# Mapping cylinder

{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Refimprove |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Message box|ambox}} }} In mathematics, specifically algebraic topology, the mapping cylinder of a function $f$ between topological spaces $X$ and $Y$ is the quotient

$M_{f}=(([0,1]\times X)\amalg Y)\,/\,\sim$ where the union is disjoint, and ∼ is the equivalence relation generated by

$(0,x)\sim f(x)\quad {\text{for each }}x\in X.$ See  for more details.

## Basic properties

$R:M_{f}\times I\rightarrow M_{f}$ $([t,x],s)\mapsto [s\cdot t,x]$ The map $f:X\to Y$ is a homotopy equivalence if and only if the "top" $\{1\}\times X$ is a strong deformation retract of $M_{f}$ . A proof can be found in. An explicit formula for the strong deformation retraction is produced in.

## Interpretation

The mapping cylinder may be viewed as a way to replace an arbitrary map by an equivalent cofibration, in the following sense:

Thus the space Y gets replaced with a homotopy equivalent space $M_{f}$ , and the map f with a lifted map ${\tilde {f}}$ . Equivalently, the diagram

$f\colon X\to Y$ gets replaced with a diagram

${\tilde {f}}\colon X\to M_{f}$ together with a homotopy equivalence between them.

The construction serves to replace any map of topological spaces by a homotopy equivalent cofibration.

Note that pointwise, a cofibration is a closed inclusion.

## Applications

Mapping cylinders are quite common homotopical tools. One use of mapping cylinders is to apply theorems concerning inclusions of spaces to general maps, which might not be injective.

Consequently, theorems or techniques (such as homology, cohomology or homotopy theory) which are only dependent on the homotopy class of spaces and maps involved may be applied to $f\colon X\rightarrow Y$ with the assumption that $X\subset Y$ and that $f$ is actually the inclusion of a subspace.

Another, more intuitive appeal of the construction is that it accords with the usual mental image of a function as "sending" points of $X$ to points of $Y,$ and hence of embedding $X$ within $Y,$ despite the fact that the function need not be one-to-one.

### Categorical application and interpretation

One can use the mapping cylinder to construct homotopy limits{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |\$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}: given a diagram, replace the maps by cofibrations (using the mapping cylinder) and then take the ordinary pointwise limit (one must take a bit more care, but mapping cylinders are a component).

### Mapping telescope

Given a sequence of maps

$X_{1}\to _{f_{1}}X_{2}\to _{f_{2}}X_{3}\to \cdots$ the mapping telescope is the homotopical direct limit. If the maps are all already cofibrations (such as for the orthogonal groups $O(n)\subset O(n+1)$ ), then the direct limit is the union, but in general one must use the mapping telescope. The mapping telescope is a sequence of mapping cylinders, joined end-to-end. The picture of the construction looks like a stack of increasingly large cylinders, like a telescope.

Formally, one defines it as

${\Bigl (}\coprod _{i}[0,1]\times X_{i}{\Bigr )}/((0,x_{i})\sim (1,f(x_{i})))$ 