From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In geometry a hyperplane is a subspace of one dimension less than its ambient space. If a space is 3-dimensional then its hyperplanes are the 2-dimensional planes, while if the space is 2-dimensional, its hyperplanes are the 1-dimensional lines. This notion can be used in any general space in which the concept of the dimension of a subspace is defined.

In different settings, the objects which are hyperplanes may have different properties. For instance, a hyperplane of an n-dimensional affine space is a flat subset with dimension n − 1. By its nature, it separates the space into two half spaces. But a hyperplane of an n-dimensional projective space does not have this property.

Technical description[edit]

In geometry, a hyperplane of an n-dimensional space V is a subspace of dimension n − 1, or equivalently, of codimension 1 in V. The space V may be a Euclidean space or more generally an affine space, or a vector space or a projective space, and the notion of hyperplane varies correspondingly since the definition of subspace differs in these settings; in all cases however, any hyperplane can be given in coordinates as the solution of a single (due to the "codimension 1" constraint) algebraic equation of degree 1.

If V is a vector space, one distinguishes "vector hyperplanes" (which are linear subspaces, and therefore must pass through the origin) and "affine hyperplanes" (which need not pass through the origin; they can be obtained by translation of a vector hyperplane). A hyperplane in a Euclidean space separates that space into two half spaces, and defines a reflection that fixes the hyperplane and interchanges those two half spaces.

Special types of hyperplanes[edit]

Several specific types of hyperplanes are defined with properties that are well suited for particular purposes. Some of these specializations are described here.

Affine hyperplanes[edit]

An affine hyperplane is an affine subspace of codimension 1 in an affine space. In Cartesian coordinates, such a hyperplane can be described with a single linear equation of the following form (where at least one of the a_i's is non-zero):

a_1x_1 + a_2x_2  + \cdots + a_nx_n = b.\

In the case of a real affine space, in other words when the coordinates are real numbers, this affine space separates the space into two half-spaces, which are the connected components of the complement of the hyperplane, and are given by the inequalities

a_1x_1 + a_2x_2  + \cdots + a_nx_n < b\


a_1x_1 + a_2x_2  + \cdots + a_nx_n > b.\

As an example, a point is a hyper plane in 1-dimensional space, a line is a hyperplane in 2-dimensional space, and a plane is a hyperplane in 3-dimensional space. A line in 3-dimensional space is not a hyperplane, and does not separate the space into two parts (the complement of such a line is connected).

Any hyperplane of a Euclidean space has exactly two unit normal vectors.

Affine hyperplanes are used to define decision boundaries in many machine learning algorithms such as linear-combination (oblique) decision trees, and Perceptrons.

Vector hyperplanes[edit]

In a vector space, a vector hyperplane is a subspace of codimension 1, only possibly shifted from the origin by a vector, in which case it is referred to as a flat. Such a hyperplane is the solution of a single linear equation.

Projective hyperplanes[edit]

Projective hyperplanes, are used in projective geometry. A projective subspace is a set of points with the property that for any two points of the set, all the points on the line determined by the two points are contained in the set.[1] Projective geometry can be viewed as affine geometry with vanishing points (points at infinity) added. An affine hyperplane together with the associated points at infinity forms a projective hyperplane. One special case of a projective hyperplane is the infinite or ideal hyperplane, which is defined with the set of all points at infinity.

In projective space, a hyperplane does not divide the space into two parts; rather, it takes two hyperplanes to separate points and divide up the space. The reason for this is that the space essentially "wraps around" so that both sides of a lone hyperplane are connected to each other.

Dihedral angles[edit]

The dihedral angle between two non-parallel hyperplanes of a Euclidean space is the angle between the corresponding normal vectors. The product of the transformations in the two hyperplanes is a rotation whose axis is the subspace of codimension 2 obtained by intersecting the hyperplanes, and whose angle is twice the angle between the hyperplanes.

Support hyperplanes[edit]

A hyperplane H is called a "support" hyperplane of the polyhedron P if P is contained in one of the two closed half-spaces bounded by H and H\cap P \neq \varnothing.[2] The intersection of between P and H is defined to be a "face" of the polyhedron. The theory of polyhedron and the dimension of the faces are analyzed by the looking at these intersections involving hyper planes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beutelspacher, Albrecht; Rosenbaum, Ute (1998), Projective Geometry: From Foundations to Applications, Cambridge University Press, p. 10, ISBN 9780521483643 
  2. ^ Polytopes, Rings and K-Theory by Bruns-Gubeladze

External links[edit]