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Semmes - Real Analysis, Quantitative Topology, And Geometric Complexity|Views: 11|Likes: 6

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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

dφ

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

(ψ

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

(β

). 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 =

(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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