Homeomorphism group

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In mathematics, particularly topology, the homeomorphism group of a topological space is the group consisting of all homeomorphisms from the space to itself with function composition as the group operation. Homeomorphism groups are very important in the theory of topological spaces and in general are examples of automorphism groups. Homeomorphism groups are topological invariants in the sense that the homeomorphism groups of homeomorphic topological spaces are isomorphic as groups.

Properties and Examples[edit]

There is a natural group action of the homeomorphism group of a space on that space. If this action is transitive, then the space is said to be homogeneous.


As with other sets of maps between topological spaces, the homeomorphism group can be given a topology, such as the compact-open topology (in the case of regular, locally compact spaces), making it into a topological group.

In the category of topological spaces with homeomorphisms, object groups are exactly homeomorphism groups.

Mapping class group[edit]

Main article: Mapping class group

In geometric topology especially, one considers the quotient group obtained by quotienting out by isotopy, called the mapping class group:

{\rm MCG}(X) = {\rm Homeo}(X) / {\rm Homeo}_0(X)

The MCG can also be interpreted as the 0th homotopy group, {\rm MCG}(X) = \pi_0({\rm Homeo}(X)). This yields the short exact sequence:

1 \rightarrow {\rm Homeo}_0(X) \rightarrow {\rm Homeo}(X) \rightarrow {\rm MCG}(X) \rightarrow 1.

In some applications, particularly surfaces, the homeomorphism group is studied via this short exact sequence, and by first studying the mapping class group and group of isotopically trivial homeomorphisms, and then (at times) the extension.

See also[edit]