Covering homotopy

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for a homotopy of a mapping , given a mapping

A homotopy such that . In this situation, if the covering mapping for is prescribed in advance, one says that extends . The covering homotopy axiom, in its strong version, requires that, for a given mapping , for any homotopy from a paracompactum and for any (), an extension of to a covering homotopy exists. In that case is said to be a Hurewicz fibration. The most important example is provided by the locally trivial fibre bundles (cf. Locally trivial fibre bundle). If the covering homotopy property is only required to hold in the case that is a finite polyhedron, is called a Serre fibration.

Let and be arcwise connected and let be the path space of (i.e. the space of continuous mappings ). Consider a continuous mapping


and assume that begins at a point and covers . Then the formula yields an extension of to a covering homotopy . In particular, a mapping satisfying these conditions can be defined naturally for a covering, and also for a smooth vector bundle with a fixed connection. The validity of the covering homotopy axiom in Serre's formulation makes it possible to construct the exact homotopy sequence of a fibration (see Homotopy group).


Thus, a covering homotopy is a lifting of a given homotopy (a homotopy lifting). The covering homotopy property is dual to the homotopy extension property, which defines the notion of a cofibration.


[a1] E.H. Spanier, "Algebraic topology" , McGraw-Hill (1966) pp. Chapt. 2
How to Cite This Entry:
Covering homotopy. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by A.V. Chernavskii (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article