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over a topological space

A space whose points are the elements of some family of subsets of with some topology. is usually a ring of sets, but this is not assumed in advance.

Example. is the hyperspace of all subsets of a space ; a basis for the topology is formed by the sets provided that is closed in , is open in and .

The most frequently occurring hyperspace is . It consists of all closed subsets of a topological space ; a sub-base of the exponential topology on is formed by and , where and are open in and runs through . Topologies in the following hyperspaces are defined in the same manner: on the set of all compact subsets of a space ; on the set of all finite subsets of a space ; on the set of all subcontinua (connected compacta) of a continuum , etc. These spaces may be regarded as subspaces of the hyperspace endowed with the exponential topology. If is a uniform space, then the set has a natural uniform structure; the uniform space obtained in this way is denoted by . If is compact, then the hyperspaces , and are all homeomorphic and are compact. If is a compact metrizable space, so is . If is a continuum, so are and .


[1] K. Kuratowski, "Topology" , 2 , Acad. Press (1968) (Translated from French)
[2] E. Michael, "Topologies on spaces of subsets" Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. , 71 (1951) pp. 152–182
[3] V.I. Ponomarev, "A new space of closed sets and many-valued continuous maps of bicompacts" Mat. Sb. , 48 (90) : 2 (1959) pp. 191–212 (In Russian)


The exponential topology is commonly called the Vietoris topology, in honour of L. Vietoris who introduced it in 1922 [a1]. However, it made little impact on topology for 20 years, until it was rediscovered by O. Frink [a2] and by E. Michael [2]. If is a compact metric space, then the Vietoris topology on is induced by the Hausdorff metric. For general accounts of hyperspace theory, see [a3] and [a4].

On one frequently considers the topology generated by the family , where . Thus topologized is called the Pixley–Roy hyperspace of . It is often used in the construction of counterexamples, see [a5].


[a1] L. Vietoris, "Bereiche zweiter Ordnung" Monatsh. Math. Physik , 32 (1922) pp. 258–280
[a2] O. Frink, "Topology in lattices" Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. , 51 (1942) pp. 569–582
[a3] S.B. Nadler, "Hyperspaces of sets" , M. Dekker (1978)
[a4] B.L. McAllister, "Hyperspaces and multifunctions, the first half century" Nieuw Arch. Wisk. (3) , 26 (1978) pp. 309–329
[a5] E.K. van Douwen, "The Pixley–Roy topology on spaces of subsets" G.M. Reed (ed.) , Set-Theoretic Topology , Acad. Press (1977) pp. 111–134
How to Cite This Entry:
Hyperspace. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by B.A. Efimov (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article