Carathéodory's extension theorem
- See also Carathéodory's theorem for other meanings.
In measure theory, Carathéodory's extension theorem (named after the Greek mathematician Constantin Carathéodory) states that any σ-finite measure defined on a given ring R of subsets of a given set Ω can be uniquely extended to the σ-algebra generated by R. Consequently, any measure on a space containing all intervals of real numbers can be extended to the Borel algebra of the set of real numbers. This is an extremely powerful result of measure theory, and proves, for example, the existence of the Lebesgue measure.
Semi-ring and ring
- ∅ ∈ S
- For all A, B ∈ S, we have A∩B ∈ S (closed under pairwise intersections)
- For all A, B ∈ S, there exist disjoint sets Ki ∈ S, with i = 1, 2, …, n, such that (relative complements can be written as finite disjoint unions).
With the same notation, we define a ring R as a subset of the power set of Ω which has the following properties:
- ∅ ∈ R
- For all A, B ∈ R, we have A∪B ∈ R (closed under pairwise unions)
- For all A, B ∈ R, we have A\B ∈ R (closed under relative complements).
Thus any ring on Ω is also a semi-ring.
Sometimes, the following constraint is added in the measure theory context:
- Ω is the disjoint union of a countable family of sets in S.
- Arbitrary (possibly uncountable) intersections of rings on Ω are still rings on Ω.
- If A is a non-empty subset of , then we define the ring generated by A (noted R(A)) as the smallest ring containing A. It is straightfoward to see that the ring generated by A is equivalent to the intersection of all rings containing A.
- For a semi-ring S, the set containing all finite disjoint union of sets of S is the ring generated by S:
(R(S) is simply the set containing all finite unions of sets in S).
- A content μ defined on a semi-ring S can be extended on the ring generated by S. Such an extension is unique. The extended content can be written:
- for , with the Ai in S.
In addition, it can be proved that μ is a pre-measure if and only if the extended content is also a pre-measure, and that any pre-measure on R(S) that extends the pre-measure on S is necessarily of this form.
In measure theory, we are not interested in semi-rings and rings themselves, but rather in σ-algebras generated by them. The idea is that it is possible to build a pre-measure on a semi-ring S (for example Stieltjes measures), which can then be extended to a pre-measure on R(S), which can finally be extended to a measure on a σ-algebra through Caratheodory's extension theorem. As σ-algebras generated by semi rings and rings are the same, the difference does not really matter (in the measure theory context at least). Actually, the Carathéodory's extension theorem can be slightly generalized by replacing ring by semi-ring.
The definition of semi-ring may seem a bit convoluted, but the following example shows why it is useful.
Think about the subset of defined by the set of all half-open intervals [a, b) for a and b reals. This is a semi-ring, but not a ring. Stieltjes measures are defined on intervals; the countable additivity on the semi ring is not too difficult to prove because we only consider countable unions of intervals which are intervals themselves. Proving it for arbitrary countably union of intervals is proved using Caratheodory's theorem.
Statement of the theorem
Let R be a ring on Ω and μ: R → [0, + ∞] be a pre-measure on R.
The Carathéodory's extension theorem states that there exists a measure μ′: σ(R) → [0, + ∞] such that μ′ is an extension of μ. (That is, μ′ |R = μ).
Here σ(R) is the σ-algebra generated by R.
- Outer measure: the proof of Carathéodory's extension theorem is based upon the outer measure concept.
- Hahn-Kolmogorov theorem
- Loeb measures, constructed using Carathéodory's extension theorem.
- Vaillant, Theorem 4
- Ash, p19