# Compact space

In mathematics, a compact space is a topological space for which every covering of that space by a collection of open sets has a finite subcovering. If the space is a metric space then compactness is equivalent to the space being complete and totally bounded and again equivalent to sequential compactness: that every sequence in this space has a convergent subsequence.

A subset of a topological space is compact if it is compact with respect to the subspace topology. A compact subset of a Hausdorff space is closed, but the converse does not hold in general. For the special case that the set is a subset of a finite dimensional normed space, such as the Euclidean spaces, then compactness is equivalent to that set being closed and bounded: this is the Heine-Borel theorem.

## Cover and subcover of a set

Let A be a subset of a set X. A cover for A is any family of subsets of X whose union contains A. In other words, a cover is of the form

$\mathcal{U}=\{A_{\gamma} \mid \gamma \in \Gamma \}, \quad A_{\gamma} \subset X,$

where Γ is an arbitrary index set, and satisfies

$A \subset \bigcup_{\gamma \in \Gamma }A_{\gamma}.$

An open cover is a cover in which all of the sets Aγ are open. Finally, a subcover of $\mathcal{U}$ is a family $\mathcal{U}'$ of the form

$\mathcal{U}'=\{A_{\gamma} \mid \gamma \in \Gamma'\}$

with $\Gamma' \subset \Gamma$ such that

$A \subset \bigcup_{\gamma \in \Gamma'}A_{\gamma}.$

## Formal definition of compact space

A topological space X is said to be compact if every open cover of X has a finite subcover, that is, a subcover which contains at most a finite number of subsets of X (in other words, the index set Γ' is finite).

## Finite intersection property

Just as the topology on a topological space may be defined in terms of the closed sets rather than the open sets, so we may transpose the definition of compactness in terms of open sets into a definition in terms of closed sets. A space is compact if the closed sets have the finite intersection property: if $\{ F_\lambda : \lambda \in \Lambda \}$ is a family of closed sets with empty intersection, $\bigcap_{\lambda \in \Lambda} F_\lambda = \emptyset$, then there exists a finite subfamily $\{ F_{\lambda_i} : i=1,\ldots,n \}$ that has empty intersection, $\bigcap_{i=1}^n F_{\lambda_i} = \emptyset$.