one can make isometries between spaces. For another version of this. as in Subsections C. In differential-geometric language. and what happens in higher dimensions.7 and C. as with uniform rectifiability conditions. for the ways that one can recognize and parameterize curves. and in particular one may allow sets themselves to be variables in the minimization (rather than mappings between fixed spaces).4. In particular. These approaches are also nicely compatible with the trouble that one knows can occur.7. for curves of locally finite length. This does not work in higher dimensions. To put the matter in more concrete terms. in dimension 1 one can often make parameterizations. This no longer works in dimension 2. one can get substantial “partial parameterizations”. one can use parameterizations adapted to other measures (rather than length). simply by ordering points in a good way. Sem8]). Finally. under natural and modest conditions. related to topology and homeomorphisms (and in geometrically moderate situations. This is even more special than dimension 2. in ways that are not available (or do not work nearly as well) in higher dimensions. In dimension 1. This is a familiar theme in geometric topology. simple conditions in terms of mass can often be immediately “integrated” to get well-behaved parameterizations. while we have mentioned a lot about the special phenomena that can occur in dimension 2. we should also not forget about dimension 1. one can regularize the geometry by parameterizing according to arclength. through arclength parameterizations. one can look for parameterizations with bounds. A fundamental point along the lines is the ability to make parameterizations by arclength.

then that can be pretty good. Note that if one has a conjugation of linear mappings A and B by a diffeomorphism h on Rn . MadR1. then one can derive the existence of a linear conjugation from this. B = h ◦ A ◦ h−1. or might be available only in irregular forms. but a homeomorphic conjugation does. Specifically. D Doing pretty well with spaces which may not have nice coordinates If one has a topological or metric space (or whatever) which has nice coordinates. HamP2. HsiP1.9 Nonlinear similarity: Another class of examples A very nice and concrete situation in which issues of existence and behavior of homeomorphisms can come up is that of “nonlinear similarity”. then the homeomorphism cannot be smooth at all points in Rn . when a linear conjugation does not exist. CapS+. RotW. As in Section 3 and Appendix C. This comes from passing to the differential of the diffeomorphism at the origin. In higher dimensions one has less special structure for getting the existence in general of well-behaved parameterizations. CapS3. Thus. including other examples and conditions under which one can deduce linear equivalence.e. C. there is a lot that one can do without having coordinates. CapS4. or even at just the origin. HamP1. MadR2. Wei2. where h is a homeomorphism of Rn onto itself — and which are not conjugate by linear mappings! Examples of this were given in [CapS2]. Wei1]. B on Rn which are conjugate to each other by homeomorphisms from Rn onto itself — i. CapS5. One might wonder then about the kinds of processes and regularity that might be entailed in the homeomorphisms that provide the conjugation. Rha2. Mio. it is possible to have linear mappings A. see [CapS1.higher dimensions. or forms with large complexity. and then the kinds and ranges of geometric and topological phenomena which can exist open up in a large way. see [CapS4. CapS∗. Wilk]. Rha1. In this regard. there are many situations in which homeomorphic coordinates might not be available. Wei1.. Even if piecewise-linear coordinates 118 . KuiR. For related matters. HsiP2. However. RotW.

We shall not pursue this here. as in Section 3. Similarly. ConST2.) In this appendix. or be unique. see [DonK. involving differential operators. but one might not have an algorithmic way to know this. which admit homeomorphic local coordinates. Some brief surveys pertaining to different structures on manifolds. to the effect that topological manifolds of dimension ≥ 5 admit unique quasiconformal and Lipschitz structures (for which one then has quasiconformal and bilipschitz coordinates). beginning near the bottom of p427. In dimension 4. one can look at the case of Euclidean spaces with the geometry deformed through a metric doubling measure (as in [DaviS1. it may not be very nice if they have enormous complexity.) Thus. (Compare also with [Sem8]. Some references related to this include [ConST1. Tel1. concerning spaces which might be approximately like 119 . quasiconformal and Lipschitz structures may not exist for topological manifolds. Sem5. (In dimensions less than or equal to 3. along the lines of differential forms.g. like homology and cohomology groups. In this setting. and in general dimensions. at least not at first. but for a clear and simple version of this.exist. for instance. DonS. Sem10]). e. Concerning smooth structures in dimension 4. let us mention some positive results about situations in which coordinates exist. One could also consider “higher-order” versions of this. As a brief digression. RosW. Tel2].. Some points about this are explained in [Sem10]. and the “Epilogue” in [MilS]. See [DonS]. but for which there may not be a compatible piecewise-linear or smooth structure. concerning the possible behavior of Euclidean spaces with geometry deformed by metric doubling measures. Consider the case of topological manifolds. by more classical results. Or. unique piecewise-linear and smooth structures always exist for topological manifolds. SulT. local coordinates might exist. we shall focus more on traditional objects from algebraic topology. but it may not be so easy to find them. Sul1. as in Section 3. Homeomorphic coordinates are not suitable for many basic forms of analysis in which one might be interested. with Sullivan’s theorem. one has the possibility of improving the structure in a way that does make tools of analysis feasible. Some aspects of working on spaces without good coordinates came up in Section 4. but are not as regular as one might like. are given in Section 8 in [FreQ]. FreQ]. there is a lot of structure around. However. coordinates might exist. there is a famous theorem of Sullivan [Sul1].

As a general fact about local contractability. (See [HurW].) Although we shall mostly not emphasize metric structures or quantitative aspects in the appendix. Let M be a topological space which is compact.7. In these circumstances. at least when the quotient spaces have finite topological dimension. 120 . and these can be analogous to local conical structure in polyhedra in their effects. and a continuous mapping r : V → M which is a retract. one has cell-like quotients of topological manifolds (and some locally contractable spaces more generally). For another class of examples. (Cell-like quotients were discussed somewhat in Appendix C. but they can also have some analogous properties. This means (as in Subsubsection C. i. let us imagine that M simply is a compact subset of some Rn . Hausdorff.4 and C. Proposition D..6 in particular. let us mention that cell-like quotients like these often have natural and nice geometries. As a class of examples. They are not as strong or special. Let us begin with some basic conditions.e.7. in the sense of [HurW].2) that for each point p ∈ M . but not quite manifolds. local contractability (and conditions like local linear contractability.manifolds. Some concrete instances of cell-like quotients are mentioned in these subsections.1 Let M be a compact subset of some Rn . In any case. and metrizable. These geometries are quite different from those of finite polyhedra. Then M is locally contractable if and only if there is a set V ⊆ Rn which contains M in its interior. let us note the following. finite polyhedra are locally contractable. In particular. there is a smaller neighborhood V ⊆ U of p in M such that V can be contracted to a point in M . See Corollary 12B on p129 of [Dave2]. in some geometric settings) is a basic property to perhaps have. r(w) = w for all w ∈ V . as indicated in Subsection C. and [Dave2] provides more examples and information. and they are also more flexible. We shall assume that M has finite topological dimension.) For simplicity. Subsections C. and each neighborhood U of p in M . there can be forms of self-similarity or scale-invariant boundedness of the geometry. and we shall return to it several times. It is also convenient to ask that M be locally contractable. Finite polyhedra make a nice special case to consider throughout this appendix. this is equivalent to saying that M is homeomorphic to a subset of some Rn .

. I. The “if” part is an easy consequence of the local contractability of Rn (through linear mappings). . as in Proposition D. is helpful for this kind of argument. n. For the converse. (In particular. up to dimension n. Suppose that M is a compact subset of Rn .) This type of choice for V is convenient for having nice properties in terms of homology and cohomology.e. and thus it induces the identity mapping on the homology and cohomology of M . as in Chapter VI of [Ste1]. If ι : M → V denotes the mapping coming from inclusion. one can make extensions first to edges. Let us return now to the general story. To fill in r in the areas around these discrete points. and this one can also get from the local contractability. where the ji ’s and k are integers. we may assume that V is compact. The notion of “Whitney decompositions”. . so that r : V → M will be continuous in the end. . then 2-dimensional faces. as usual). and in fact that it is a finite union of dyadic cubes in Rn . and some other useful properties. one can begin by defining r on a discrete and reasonablythick set of points outside M . Thus V contains M in its interior. then r ◦ ι : M → M is the identity mapping. if one should wish to do so. In particular. and so on.1. The inclusion of M into V . and the mapping r : V → M . 2. but near M . . especially p117ff. (A dyadic cube in Rn is one which can be represented as a Cartesian product of intervals [ji 2−k . and that the mapping from the homology of V to 121 . to get local contractions inside of M . (ji + 1) 2−k ]. It is also important that the local extensions do not go to far from the selections already made.) One can use the vertices of these cubes for the discrete set in the complement of M mentioned above. To make these extensions. and then one applies the retraction to keep the contractions inside Rn . For such a point w. Using this. or is at least approximately like this. this kind of decomposition can be helpful for keeping track of bounds. one makes standard linear contractions in Rn . one can see that the mapping from the homology of M into the homology of V induced by ι is an injection (in addition to being a group homomorphism. It gives a way of decomposing Rn \M into cubes with disjoint interiors. By replacing V by a slightly smaller subset.This is a fairly standard observation. See also [Dave2] for a proof of Proposition D.1. V is then a finite complex. one could choose r(w) ∈ M so that it lies as close to w as possible (among points in M ). which normally do not stay inside M . induce mappings between the homology and cohomology of M and V . if necessary. i = 1. and that M is locally contractable. one uses local contractability of M . Let r : V → M be a continuous retraction on M .

1. This follows from standard properties of homology and mappings. under the type of assumptions on M that we are making. This provides a simple way in which the algebraic topology of M can be “bounded”..) We are implicitly working with homology defined over the integers here. (There are more refined things that one can also do. M \{z}) is the same (up to isomorphism) as the relative homology of Hj (Rk . and ι induces a mapping from cohomology of V into cohomology of M which is surjective. have the same homology as standard spheres. 1]\{0}. Similarly. and there are analogous notions with respect to other coefficient groups (like rational numbers. If M is a finite polyhedron.) Now let us consider the following stronger conditions on M . Definition D. as in [Mas]. as above. for instance). up to isomorphism) of the right dimension.2 (Generalized k-Manifolds) Let M be a compact subset of Rn which is locally contractable. because the codimension-1 links may not be simply-connected. are also nice for making it clear and easy to work with continuous mappings into M . This is as opposed to standard examples like the closure of the graph of sin(1/x). then the property of being a generalized manifold is equivalent to asking that the links of M be homology spheres (i.the homology of M induced by r is a surjection. (This is closely related to some of the topics of Appendix C. Rk \{0}) for each j. (This set is connected but not arcwise connected.e. but we shall not worry about this here. the relative homology Hj (M.) Another class of examples comes from taking quotients of compact topological manifolds by cell-like decompositions (Subsections C.) Local contractability. one can get continuous mappings into M from continuous mappings into V . One may also wish to use weaker conditions than local contractability (as in [Bred2. x ∈ [−1. r induces a mapping from cohomology of M to cohomology of V which is injective. Then M is a generalized k-manifold if for every point z ∈ M . There are other natural variations for this concept. Wild]).9) in Subsection C. and isomorphic to Z when j = k.4 and C. at 122 . and the condition (C.3 in particular. when one has a retraction r : V → M . and the existence of a retraction as in Proposition D. Such a polyhedron may not be a topological manifold (in dimensions greater than or equal to 4). M \{z}) should be zero when j = k.6). In particular. (In other words. Hj (M.

6) and the references therein. What are some properties of generalized manifolds? In what ways might they be like manifolds? In particular. (See the introduction to [Bry+]. See Corollary 1A on p191 of [Dave2] (and Corollary 12B on p129 there). and compare also with Theorem 16. MilS. fundamental groups of the complement of the distinguished point (corresponding to the Fox–Artin curve or Whitehead continuum). as in the previous paragraph.) For smooth manifolds. since Poincar´ duality is e such a fundamental aspect of manifolds. Edw2. Fer4. Wei2] (and the references therein).) A more involved fact is that rational Pontrjagin classes can be defined for generalized manifolds.32 on p388 of [Bred2]. Some references for this include [Bry+.4. Bry∗. As usual. such spaces are not always topological manifolds themselves. (Compare with [Fer4].least when the quotient space has finite topological dimension. (See [BotT. Spa]. as in Subsection C. This is pretty good. Bry+. the definition of the Pontrjagin classes is classical. See [Bor1. Bred2. see [Bor2. and the introduction to [Fer4]. Bry∗.) One could also collapse a Whitehead continuum to a point (where Whitehead continua are as in Subsection C. Wild] and p277-278 of [Spa].33 on p389 of [Bred2]. Dave2. and [Fer4]. the fact that these spaces are not manifolds can be seen in the nontriviality of localized fundamental groups. Wei2]. Theorem 16. Bor2. For a concrete example of this. and then apply this to the tangent bundle of a smooth manifold to get the Pontrjagin classes of a manifold. As in Appendix C (especially Subsections C. Bred2.2). (See [BotT.4 and C. This is also closely connected to the questions in Appendix C. See [Wild].) More precisely. for determining when a topological space is a topological manifold. localized at that point.e. which are then topological manifolds. in dimensions 3 and higher.. Bred1. and collapse a copy of the Fox–Artin (wild) arc to a point. As in Appendix C. For more on ways that generalized manifolds can arise. Can1. As integral cohomol123 . dimensions 1 and 2 are special for generalized manifolds. how might they be different from compact sets in Rn which are locally contractable in general? A fundamental point is that Poincar´ duality (and other duality theorems e for manifolds) also work for generalized manifolds. A related topic is the “recognition problem”. Can3. Mas. one can define Pontrjagin classes for vector bundles in general. MilS]. This is analogous to the possibility of having codimension-1 links in polyhedra which are not simply-connected. one can take the standard 3-sphere. Fer4. Can2. for instance. i. Dave2.

there is a large extent to which one can work with them. We have run into this already. they may necessarily be irregular. However. manifold factors (Subsection C. even if homeomorphisms exist and are of a good regularity class. and the classical rational Pontrjagin classes for the smooth manifold are the same as the ones that are obtained by the procedure for polyhedral spaces. their complexity may have to be very large. some other classical decomposition spaces (Subsections C. Further developments lead to the definition of rational characteristic classes on more general spaces. but not. in general.) If one starts with a smooth manifold. and this is much more complicated. the property of being a manifold involves the fundamental groups of the links (at least in codimension 1 for having topological manifolds). See Section 20 of [MilS]. this gives a procedure by which to define rational Pontrjagin classes for finite polyhedra which are generalized manifolds. In particular. we have also seen in Appendix C how conditions related 124 .e. as in Section 3 and the results in [BooHP].ogy classes. including making computations or measurements on them. and this is something which behaves in a fairly nice and stable way. in ways that are similar to those for ordinary manifolds. by homeomorphisms. Compare with Appendix E. FreQ]). (See [MilS] for more information.. the generalized-manifold condition can be given in terms of rational coefficients for the homology groups. and which is invariant under piecewise-linear equivalence. the condition of being a generalized manifold involves looking at the homology groups of the links (as mentioned before).7). By contrast. there is an earlier treatment of rational Pontrjagin classes. to begin with. as in Section 3 and Appendix C. This is pretty good! This is especially nice given the troubles that can come with homeomorphisms. (For this. For finite polyhedra. in Section 3. In the case of finite polyhedra.6. More generally. homeomorphisms can be difficult to get or have. and homeomorphisms between 4-dimensional manifolds (see [DonK. DonS. Fre. as in the case of double-suspensions of homology spheres [SieS].5). even if they exist. More precisely. and C.) The results mentioned above indicate some of the ways that generalized manifolds are like ordinary manifolds. which goes back to work of Thom and Rohlin and Schwarz. the Pontrjagin classes are preserved by diffeomorphisms between smooth manifolds. I. then there it can be converted to a piecewise-linear manifold (unique up to equivalence) by earlier results. a famous theorem of Novikov is that the Pontrjagin classes of smooth manifolds are preserved as rational cohomology classes by homeomorphisms in general.

for simply-connected spaces. rather than the integers. See Example 17 on p509 of [Spa]. This fact is standard and elementary. The set of k-dimensional cycles then consists of k-dimensional chains with “boundary” equal to 0. but quite nontrivial. a proof will be described here. 125 . To be explicit. See Corollary 16 on p509 of [Spa]. This is a question that can be decided by an algorithm. which is the set of formal sums of oriented k-dimensional simplices with coefficients in Q. which we shall think of as being presented to us as a finite simplicial complex. In this situation the homology is a vector space over Q. One starts with the set of k-dimensional chains in P (with coefficients in Q). It came up in Section 3. and. in connection with the existence of homeomorphisms and local coordinates.) The first main point is that it suffices to consider simplicial homology of P . This is true. one can think of the vanishing of the homology in dimension k in the following terms. E Some simple facts related to homology Let P be a finite polyhedron. This includes the vanishing of π1 in some punctured neighborhoods of points in topological manifolds of dimension at least 3. unlike the vanishing of the fundamental group. This is a vector space. Fix a positive integer k. Let us begin by considering the case of homology with coefficients in the rational numbers. and multiplication by −1 is identified with reversing orientations on the simplices. This gives a lot of simplicity and stableness. This can be described by a finite set of linear equations in our vector space of k-dimensional chains. as well as flexibility. This puts strong limits on the type of objects with which one works. rather than something more general and elaborate (like singular homology). and imagine that one is interested in knowing whether the homology Hk (P ) of P (with coefficients in Z) is 0 in dimension k. (Part of the point is to make it clear that there are no hidden surprises that are too complicated. but not necessarily too familiar in all quarters.to localized fundamental groups can arise. With generalized manifolds. but one does not necessarily have localized π1 conditions like these. and this permits the solution of the problem through means of linear algebra. note that the higher homotopy groups of a finite complex need not be finitely-generated. with a minimum of machinery involved. for the sake of completeness. one has certain types of special structure. By contrast. We shall also try to keep the discussion elementary and direct.

and one can use other elementary techniques from linear algebra too. . . a finite set. a1 z1 + a2z2 + · · · + ar zr = 0. as above. Homotopy groups πj in dimensions j ≥ 2 are always abelian too. That is. . We begin with an observation about sets of vectors in Zr defined by a single homogeneous linear equation (with integer coefficients). the ai ’s are always either 0. and boundaries. and let a = (a1. This is the same as taking the span of the boundaries of (k + 1)-dimensional simplices in P .The set of k-dimensional boundaries consist of k-dimensional chains which are themselves boundaries of (k + 1)-dimensional chains. . but now with coefficients in Z rather than Q. a2. “Abelian” is a key word here. Chains which are boundaries are automatically cycles. . . for instance. now with integer coefficients. z2. Lemma E. The problem of deciding whether this equality holds can be reduced to computations of determinants. zr ) ∈ Zr . z = (z1 . 126 Ca = {z ∈ Zr : a1 z1 + a2z2 + · · · + ar zr = 0}. The spaces of chains. the cycles z ∈ Zr are determined by finitely many equations of the form (E. cycles. to allow for general vectors (a1. The space of k-dimensional chains in P . and boundaries are now abelian groups. In fact. or −1. for the equations which actually arise in this situation.2 Let r be a positive integer.3) Then there is a group homomorphism φa : Zr → Zr such that φa(Zr ) = Ca and φa (z) = z when z ∈ Ca . though. is a free abelian group. . . This homomorphism can be effectively constructed given r and a. and a crucial difference between this and the fundamental group. It will be useful. cycles. Let us be more explicit again. 1.1) where the ai ’s are themselves integers. a2 . where r is the number of k-dimensional simplices in P . and our computations will lead us to that anyway. In working with integer coefficients. . Set (E. one has the same basic definitions of chains. . One can think of it as being realized concretely by Zr . but they do not come with such a simple presentation. The set of cycles among the chains is defined by a finite number of linear equations. and the equations describing cycles and boundaries make sense in this context. and the vanishing of the k-dimensional homology of P (with coefficients in Q) is equivalent to the equality of the vector space of cycles with the vector space of boundaries. ar ) in this discussion. ar ) be a vector of integers. . . generated by the kdimensional simplices in P . .

and this is equal to 0. so that φa (Zr ) ⊆ Ca too. It is more commonly formulated as saying that if one has two nonzero integers c and d. as above.4.4 Under these conditions (a is not the zero vector. We may also assume that the components ai of a are not all divisible by an integer different from 1 or −1. . where b is chosen as in Sublemma E. . The r = 2 version of this is solved by the well known “Euclidean algorithm”. For general r one can reduce to the r = 2 case using induction. write z · a for z1c1 + z2c2 + · · · + zr cr . We may as well assume that the a is not the zero vector.5). if z is any element of Zr . to the effect that if m and n are positive integers. and we could take φa to be the identity mapping. This proves Lemma E. since if it were. then one can write n as jm + i. there exists a vector b = (b1 . a1 has to be ±1. Given any z ∈ Zr . Ca would be all of Zr . with m < n. In particular. If z lies in Ca . br ) of integers such that (E.2. . for instance.Let us prove Lemma E.5) a1 b1 + a2 b2 + · · · + ar br = 1.) Let us return now to Lemma E.. This can be proved using the more elementary “division algorithm”.e. Define φa : Zr → Zr by putting (E.7) φa(z) · a = z · a − (z · a)(b · a). . This is clearly a group homomorphism (with respect to addition). then one can find integers e and f such that ce + df is equal to the (positive) greatest common divisor of c and d. b2. On the other hand. and φa (z) = z. then z · a = 0. i.2. where j is a positive integer and 0 ≤ i < m. by (E. Sublemma E. Let r and a be given. and is immediate. Next we consider the situation of sets in Zr defined by multiple linear equations (with linear coefficients). 127 . and we omit the details. then (E.6) φa (z) = z − (z · a) b. since we can always cancel out common factors from the ai ’s without changing Ca. (We should perhaps say also that the r = 1 case makes sense. φa (Zr ) ⊇ Ca. and no integers divide all of the components of a except ±1).2. This is not hard to do. A choice of b can be constructed effectively given a. Thus φa (z) ∈ Ca for all z ∈ Zr .

To prove this. ap be a collection of vectors in Zr . . Lemma E. This homomorphism can be effectively constructed given r and the vectors a1. . .8 is the same as Lemma E. . and define C ⊆ Zr by (E. . ap+1 be a collection of vectors in Zr . It is easy to compute α given ap+1 and ψ p. . and which is in a more convenient form. Second. and let C p+1 denote the set of vectors z ∈ Zr which satisfy ai · z = 0 for i = 1. .2. . Similarly. 2. Now suppose that we know Lemma E. For our purposes. When p = 1. Our induction hypothesis implies that there is a group homomorphism ψ p : Zr → Zr such that ψ p (Zr ) = C p and ψ p(z) = z when z ∈ C p.9). a2. the main properties of α are as follows. . Then there is a group homomorphism ψ : Zr → Zr such that ψ(Zr ) = C and ψ(z) = z when z ∈ C. a2. and so we first modify ap+1 to get a vector which has practically the same effect as ap+1 for defining C p+1. . let α be the vector in Zr such that (E. ap. One can also describe α as the vector which results by applying the transpose of ψ p to ap+1. . ap. We want to produce a similar homomorphism ψ p+1 for C p+1. we use induction. 128 . let C p denote the set of z ∈ Zr such that ai · z = 0 when 1 ≤ i ≤ p. (E. Specifically. .2.12) α · ψ p(z) = α · z for all z ∈ Zr . but one has to be a bit careful not to disrupt the previous work with the new additions. First. p}. and which can be effectively constructed given r and a1. a2 . This does not quite work. . The point is basically to iterate the construction of Lemma E. .11) α · z = ap+1 · z when z ∈ C p . . Let a1. . . (E. This is a consequence of (E. .8 Let a1.Lemma E. . and that we want to verify it for p + 1. p + 1. .9) C = {z ∈ Zr : ai · z = 0 for i = 1. .10) α · z = ap+1 · ψ p (z) for all z ∈ Zr . .2 to the vector ap+1. The basic idea is to apply Lemma E. 2. . . a2 . as in (E.8 for some value of p.10) and the fact that ψ p(z) = z when z ∈ C p. on p.

to get β ∈ C p . φ (C p ) ⊆ C p. Now let us apply Sublemma E.12) and (E.13).17) because of (E.12).16) Put β = ψ p(β ). That is.14).13) follows from this and (E.) Now that we have all of this. β lies in C p . α is a positive integer multiple of α . which holds since β ∈ C p. Also.20) φ (z) · α = 0 129 for all z ∈ zr .11).11). α · β = 1. by the definition of C p+1 and C p.4 to obtain a vector β ∈ Zr such that (E. i. and then (E. we can proceed exactly as in the proof of Lemma E. In particular. we get that (E. Then (E. as mentioned above. we can use ψ p for ψ p+1 . since ψ p maps Zr into C p and ψ p is equal to the identity on C p . . C p+1 = {z ∈ C p : ap+1 · z = 0}. we have that (E. then C p+1 = C p . (It was for this purpose that we have made the above modifications to ap+1 .2.. and we can stop here. since ψ p maps Zr into C p. If α = 0. From (E. Thus we assume instead that α is not the zero vector. This and (E. Specifically. Also. α · β = 1. That is.15) C p+1 = {z ∈ C p : α · z = 0}.19) φ (z) = z − (z · α ) β . Let α denote the vector in Zr obtained from α by eliminating all common factors of the components of α which are positive integers greater than 1. note that ψ p (ψ p(z)) = ψ p (z) for all z.13) C p+1 = {z ∈ C p : α · z = 0}.18) A key point is that (E. (E.e. define φ : Zr → Zr by (E.To see this. by construction.10) give (E. Because of (E.14) α · ψ p(z) = α · z for all z ∈ Zr and (E.

19) it follows that (E. This gives (E. Suppose that a positive integer r is given. ap+1. From this and (E. using also (E. there exist λ1 . .18) of φ ). Thus ψ p+1 has all the required properties. .15)). Thus ψ p+1 (z) = φ (z) in this case.22) (and (E. Now we are almost finished with the proof.8. this follows from (E. λq ∈ Z such that z = λ1 d1 + λ2 d2 + · · · + λq dq ? 130 whenever z ∈ C p+1 .23) and the fact that ψ p(Zr ) = C p. . We also have that φ (z) = z if z ∈ C p+1. . given the corresponding assertion for ψ p.23) p+1 whenever z ∈ Zr . then z ∈ C p in particular. Now let us return to the original question. This defines a group homomorphism (with respect to the usual addition of vectors). a1. .17) and the definition (E. . about determining whether the integral homology of a given finite complex vanishes in a given dimension. as follows. as desired. Let us verify that (E. Combining this with (E. because of (E. . the problem asks. λ2 . we get that (E. .18) of φ (z). . . d2 . . (E. . a2. On the other hand. 2. .21). Given this data. . This completes the proof of Lemma E. Define ψ p+1 : Zr → Zr by ψ = φ ◦ ψ p. which was part of our “induction hypothesis” on ψ p . . a2. . . again by our “induction hypothesis” for ψ p . . since ψ p and φ are group homomorphisms. .because of (E.25) ψ p+1 (z) = z If z ∈ C p+1 .24) ψ p+1 (Zr ) = C p+1 . It is easy to see from this construction that ψ p+1 is effectively computable from the knowledge of r and a1 . p.21) φ (C p) ⊆ C p+1 . z · α = 0 φ (C p) = C p+1. φ (z) = z when z ∈ C p+1 (using (E.15) again).15).26) is it true that for every z ∈ Zr which satisfies ai · z = 0 for all i = 1. In particular. ap. .22) φ (z) = z (by the definition (E. This implies that ψ p(z) = z. and d1 . We also have that (E. as well as two finite collections of vectors in Zr .25). We can put this into a purely algebraic form. (E. . dq .

let us first mention an auxiliary observation.8 to reduce (E. Then there is a finite collection of vectors z j ∈ C which generate C (as an abelian group). . as follows.8. Consider the set (E. (E. Now let us consider (E. Imagine that r. Specifically. .The question of vanishing of homology is of this form. . . . . An answer of “yes” for the question in (E. Suppose that vectors a1.27). Let us use Lemma E. ap). a2 . one can first apply this observation to produce a finite set of generators z j for C as in (E. 2. Given this data.27) is it true that there exist λ1 . ap. . we see that an algorithm for deciding the answer to (E. This follows from Lemma E. where ψ p : Zr → Zr is the homomorphism provided by Lemma E.26). . generate C and can be effectively produced as well. such that (E. λ2 .. . Let r ∈ Z+ and d1 . a2.8. λ = (λ1 . . . but this is not needed for the present purposes. and which can be obtained through an effective procedure (given r and a1. . for the z j ’s one can take ψ p(ej ). a2.26) to a simpler problem. From Lemma E. . . We want to know if there is a vector λ ∈ Zq . . In this way.8. . 131 . .27)). we know that ψ p maps Zr onto C. dq ∈ Zr be given. i. q ∈ Zr and d ∈ Zr . . are given. . and also another vector z ∈ Zr . . p}. .29) z = λ 1 d1 + λ2 d2 + · · · + λ q dq . the new problem asks. .26) also provides a way to decide whether the homology of a given finite complex vanishes in a given dimension.26) is then equivalent to having an answer of “yes” for the question in (E. .) Thus. . λq ). λ2 . ap in Zr are given.27).27) gives rise to an algorithm for determining the answer to (E.28) C = {w ∈ Zr : ai · w = 0 for i = 1. the vector whose jth component is 1 and whose other components are 0.27) for each z j (in the role of z in (E. λq ∈ Z such that z = λ1 d1 + λ2 d2 + · · · + λq dq ? To show that (E. and that ψ p can be effectively produced given r and a1. d2 . 1 ≤ j ≤ r. .28).26). 1 ≤ j ≤ r. and so an effective procedure for determining an answer of “yes” or “no” to (E. and ej is the jth standard basis vector in Zr . . 1 ≤ ≤ q. . in order to determine the answer to the question in (E. .e.26) can be reduced to (E. This implies that z j = ψ p(ej ). (One might analyze this further to reduce the number of vectors in the generating set.

(E.31) either. but with inhomogeneous equations rather than homogeneous ones. rather than Zr . .32). then we can try to analyze the remaining equations on the set of λ’s which satisfy this equation. Consider first the equation with i = 1. respectively. and. 1 ≤ j ≤ q. where zi .e. A necessary condition is that z1 be divisible by all nonzero integers 1 1 that divide each component δj . a particular solution λ of (E.30) as (E. 2. The validity or not of this condition can be determined effectively.4.) This necessary condition is also sufficient. Let us suppose therefore that there is at least one solution to (E. . denote the ith components of z. r. 2. To do this. i. If there are solutions to this equation. we shall try to systematically reduce the number of equations involved.31) exists. . di . r. If there is no λ ∈ Zq which satisfies this single equation. . when the condition holds. but a solution does exist if one replaces zi with nzi for some positive integer n. 132 Here “·” denotes the usual dot product for vectors. As in the preceding paragraph.. because of Sublemma E.4. of δ 1.Let us rewrite this as (E. In fact it is easy to say exactly when there is a λ ∈ Zq which satisfies (E.. i. .32) can be produced effectively from the knowledge of z1 and δ 1. . If no solution to (E.30) zi = λ 1 d1 + λ 2 d2 + · · · + λ q dq i i i for i = 1. . q. this means that there is a solution λ which can be effectively computed from the data. . With this use of i “transpose” we can rewrite (E.e. . although now for vectors in Zq . as the answer to the question of the existence of a solution to the system (E. it may be that no solution λ ∈ Zq to (E. i Define vectors δ i ∈ Zq by δj = dj for j = 1. as before. .32) exists in Zq .31).31). With (E. 2. then it is divisible by all integers.32) z1 = λ · δ 1 .32). Note that for the inhomogeneous equations there can be issues of torsion.31) is then known to be “no”. then one can simply stop. then there is no solution for the system (E. We want to have an effective procedure for deciding when a vector λ ∈ q Z exists which provides a solution to (E. 1 ≤ i ≤ r. because of Sublemma E. we are in a somewhat similar situation as we have considered before. . (If z1 or some δj is 0.31) zi = λ · δ i for i = 1. . d . .

. . . . . r.Set L1 = {λ ∈ Zq : z1 = λ · δ 1}. . where the integers zi and vectors δ i can be computed in terms of the original zi ’s and δ i’s.36) as (E. . In particular. 133 .36) does there exist ξ ∈ Zq such that zi + λ · δ i = φ(ξ) · δ i for i = 2. . because the set of vectors τ ∈ Zq which lie in L1 is the same as the set of vectors of the form φ(ξ). . . This permits us to apply Lemma E. where ξ is allowed to be any element of Zq . and φ. we can make a change of variables and modify the equations slightly so that the set L1 in which we look for solutions is defined by a homogeneous equation. we can rewrite L1 as (E. r. .33) zi = λ · δ i for i = 2. From Lemma E.33) holds as asking whether there is a τ ∈ L1 such that zi + λ · δ i = τ · δ i for i = 2.34) L1 = {λ ∈ Zq : (λ − λ) · δ 1 = 0}. we can rewrite the equations in (E. . . (E.37) zi = ξ · δ i for i = 2. at the cost of having a possibly more complicated set of λ’s as admissible competitors. However. We can reformulate the question of whether there is a λ ∈ L1 such that (E. . . r. Using this. our question now becomes the following: (E.2 we know that φ can be effectively computed from the knowledge of q and δ 1. r? This is equivalent to the earlier question. Set L1 = {τ ∈ Zr : τ · δ 1 = 0}.31) is equivalent to the existence of a λ ∈ L1 which satisfies (E. The existence of a solution λ ∈ Zq to the original system of equations in (E.35) In other words. λ. By making straightforward substitutions. they can be computed effectively in terms of the original data in the problem. Thus we have reduced the number of equations involved. .2 (with r replaced by q) to get a homomorphism φ : Zq → Zq such that φ(Zq ) = L1 .

in this case one can make a “dual” search to find a reason for the vector z not to be in the subgroup of Zr generated by d1 .27). If the answer to the question in (E. One of the two searches will always stop in a finite amount of time. 1 ≤ j ≤ q. Thus. . However. Let us briefly mention a cruder and more naive approach to (E. . and stop whenever one of them stops.27) is “yes”. . but first let us notice how this “reason” for an answer of “no” does fit our purpose. Specifically. and thereby give an answer of “yes” or “no” to the original question (about whether z lies in the subgroup of Zr generated by d1 . we can reduce to the case of a single inhomogeneous equation. λ2 . the values of σ on the r standard basis vectors in Zr . through an exhaustive search. However. . . λq ) in Zq . the exhaustive search for the λ’s will stop in a finite time in this case. . when it exists. asking about the existence of a vector in Zq which satisfies a family of inhomogeneous linear equations. dq . If the answer to (E. then it can be found in a finite amount of time. and σ(z) = 0. . λ2 . . i. dq ). As indicated earlier. can be verified in finite time in a straightforward manner. We shall explain why this is true in a moment. Thus one can run the two searches in parallel. then this exhaustive search will not stop in finite time. and to the original problem about vanishing of homology in a finite complex. this argument fits nicely with what happens for the prob134 . A homomorphism σ : Zr → Q/Z can be described by r elements of Q/Z. .Thus we are back to the same kind of problem as we started with. d2 .e. This shows that there is an effective method to determine the answer to the question in (E. λq which satisfy z = λ1 d1 + · · · + λq dq . by pairs of integers. To look for an answer of “yes” to (E. .27). .27). The conditions σ(dj ) = 0. z does not lie in the subgroup of Zr generated by d1 . if a σ : Zr → Q/Z exists with these properties. stopping one finds a λ which satisfies the equation above.e. . this also gives a method for deciding the answer to the question in (E. . a reason which can also be found in finite time..26). . one can simply start searching among all vectors λ = (λ1 . If no such σ exists. dq if and only if there is a homomorphism σ : Zr → Q/Z such that σ(dj ) = 0 for each j but σ(z) = 0. However. . By repeating the process.. Any elements of Q/Z can be used here. and elements of Q/Z can be described in finite terms. . i. . then this search will not produce an answer in a finite amount of time. . Although naive.27) is “no”. . now we have reduced the number of equations by 1. . d2 . which we know how to solve (as we saw before). d2. then it means that there do exist integers λ1 .

let n0 be the smallest positive integer with that property. again through exhaustive searches. If no such n exists. . We begin by setting σ to be 0 on the subgroup generated by d1 . d2 . We now extend σ to the subgroup generated by z and the dj ’s. then we need to choose σ(z) so that nσ(z) = 0. . In general there is no finite test for the nontriviality of words. dq ∈ Zr if and only if there is a homomorphism σ : Zr → Q/Z such that σ(dj ) = 0 for j = 1. and abelian groups are a very special instance of this. and indeed the original question is not algorithmically decidable. Let us come back now to the assertion above.lem of deciding whether the fundamental group of a finite complex is trivial. . that z ∈ Zr does not lie in the subgroup generated by d1 . In this case we take σ(z) to be the element of Q/Z which corresponds to 1/n0 . d2 . Thus we assume that z does not lie in the subgroup generated by the dj ’s. In some cases. . one searches for realizations of the generators of the fundamental group as trivial words. If there is a positive integer n such that nz lies in the subgroup generated by d1 .e. using the relations for the fundamental group which can be read off from the given complex. i. that this can be done in a consistent manner. however. These things are not hard to check. The “if” part of the statement above is immediate. dq . since n0 > 1. q and σ(z) = 0. . When the answer is “yes”. one can find this out in finite time. dq . and so it suffices to consider the “only if” part. In algebraic terms. so that σ really is well-defined on the subgroup generated by z and the dj ’s. take σ(z) to be the element of Q/Z corresponding to 1/2 ∈ Q. . in such a way that it is still a homomorphism into Q/Z. . then n should be divisible by n0 . . . If such an n does exist. This is not difficult to do. . see Theorem 4. This element is not 0. . Thus n0 > 1. Now we simply want to extend σ to all of Zr . . one might have extra information which does allow for effective tests for answers of “no”. for a general assertion along these lines. 2. . One should be a bit careful here too. d2 .. The main 135 . which ensures that σ(nz) is equal to 0 in Q/Z. . . in the obvious way (so that σ is a homomorphism). but σ(n0 z) is then 0 in Q/Z. . . d2 . . since z itself does not lie in the subgroup generated by the dj ’s.2 on p312 of [Mas]. Of course this is closely analogous to familiar statements about vectors in a vector space and linear mappings into the ground field. For σ(z) we have to be slightly careful. . dq . This comes down to the fact that if n is an integer such that nz lies in the subgroup generated by d1 . and we want to find a homomorphism σ : Zr → Q/Z with the required properties. .

then one has to choose σ(w) so that nσ(w) is equal to σ(nw). one can eventually extend σ so that it becomes a homomorphism from all of Zr into Q/Z.point is that Q/Z is divisible. one can apply this process to the standard basis vectors in Zr . and w is an element in Zr not in H. one can extend it to new elements one at a time. then there is always a point in Q/Z to use as the value of σ at w. This is not a problem if nw does not lie in H for any nonzero integer n — in which case one could just as well take σ(w) = 0 — but if nw ∈ H for some nonzero n. That is. and to the subgroups that they generate together with the subgroup of Zr on which σ is already defined. where the latter is already been determined by the definition of σ on H. For instance. In order to extend σ to all of Zr . The divisibility property of Q/Z guarantees that there are always values available in Q/Z by which to make well-defined extensions. 136 . as desired. there is a y ∈ Q/Z such that my = x. By repeating this process. at least when they are not already included in the subgroup of Zr on which σ has already been defined (at the given stage of the construction). which means that for each element x of Q/Z and each nonzero integer m. In the end one obtains a homomorphism σ : Zr → Q/Z such that σ(dj ) = 0 for 1 ≤ j ≤ q and σ(z) = 0. if σ is already defined on some subgroup H of Zr .

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