Hausdorff gap

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In mathematics, a Hausdorff gap consists roughly of two collections of sequences of integers, such that there is no sequence lying between the two collections. The first example was found by Hausdorff (1909). The existence of Hausdorff gaps shows that the partially ordered set of possible growth rates of sequences is not complete.


Let ωω be the set of all sequences of non-negative integers, and define f < g to mean lim g(n) – f(n) = +∞.

If X is a poset and κ and λ are cardinals, then a (κ,λ)-pregap in X is a set of elements fα for α in κ and a set of elements gβ for β in λ such that

  • The transfinite sequence f is strictly increasing
  • The transfinite sequence g is strictly decreasing
  • Every element of the sequence f is less than every element of the sequence g

A pregap is called a gap if it satisfies the additional condition:

  • There is no element h greater than all elements of f and less than all elements of g.

A Hausdorff gap is a (ω11)-gap in ωω such that for every countable ordinal α and every natural number n there are only a finite number of β less than α such that for all k > n we have fα(k) < gβ(k).

There are some variations of these definitions, with the ordered set ωω replaced by a similar set. For example, one can redefine f < g to mean f(n) < g(n) for all but finitely many n. Another variation introduced by Hausdorff (1936) is to replace ωω by the set of all subsets of ω, with the order given by A < B if A has only finitely many elements not in B but B has infinitely many elements not in A.


  • Ryszard, Frankiewicz; Paweł, Zbierski (1994), Hausdorff gaps and limits, Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics, 132, Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Co., ISBN 0-444-89490-X, MR 1311476 
  • Hausdorff, F. (1909), Die Graduierung nach dem Endverlauf, Abhandlungen der Königlich Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, 31, B. G. Teubner, pp. 296−334 
  • Hausdorff, F. (1936), "Summen von ℵ1 Mengen" (PDF), Fundamenta Mathematicae, Institute of Mathematics Polish Academy of Sciences, 26 (1): 241–255, ISSN 0016-2736 
  • Scheepers, Marion (1993), "Gaps in ωω", in Judah, Haim, Set theory of the reals (Ramat Gan, 1991), Israel Math. Conf. Proc., 6, Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan Univ., pp. 439–561, ISBN 978-9996302800, MR 1234288 

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