# Pointwise convergence

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In mathematics, pointwise convergence is one of various senses in which a sequence of functions can converge to a particular function. It is weaker than uniform convergence, to which it is often compared.[1][2]

## Definition

Suppose ${\displaystyle (f_{n})}$ is a sequence of functions sharing the same domain and codomain. The codomain is most commonly the reals, but in general can be any metric space. The sequence ${\displaystyle (f_{n})}$ converges pointwise to the function ${\displaystyle f}$, often written as

${\displaystyle \lim _{n\rightarrow \infty }f_{n}=f\ {\mbox{pointwise}},}$

if and only if

${\displaystyle \lim _{n\rightarrow \infty }f_{n}(x)=f(x).}$

for every x in the domain. The function ${\displaystyle f}$ is said to be the pointwise limit function of ${\displaystyle f_{n}}$.

## Properties

This concept is often contrasted with uniform convergence. To say that

${\displaystyle \lim _{n\rightarrow \infty }f_{n}=f\ {\mbox{uniformly}}}$

means that

${\displaystyle \lim _{n\rightarrow \infty }\,\sup\{\,\left|f_{n}(x)-f(x)\right|:x\in {\mbox{the domain}}\,\}=0.}$

That is a stronger statement than the assertion of pointwise convergence: every uniformly convergent sequence is pointwise convergent, to the same limiting function, but some pointwise convergent sequences are not uniformly convergent. For example, if ${\displaystyle f_{n}:[0,1)\rightarrow [0,1)}$ is a sequence of functions defined by ${\displaystyle f_{n}(x)=x^{n}}$, then ${\displaystyle \lim _{n\rightarrow \infty }f_{n}(x)=0}$ pointwise on the interval [0,1), but not uniformly.

The pointwise limit of a sequence of continuous functions may be a discontinuous function, but only if the convergence is not uniform. For example,

${\displaystyle f(x)=\lim _{n\rightarrow \infty }\cos(\pi x)^{2n}}$

takes the value 1 when x is an integer and 0 when x is not an integer, and so is discontinuous at every integer.

The values of the functions fn need not be real numbers, but may be in any topological space, in order that the concept of pointwise convergence make sense. Uniform convergence, on the other hand, does not make sense for functions taking values in topological spaces generally, but makes sense for functions taking values in metric spaces, and, more generally, in uniform spaces.

## Topology

Pointwise convergence is the same as convergence in the product topology on the space YX, where X is the domain and Y is the codomain. If the codomain Y is compact, then, by Tychonoff's theorem, the space YX is also compact.

## Almost everywhere convergence

In measure theory, one talks about almost everywhere convergence of a sequence of measurable functions defined on a measurable space. That means pointwise convergence almost everywhere, i.e. on a subset of the domain whose complement has measure zero. Egorov's theorem states that pointwise convergence almost everywhere on a set of finite measure implies uniform convergence on a slightly smaller set.

## References

1. ^ Rudin, Walter (1976). Principles of Mathematical Analysis. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-054235-X.
2. ^ Munkres, James R. (2000). Topology (2nd ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-181629-2.