Mon, Jul 23, 2018

This is the webpage for MAST30026: Metric and Hilbert spaces. The subject consists of lectures, a weekly tutorial and office hours. The complete course notes are available below, and the 2018 recordings are on YouTube. There is a public Discord where you can join other people studying the material. Office hours are 10-11:30 Tuesday and 11-12:30 Friday (same Zoom meeting ID as the lectures).

There will be three assignments due at regular intervals during semester amounting to a total of 20%, and a 3-hour written examination in the examination period worth 80%. There are no tutorials in week one.


The ground truth of this subject is to be found in the lecture notes. It is explicitly intended that you will not be disadvantaged if you choose the YouTube videos over live lectures (or vice versa). In fact I expect most of you will choose a mix of the two. Markers like {28-7} indicate the day the lecture was finished in class.

Extension lectures (not examinable):


  • Tutorial 1: Products and disjoint unions (sheet)
  • Tutorial 2: Quotients and saturated sets (sheet)
  • Tutorial 3: The circle as a group (sheet)
  • Tutorial 4: One-point compactification (sheet)
  • Tutorial 5: Spaces of paths (sheet)
  • Tutorial 6: Homotopy (sheet)
  • Tutorial 7: Dual spaces (sheet)
  • Tutorial 8: Higher-order ODEs (sheet)
  • Tutorial 9: Integration (sheet)

Assignment 1 due by 4pm on Monday 23-8:

  • Exercise L7-5.5 (box product), L7-18 (fun torus), L7-17 (continuous components), L7-21 (circle represents periodic functions).

The solutions are generously provided by Yanchao Yang.

Assignment 2 due by 4pm on Friday 24-9:

  • Exercise L11-1 (Not Hausdorff), L11-12 (Doubled origin)
  • Exercise L12-4 (Constant loops), L12-14 (Product preserving)

The solutions are generously provided by Beaudon Anasson.

Assignment 3 due by 4pm on Friday 22-10:

  • Exercise L16-12 (double trig)
  • Exercise L18-11 (preserving Cauchy), L18-15 (Lq vs Lp)

The course contains the following major theorems:

There is no set text, but the following books may be useful:

  • J. R. Munkres “Topology” (for topological spaces)
  • K. Wysocki, H. Rubinstein “Metric and topological spaces
  • N. Bourbaki, “General topology” Chapters 1-4 (topological groups)
  • T. Tao “Analysis” Vol. II (for metric spaces, integrals)
  • W. Cheney “Analysis for applied mathematics” (for Hilbert spaces)
  • W. A. Sutherland “Introduction to metric and topological spaces”
  • E. Hewitt, K. Stromberg, “Real and abstract analysis” (Banach spaces)
  • E. M. Stein, R. Shakarchi “Real analysis” and “Functional analysis” (Hilbert and Banach spaces)

Various references:

Exam 2021

The bulk of the exam will be questions that are either exactly the same as exercises assigned in lectures, or which are very similar. The questions will be at a level of difficulty below the one-star exercises (there will be one part of one question at the level of the easiest one-star problem). To be clear, exercises which appear on the exam may not have appeared on any homework assignment, and may not have solutions provided in the lecture notes. Questions that appear only in tutorials will not appear on the exam. The exam from 2018 is available here with solutions.

The Exam will be Zoom invigilated and will not be open book. You should carefully read the exam advice prepared by the School of Mathematics and Statistics and I recommend watching the video here. Our exam will be a “variable length Gradescope exam”. This means that you will, at the beginning of the exam, be able to access the exam paper as a PDF on Canvas (which you either print or view on a device which is subsequently disconnected from the Internet). You write your solutions on blank pieces of paper, which you then scan and upload at the end of the exam. You should download and practice with a dedicated scanning app such as Camscanner, Scannable or OfficeLens. Do not plan to rely on the phone camera app. There will be announcement of times to practice the upload procedure during the week before the exam.

In addition to these “exercise style” questions, there will be at least one proof from the lectures that you will be asked to give in the exam. The following results are explicitly excluded:

  • Theorem on p.8 of L5 (Lorentz group)
  • Theorem L8-2 (Bolzano-Weierstrass)
  • Theorem L9-2 (sequentially compact iff. compact)
  • Theorem L11-4 (finite CW-complexes are compact Hausdorff)
  • Theorem L12-4 (adjunction property)
  • Theorem L12-7 (compact-open topology vs. closed graphs)
  • Exercise L14-3 (Bellman equation)
  • Theorem L15-1 (Picard’s theorem)
  • Theorem L16-0 (Weierstrass approximation)
  • Lemma L16-0.5 (Bernstein polynomials)
  • Theorem L16-3 (Stone-Weierstrass)
  • Theorem L18-1 (L^p-norm and Holder inequality)
  • Lemma L19-1 (characterisation of finite dimension)
  • Lemma L20-11 (conspiracy avoidance)

For the exam you may also ignore Exercise L12-7, Lemma L12-6, Example L12-2, Exercise L12-8, Theorem L12-7, Exercise L12-9, Exercise L13-5, Exercise L18-15 and anything marked as skipped in the above lecture schedule.

Old lectures

The lectures vary slightly from year to year, in terms of which material is covered. In 2020:

  • Lecture 3 skipped ignore Ex. L3-5
  • Lecture 4: skipped except for Lemma L4-1
  • Lecture 5: skipped
  • Lecture 11: Theorem L11-4 skipped
  • Lecture 12: Theorem L12-7 skipped
  • Lecture 19: skipped Lemma 19-1, 19-2
  • Lecture 20: updated 30-10

In 2019:

  • Lecture 4: skipped except for Lemma L4-1
  • Lecture 5: skipped

Old assignments

2020 assignments

Assignment 1 due by 4pm on 1-9:

  • Exercise L6-2 (two circles), L6-3 (Sierpinski), L6-11 (fake interval)
  • Exercise L7-2 (product), L7-4 (romega), L7-7 (quotients)

The solutions are generously provided by Brett Eskrigge.

Assignment 2 due by 4pm on 1-10:

  • Exercise L9-7 (witness)
  • Exercise L11-9 (compact Hausdorff implies normal)
  • Exercise L12-3 (sub-bases), L12-12 (graphs at infinity) [for the notation see Theorem L12-7]
  • Exercise L13-10 (Lipschitz to function spaces)

The solutions are generously provided by Jacob Cumming.

Assignment 3 due by 4pm on 30-10 (last day of semester):

  • Exercise L16-3.5 (A bar is a subalgebra)
  • Exercise L16-14 (Stone-Weierstrass for locally compact spaces)
  • Exercise L17-2 (exp cos theta)
  • Exercise L19-4 (bounded dual)

The solutions are generously provided by Brae Vaughan-Hankinson. For L17-2 see also this.

2019 assignments

Assignment 1 due by 4pm on 27-8:

  • Exercise L6-7 (germs)
  • Exercise L6-8, L6-9, L6-10 (Lipschitz equivalence)
  • Exercise L7-1 (bases)
  • Exercise L7-6 (disjoint union topology)

The solutions are generously provided by a student (who prefers to remain anonymous).

Assignment 2 due by 4pm on 26-9:

  • Exercise L7-20 (projective space is CW)
  • Exercise L10-3 (projective space is compact)
  • Exercise L12-2 (products of continuous maps are continuous), L12-5 (trivial case of compact-open topology), L12-11 (compact-open and inclusions)
  • Exercise L13-2 (compact-open and quotients)

The solutions are generously provided by a student.

Assignment 3 due by 4pm on 25-10:

  • Exercise L14-1 (implicit function theorem), L14-2 (fixed points vary continuously)
  • Exercise L16-6 (second-countability)
  • Exercise L17-7 (finite-dimensional implies finite)
  • Exercise L18-7 (convergence but not pointwise)
  • Exercise L18-12 (completion commutes with products)

The solutions are generously provided by a student.

2018 assignments

Assignment 1 due by 4pm on 17-8:

  • Exercise L2-3 (by hand proof of arc length metric)
  • Exercise L3-3 (relations in the isometry group of S^1), L3-4 (rotations, translations, reflections), L3-5 (orientations)
  • Exercise L4-0 (d-1 and d-infinity metrics), L4-4 (isometries from similar matrices)

The solutions are generously provided by a student (who prefers to remain anonymous).

Assignment 2 due by 4pm on 7-9:

  • Exercise L5-7 (hyperbolic angles and Lorentz boosts)
  • Exercise L6-3 (Sierpinski is not metrisable)
  • Exercise L7-2 (the product topology), L7-10 (circle as a pushout), L7-12 (homeomorphism warmup), L7-19 (spheres are quotients of disks)
  • Exercise L8-5 (unbounded functions exist if they can)
  • Exercise L9-5 (closed in compact implies compact)

The solutions are again, generously provided by a student.

Assignment 3 due by 4pm on 5-10:

  • Exercise L11-8 (metrisable spaces are normal), L11-11 (closed diagonal vs Hausdorff)
  • Exercise L12-1 (graphs and continuity), L12-6 (rotating loops), L12-10 (homotopy), L12-13 (adjunction property)
  • Exercise L13-3 (continuity of metric), L13-8 (metric products and completeness)

The solutions are generously provided by a student. For an alternative solution of L12-13 using the adjunction property, see the end of the lecture notes.

Old tutorials

2020 tutorials

  • Tutorial 1: Products and disjoint unions (sheet)
  • Tutorial 2: Quotients and saturated sets (sheet)
  • Tutorial 3: The circle as a group (sheet)
  • Tutorial 4: One-point compactification (sheet)
  • Tutorial 5: Spaces of paths (sheet)
  • Tutorial 6: Homotopy (sheet)
  • Tutorial 7: Dual spaces (sheet)
  • Tutorial 8: Higher-order ODEs (sheet)
  • Tutorial 9: Integration (sheet)
  • Tutorial 10: Incomplete function spaces (rough notes)
  • Tutorial 11: Integrable functions live in L2 (rough notes)

2019 tutorials

2018 tutorials

  • Tutorial 1: Permutations and orientations (sheet | solutions)
  • Tutorial 2: Sylvester’s law of inertia (sheet | solutions)
  • Tutorial 3: Products, disjoint unions and Lipschitz (sheet)
  • Tutorial 4: Topological groups (sheet)
  • Tutorial 5: Constructing the real numbers (sheet) (Note: Q4, Q6 are optional).
  • Tutorial 6: Towards Fourier theory (sheet) (Note: Q4 is optional).
  • Tutorial 7: Duality and adjoints (sheet | solutions)
  • Tutorial 8: Integration (sheet | solutions)
  • Tutorial 9: Around Stone-Weierstrass (sheet)
  • Tutorial 10: Zorn’s lemma and vector spaces (sheet)
  • Tutorial 11: Examples of vectors in L^2 spaces

Index of topics covered

The following topics appear in the lecture notes. Those topics in the lecture notes or exercises but not discussed out loud during lectures are given in italics:

  • Lecture 1: SO(2) acting on R2
  • Lecture 2: metric space, arc length metric on S1
  • Lecture 3: isometries, classification of isometries of S1, orientation
  • Lecture 4: Rn as metric space, metrics from positive-definite matrices, Cauchy-Schwartz inequality (baby version)
  • Lecture 5: postulates of special relativity, derivation of Lorentz group, Minkowski space
  • Lecture 6: topological spaces, continuous maps, Sierpinski space, topology associated to a metric, abstract continuity matches with epsilon-delta continuity
  • Lecture 7: bases, product spaces, quotient spaces, disjoint unions, homeomorphisms, pushouts, torus, Mobius strip, graphs as topological spaces, finite CW complexes, projective space
  • Lecture 8: closed and bounded sets, Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem, sequences and convergence in metric spaces, continuity as preservation of limits, sequential compactness in metric spaces
  • Lecture 9: cover compactness, sequential compactness equals compactness for metric spaces, extreme value theorem for compact spaces, Cauchy sequences in metric spaces
  • Lecture 10: preservation of compactness under quotients and finite products, Heine-Borel theorem, finite CW complexes are compact
  • Lecture 11: metrisable spaces are Hausdorff, products of Hausdorff spaces are Hausdorff, real line with double point, compact subspaces of Hausdorff spaces are closed, continuous bijections from compact to Hausdorff spaces are homeomorphisms, finite CW complexes are Hausdorff, normal and regular spaces
  • Lecture 12: function space as configuration space, compact-open topology, evaluation and composition are continuous, path space, loop space, space of graphs
  • Lecture 13: for X compact and Y metrisable the compact-open topology on Cts(X,Y) is metrisable, closure, interior, density, pointwise and uniform convergence, continuity of uniform limits of continuous functions, complete metric spaces, completeness of Cts(X,Y) for X compact and Y a complete metric space, distance from a point to a set in a metric space, continuity of the metric.
  • Lecture 14: Banach fixed point theorem, contraction mappings, Bellman equation in reinforcement learning.
  • Lecture 15: Picard’s theorem on existence and uniqueness of solutions to ordinary differential equations
  • Lecture 16: Weierstrass approximation theorem, continuous functions on compact spaces are uniformly continuous, Stone-Weierstrass theorem, algebras of functions, topological algebras, Bernstein polynomials, trigonometric polynomials are dense, separable spaces, one-point compactification.
  • Lecture 17: integrals as positive linear functionals (called here integral pairs), topological vector spaces, products, disjoint unions and quotients of integral pairs, Fubini’s theorem via Stone-Weierstrass.
  • Lecture 18: normed spaces, L^p norm, Holder inequality, non-completeness of R-valued functions with the L^p norm, Banach spaces, completion of a metric space, completion of a normed space to a Banach space, definition of the L^p Banach space.
  • Lecture 19: finite-dimensionality of vector spaces characterised by the isomorphism with the double dual, continuous linear duals of topological vector spaces and normed spaces, bounded operators between normed spaces, bounded and linear equals continuous and linear, duality for L^p-spaces (statement only) and the self-duality of L^2-spaces.
  • Lecture 20: inner product spaces, Cauchy-Schwartz inequality, inner product spaces are normed spaces, Hilbert spaces, conjugate vector spaces, orthogonal complement of a subset, decomposition of Hilbert space by a closed vector subspace, Riesz representation theorem, L^2 spaces are Hilbert spaces, self-duality of L^2-spaces, constructing vectors in L^2-spaces from integrable functions.
  • Lecture 21: complex exponentials give an orthonormal (dense) basis for L^2 of the circle, Bessel’s inequality, equivalent conditions for an orthonormal system to be a dense basis, complete description of the function space of the circle via Fourier coefficients, and more generally for any integral pair embedded in Euclidean space.

And in the tutorials:

  • Tutorial 3: Lipschitz equivalence
  • Tutorial 4: Topological abelian groups
  • Tutorial 5: Real numbers as Cauchy sequences
  • Tutorial 6: Cyclic groups, Q/Z and R/Z, direct limits
  • Tutorial 7: Dual of a linear transformation, adjoints
  • Tutorial 8: Riemann integrals, compactly supported functions

The later tutorials were primarily extracts from lectures. I have written up some brief notes about my experience with video recording these lectures.