Unit interval

From wiki.gis.com
Jump to: navigation, search

In mathematics, the unit interval is the closed interval [0,1], that is, the set of all real numbers that are greater than or equal to 0 and less than or equal to 1. It is often denoted I. In addition to its role in real analysis, the unit interval is used to study homotopy theory in the field of topology.

In the literature, the term "unit interval" is sometimes applied to the other shapes that an interval from 0 to 1 could take: (0,1], [0,1), and (0,1). However, the notation I is most commonly reserved for the closed interval [0,1].


The unit interval is a complete metric space, homeomorphic to the extended real number line. As a topological space it is compact, contractible, path connected and locally path connected. The Hilbert cube is obtained by taking a topological product of countably many copies of the unit interval.

In mathematical analysis, the unit interval is a one-dimensional analytical manifold whose boundary consists of the two points 0 and 1. Its standard orientation goes from from 0 to 1.

The unit interval is a totally ordered set and a complete lattice (every subset of the unit interval has a supremum and an infimum).


Sometimes, the term "unit interval" is used to refer to objects that play a role in various branches of mathematics analogous to the role that [0,1] plays in homotopy theory. For example, in the theory of quivers, the (analogue of the) unit interval is the graph whose vertex set is {0,1} and which contains a single edge e whose source is 0 and whose target is 1. One can then define a notion of homotopy between quiver homomorphisms analogous to the notion of homotopy between continuous maps.


  • Robert G. Bartle, 1964, The Elements of Real Analysis, John Wiley & Sons.