# An algorithmic classification of open surfaces

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1 An algorithmic classification of open surfaces Sylvain Maillot January 8, 2013 Abstract We propose a formulation for the homeomorphism problem for open n-dimensional manifolds and use the Kerekjarto classification theorem to solve this problem for n = 2. 1 Introduction One of the most important problems in the topology of manifolds is the homeomorphism problem, which asks for a given dimension n whether there is an algorithm to decide if two compact n-dimensional PL manifolds are homeomorphic. It is easy to show that the answer is yes for n = 1. For n = 2, the answer is also yes, thanks to the classification of surfaces. For n = 3, the problem is much more difficult; a positive answer follows from Perelman s proof [3, 5, 4] of Thurston s geometrisation conjecture as well as earlier work (see e.g. [1, Section 1.4] and the references within.) When n 4 the answer is negative [2]. In this paper we consider open, i.e. noncompact (but paracompact) manifolds. The homeomorphism problem as formulated above does not make sense, because in general open manifolds are not defined by finite data which one can feed into a computer. For compact manifolds, a consequence of a positive answer to the homeomorphism problem in dimension n is that one can make a list M 0, M 1,... of compact n-manifolds, such that any compact n-manifold is homeomorphic to exactly one member of the list. When we consider open manifolds of dimension n > 1, such a list cannot exist, because there are uncountably many n-manifolds (see Appendix A.) To deal with this issue, we restrict attention to manifolds which are generated by a simple recursive procedure. First we make the following definition. Definition. Let n 1 be a natural number. A topological n-automaton is a triple X = ((X 0,..., X p ), (C 1,..., C p ), (f 1,..., f q )) where 1

2 p, q are nonnegative integers; for each k, X k is a compact triangulated n-dimensional manifold-withboundary, called a building block; for each k 1, C k is a connected component of X k, hereafter called the incoming boundary component of X k. The other boundary components of the building blocks, including all boundary components of X 0, if any, are called the outcoming boundary components; for each i, there exist k, l with k l such that f i is a simplicial homeomorphism from some outcoming boundary component of X k onto C l ; f i is called an arrow; subject to the condition that every outcoming boundary component is the domain of exactly one arrow. An example of topological automaton is given in Figure 1. X 0 X 1 f 4 f 1 C 2 f 3 C 1 X 2 f 2 Figure 1: A topological 2-automaton X To any topological n-automaton X we associate an n-dimensional manifold M(X) by starting with X 0 and following the arrows to attach copies of the various building blocks. The idea is simple, but the formal definition is rather awkward, since we must specify an order in which the building blocks are attached, and keep track of the copies of the building blocks that have already been used. To this effect, note that by the last condition, the ordering of the f i s induces a linear ordering L on the set of outcoming boundary components. 2

3 Let X be a topological n-automaton. We first define inductively a sequence of triples {(M s, φ s, L s )} s N where for each s, M s is a compact n- manifold-with-boundary, φ s is a collection of bijections from the components of M s to outcoming boundary components of X, and L s is a linear ordering of the components of M s. For each 1 k p we generate a sequence of copies of X k by setting X m k := X k {m} for each nonnegative integer m. By abuse of notation, we still denote by f i the homeomorphisms between the various components of the X m k s induced by f i. We define M 0 to be X 0, φ 0 to be the set of identity maps of the components of X 0, and L 0 is induced by L. Assume that the triple {(M s, φ s, L s )} has been defined. Take the first component C of M s, as given by L s. Using φ s, we can identify C to some outcoming boundary component of some X k. Then by hypothesis there is a unique f i with domain C. Let C k be the range of f i. Take the first copy of X k which has not already been used in the construction, and attach it to M s along f i. Then repeat the operation for all components of M s, the order being determined by L s. The resulting manifold is M s+1. The set of homeomorphisms φ s+1 is determined by the identification of each added manifold with some building block. The ordering L s+1 is deduced from L s and L in a lexicographical manner. By construction, there is a natural inclusion map from M s to M s+1. Thus the M s s form a direct system. We define M(X) as the direct limit of this system. See Figure 2 for an example. We can now state the main theorem of this paper, which can be thought of as a solution to the homeomorphism problem for open surfaces: Theorem 1.1. There is an algorithm which takes as input two topological 2- automata X 1, X 2 and decides whether M(X 1 ) and M(X 2 ) are homeomorphic. The proof of Theorem 1.1 relies essentially on the classification theorem for possibly noncompact surfaces, due to Kerekjarto and Richards [6]. We now recall the statement of this theorem. Let F be a possibly noncompact surface without boundary. The classical invariants which are used in the statement of the classification theorem are the genus, the orientability class, and the triple (E(F), E (F), E (F)) where E(F) is the space of ends of F, E (F) is the closed subspace of nonplanar ends, and E (F) is the closed subspace of nonorientable ends. Here is the statement of the classification theorem: Theorem 1.2 (Classification of surfaces, Kerekjarto,Richards [6]). Let F 1, F 2 be two surfaces without boundary. Then F 1, F 2 are homeomorphic if and only if they have same genus and orientability class, and (E(F 1 ), E (F 1 ), E (F 1 )) is homeomorphic to (E(F 2 ), E (F 2 ), E (F 2 )). 3

4 X 0 2 X X 0 X 0 1 X Figure 2: The surface associated to X Recall that a surface F is planar if every embedded circle in F separates. A planar surface F has genus 0, is orientable, and E (F) = E (F) =. Thus planar surfaces are classified by their space of ends. A topological 2-automaton is called planar if all of its building blocks are planar. This is equivalent to requiring that the associated surface should be planar. The paper is structured as follows: in Sections 2 and 3, we deal with the planar case, i.e. we give an algorithm to decide whether the surfaces associated to two planar topological 2-automata are homeomorphic. In Section 2, we show how to associate to a planar topological 2-automaton X a combinatorial object T(X), called an admissible tree, such that the structure of the space of ends of M(X) can be read off T(X). In Section 3, we introduce the notion of a reduced tree, which is a kind of normal form for T(X), and prove Theorem 1.1 in the planar case. In Section 4, we explain how to generalize this construction in order to prove Theorem 1.1 in full generality. Finally, in Appendix A, we indicate a construction of uncountably many open surfaces which are pairwise nonhomeomorphic. Acknowledgements The author would like to thank Gilbert Levitt, Eric Swenson, and Panos Papazoglu for useful conversations. 4

5 2 From automata to admissible trees Let X be a planar topological 2-automaton. We start by forming the directed graph G whose vertices are the building blocks and whose edges are the arrows. An arrow is called a loop if its domain and range lie in the same building block. In order to describe the space of ends of the surface M(X), take a finite alphabet A with as many letters as arrows in X, and assign a letter to each arrow. We give the set A N of infinite words in A the product topology. The space of ends of the surface M(X) is homeomorphic to the subset E A N consisting of words which can be read by starting from X 0 and following the arrows. To each finite word w = a 1 a n E we can associate the number k such that w leads to X k, and the subset E w of E of words whose prefix is w and whose other letters correspond to loops around X k. There are three cases: if there is no such loop, then of course E w is empty; if there is one, then E w is a singleton; otherwise, E w is a Cantor set, no matter how many loops around X k there are. This follows from the well-known fact that the Cantor set is the only totally discontinuous compactum without isolated points. Hence we see that the number of loops around some building block is irrelevant as soon as it is greater than or equal to 2. We are going to use this observation in order to associate to a planar topological 2-automaton X a simpler combinatorial structure from which the space of ends of M(X) can be reconstructed. To this end, we introduce three formal symbols, O, Θ. To a planar topological automaton X we associate a decorated graph (G, f), where G is a finite directed graph endowed with a base vertex, called the root, and f is a map from the set of all vertices of G to the set {, O, Θ}, in such a way that the root has image. Vertices of G correspond to the building blocks X k, the root being X 0. Edges of G correspond to arrows f i which are not loops. The image of a vertex by f is (resp. O, resp. Θ) if there is no loop (resp. one loop, resp. two or more loops) around the corresponding building block. We say that a vertex is of type, O, or Θ according to its image by f. A vertex different from the root is called an ordinary vertex. From the decorated graph (G, f) we can reconstruct the space of ends E of M(X) as follows. Set p := n O + 2n Θ, where n O (resp. n Θ ) is the number of vertices of G of type O (resp. of type Θ). Then we consider the alphabet A = {a 1,...,a p } and assign to each vertex v of T either a letter (if v is of type O), an unordered pair of letters (if v is of type Θ), or nothing. Let L(G) be the set of infinite words w on A that can be obtained according to the following recipe: let c = v 1 v l be a finite injective path in G starting from 5

6 the root. For each k {2,..., l 1}, choose a finite (possibly empty) word in the letter(s) assigned to v k ; then choose an infinite word in the letter(s) assigned to v l ; then w is obtained by concatenating all those words. Finally, L(G) is topologised as a subset of A N endowed with the product topology. We denote by V the set of vertices of G. We shall change the graph structure of G without changing the space of ends. First we need a definition. Definition. An admissible tree is a decorated graph, which is a tree, such that the only vertex of type is the root. The next task is to turn the graph G into a tree. If G is disconnected, then we simply delete the connected components of G which do not contain the root. Clearly, this does not change the space E. If G is not a tree, then there exist three distinct elements x 1, x 2, y V such that there is an edge e 1 from x 1 to y and an edge e 2 from x 2 to y. Take y minimal with this property, i.e. farthest from the root as possible. Thus a similar situation does not happen in the subgraph Y consisting of the vertices accessible from y and the edges between them. Let x 3,...,x p be the other elements of W such that there is an edge e i going from x i to y for each i (if any.) By minimality, the graph Y is a tree. We construct a new decorated, rooted, oriented graph by introducing for each 2 i p a copy (Y i, y i ) of (Y, y), deleting e i and replacing it by an edge e i connecting x i to y i. An example of this operation is represented in Figure 3. By repeating this construction finitely many times, we obtain a decorated, rooted, oriented graph G which is a tree. It may not be admissible, because there might be vertices of type other than the root. If x is any such vertex, let e be the edge leading to x (by the previous construction, there must be exactly one), let x be the initial vertex of e, and let e 1,...,e p be the edges with initial vertex x (if any.) Modify G by deleting the vertex x and the edge e, and replacing each e i by an edge e i with initial vertex x and same terminal vertex as e i. See Figure 4 for an example of this operation. Repeating this procedure finitely many times, we obtain an admissible tree, which we call T(X). The associated space L(T(X)) is homeomorphic to L(G), hence to the space of ends of M(X). Given a planar 2-automaton X, the admissible tree T(X) can be effectively constructed from X. Furthermore, it follows from the construction that if X 1, X 2 are two planar 2-automata, then M(X 1 ) is homeomorphic to M(X 2 ) if and only if L(T(X 1 )) is homeomorphic to L(T(X 2 )). Since the construction of T(X) from X is effective, this reduces the planar case of Theorem 1.1 to the classification of admissible trees up to the 6

7 * * Figure 3: Making the graph G into a tree equivalence relation of homeomorphism of the associated topological space. This classification is achieved in the next section. 3 The planar case Let T 1, T 2 be two admissible trees. We say that they are equivalent if L(T 1 ) and L(T 2 ) are homeomorphic. We say that they are isomorphic if there is a type-preserving bijection between the set of vertices of T 1 and that of T 2 which respects the graph structure. The goal of this section is to give an algorithm that determines whether two admissible trees are equivalent. We introduce three moves that can be used to simplify an admissible tree without changing its equivalence class. 7

8 * * * Figure 4: Making the tree admissible Let T be an admissible tree. If v is a vertex of T, we denote by T(v) the subtree consisting of v and its descendants. Move 1 Let v be a vertex of T of type Θ. Let v be the father of v. Assume that v is not the root, and that v is the only son of v. Remove the edge between v and v and replace v by v. Move 2 Let v 1 be a vertex of T. Let v 2, v 3 be two descendants of v 1 such that v 2 is a son of v 1, and v 3 is not. Assume that the subtrees T(v 2 ) and T(v 3 ) are isomorphic. Remove T(v 2 ). 8

9 * * Figure 5: Move 1 Move 3 Let v 1 be a vertex of T. Let v 2, v 3 be two distinct sons of v 1. Assume that v 1 is not the root, or that both v 2 and v 3 are of type Θ. Further assume that the subtrees T(v 2 ) and T(v 3 ) are isomorphic. Remove T(v 3 ). The three moves are represented in Figures 5, 6, and 7 respectively. Definition. An admissible tree is reduced if none of Moves 1 3 can be performed. For ease of reference we say that an admissible tree has property (R i ) if Move i is not possible. We leave to the reader the tedious but elementary task of checking that Moves 1 3 do not change the associated space L(T) up to equivalence. We then have the following proposition: Proposition 3.1. There is an algorithm which to any admissible tree T associates a reduced admissible tree equivalent to T. 9

10 * Figure 6: Move 2 Proof. Starting with T, apply Move 1 as much as possible, then Move 2 as much as possible, then Move 3 as much as possible, then Move 1 again etc. Each time a move is applied, the number of vertices of the tree goes down, hence the process eventually stops. The main result of this section is Theorem 3.2. Two reduced admissible trees T 1, T 2 are equivalent if and only if they are isomorphic. The if part is clear, so we only have to prove the only if part. First we make some definitions. Let L be a topological space. We define inductively a sequence of subsets L 1, L 0, L 1,... of L, each L k being endowed with an equivalence relation, in the following way: first set L 1 :=. Assume that for some p all L k have been defined for k < p, together with their equivalence relations. Then L p is defined as the set of elements x L such that x k<p L k, and there exists a closed subset K of L containing x, homeomorphic to a point or a Cantor set, such that the following two properties are satisfied: i. For every y K, if (y n ) is a sequence converging to y, then y n eventually belongs to K k<p L k. 10

11 * * Figure 7: Move 3 ii. For every y, z K, for each sequence (y n ) of points of k<p L k belonging to a single equivalence class, if y n tends to y, then there is a sequence (z n ) tending to z, such that for each n, z n belongs to that same equivalence class. The equivalence relation on L p is defined by saying that two points x, x L p are equivalent if the following properties are satisfied: i. x is isolated in L p if and only if x is; ii. for each sequence (x n ) of points of k<p L k belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is topologically equivalent to x n; iii. for every sequence (x n ) of points of k<p L k belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n ) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is topologically equivalent to x n. 11

12 This process may go on forever, or stop when L p = for some p. In general, there might be points of L which do not belong to any L p. If x L p we say that x has depth p. Otherwise x has infinite depth. Also observe that points of depth 0 are either isolated, or belong to some clopen Cantor subset of L. In the latter case, they are condensation points of L, i.e. they do not have any countable neighbourhood. Next we extend the definition of topological equivalence to points which belong to possibly different topological spaces. Definition. Let (L, x) and (L, x) be pointed topological spaces. We say that x is topologically equivalent to x if they have same (finite) depth p, and same topological type, the latter notion being defined inductively on p in the following way: if p = 0, then we say that x have same topological type if they are both isolated or both condensation points; if p 1, assuming the equivalence relation has been defined for points of depth < p, we say that x and x have same topological type if the following conditions are satisfied: i. x is isolated among points of depth p if and only if x is; ii. for every sequence (x n ) of points of depth < p, belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n ) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is topologically equivalent to x n; iii. for every sequence (x n ) of points of depth < p, belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n ) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is topologically equivalent to x n. Next we apply this to L = L(T) for some admissible tree T and make a few elementary remarks. Let T be an admissible tree. If v is a vertex of T, we denote by L v the set of words in L(T) which have infinitely many letters corresponding to v. For every ordinary vertex v, any two elements of L v have the same depth and are equivalent. Thus it makes sense to talk about the depth of a vertex, and we have an equivalence relation on vertices. If x L v for some leaf v of T, then x is isolated or belongs to some Cantor clopen subset of L. Thus v has depth 0. If v is an ordinary vertex of T which is not a leaf, and all descendants of v have finite depth, then v has finite depth, equal to M or M +1, where M is the maximum of the depths of the descendants of v. The former possibility is possible only if v is equivalent to one of its sons. This implies that every ordinary vertex has finite depth, and depth is nonincreasing along paths in the tree starting from the root and going to the leafs. It turns out that for reduced trees, it is strictly decreasing. This will be a key point in the proof. 12

13 Proposition 3.3. For every integer p 0, the following assertions hold: i. Let T be a reduced tree and v be an ordinary vertex of T. If v has depth p, then every descendant of v has depth strictly less than p. ii. Let T 1, T 2 be reduced trees. For i = 1, 2 let v i be an ordinary vertex of T i. If v 1 is topologically equivalent to v 2 and has depth p, then T 1 (v 1 ) is isomorphic to T 2 (v 2 ). Proof. The proof is by induction on p. First we deal with the case p = 0. If Assertion (i) does not hold, let (T, v) be a counterexample with v minimal, i.e. as close to the leaves as possible. Then v is not a leaf, and has only leaves as descendants. If some son of v has type O, then every element of L v is an accumulation point of distinct isolated points, contradicting the assumption that v has depth 0. Hence every son of v is of type Θ. By (R 1 ), v has at least two sons, and by (R 3 ) it has at most one. This is a contradiction. This proves in particular that the ordinary vertices of depth 0 of a reduced tree are exactly the leaves. From this, Assertion (ii) in the case p = 0 is immediate. Let p 1. Assume that the Proposition holds for all k < p. We prove Assertion (i) by contradiction, taking again a minimal counterexample (T, v), with v of depth p. By monotonicity, there must be a son v of v which also has depth p. As remarked earlier, v must be equivalent to v. More precisely, letting x be a point of L v and (y n ) be a sequence of points of L v converging to x, there must exist a Cantor set K L containing x and almost all the y n, such that all points of K are equivalent. Claim. The vertex v has type Θ. We prove the claim by contradiction. If v has type O, then the only way to construct a Cantor set containing infinitely many points of L v is to use a descendant of v of type Θ. By minimality of v, every descendant of v has depth < p, so a Cantor set K with the above properties cannot exist. This proves the claim. We proceed with the proof of Assertion (i). By Property (R 1 ), v has at least one sibling v. Suppose that v has depth < p. Since v can be used to produce an injective sequence of points converging to x, and v is equivalent to v, there must exist a descendant v of v equivalent to v. By Assertion (ii) of the induction hypothesis, T(v ) is isomorphic to T(v ). This contradicts (R 2 ). Hence v has depth p. Claim. The trees T(v ) and T(v ) are isomorphic. 13

14 Once the claim is proved, there is an immediate contradiction with (R 3 ). Let us prove the claim. First note that v and v are both equivalent to v. Hence v is equivalent to v. In particular v also has type Θ. We shall show that for each son w of v there is a son w of v such that T(w ) is isomorphic to T(w ). Then by symmetry, the same will be true for v and v exchanged, and using the fact (implied by (R 3 )) that in a reduced tree the isomorphism type of a T(v ) is determined by the type of v and the isomorphism type of the trees generated by its sons, the claim will follow. Let w be a son of v. By minimality of v, w has depth < p. Since v is equivalent to v, there is a descendant w of v which is equivalent to w. By Assertion (ii) of the induction hypothesis, T(w ) and T(w ) are isomorphic. There remains to show that w is a son of v. If not, we construct sequences w i, w i of vertices of T in the following way: set w 0 := w and w 0 := w. Let w 1 be the son of v who is an ancestor of w. Arguing as above, we get a descendant w 1 of v such that T(w 1) is isomorphic to T(w 1 ). After finitely many steps, this construction stops, with some w k being a son of v, or some w k being a son of v. At the last stage we obtain a contradiction with (R 2 ). This completes the proof of the claim, hence that of Assertion (i). The proof of hereditarity of Assertion (ii) is based on similar arguments: let (T 1, v 1 ) and (T 2, v 2 ) satisfy the hypothesis. By Assertion (i), we know that all descendants of v 1 and v 2 have depth < p. Reasoning as above, we show that v 1 has type O if and only if v 2 has, and for every son v 1 of v 1 there is a son v 2 of v 2 such that T 1 (v 1 ) is isomorphic to T 2(v 2 ). By rule (R 3) this is enough to guarantee that T 1 (v 1 ) is isomorphic to T 2 (v 2 ). Proof of Theorem 3.2. Let T 1, T 2 be reduced admissible trees whose associated topological spaces are equivalent. An argument similar to that used in the proof of Part (ii) of Proposition 3.3 shows the following Lemma: Lemma 3.4. The isomorphism types of the trees generated by the sons of the roots of T 1, T 2 are the same. By rule (R 3 ), each type of subtree with ancestor of type Θ can occur at most once. This need not be true for types of subtrees with ancestor of type O. However, each son of the root of type O contributes a single point, so the number of such points is invariant under homeomorphism. This concludes the proof of Theorem

15 4 The general case In this section, we indicate how to adapt the proof from the planar case to the general case. First, instead of the simple set {, O, Θ}, we introduce the infinite set S := { i, c i,, c, O, Oh, O c, Θ, Θ h, Θ c }, where i takes all nonnegative integer values in i, and all positive integer values in c i. If some vertex of a decorated graph has type i, c i, or c, then we say that this vertex has starred type. We form the decorated graph (G, f) from the directed graph underlying the automaton by assigning to each building block X k a symbol in S, in the following way: if there is no loop around X k, then we put i if X k is orientable of genus i, and c i if X k is nonorientable with i cross-caps; if there is one loop around X k, then we put O if X k is planar, O h if it is orientable, but not planar, and O c if it is nonorientable; if there are two or more loops, we put Θ if X k is planar, Θ h if it is orientable but not planar, and Θ c if it is nonorientable. Then we modify the decoration to take into account the fact that the subsets of nonplanar ends and nonorientable ends are closed in the set of ends: if some vertex of type i has a descendant of type O h or Θ h, but no descendant of type O c or Θ c, then we change its label to. If some vertex of type i or c i has a descendant of type O c or Θ c, then we change its label to x c. If some vertex of type O (resp. Θ) has a descendant of type Oh, Θ h, i or, but no descendant of type c i, O c, or Θ c, then we change its type to O h (resp. Θ h ). Lastly, if some vertex of type O or O h (resp. Θ or Θ h ) has a descendant of type O c, Θ c, c i, or c, then we change its type to Oc (resp. Θ c ). Next we modify the decorated graph in order to make it a tree, by duplicating some of its parts. This is done exactly as in the planar case. The next task is to make the tree admissible, which in this context means that only the root has starred type. This involves collapsing some edges of the tree G and merging some vertices. More precisely, we apply recursively the procedure of merging the starred vertices with their fathers. This is done according to two rules: first, when a vertex of starred type is merged with a vertex of type T that is not starred, then the resulting vertex has type T. Otherwise let T 1 be the type of the father, T 2 be the type of the son, and T 3 be the type of the resulting vertex. If T 1 = i and T 2 = j, then T 3 = i+j ; if T 1 = c i, and (T 2 = j or T 2 = c j ), then T 3 = c i+j ; if T 1 =, then T 3 = ; if T 1 = c, then T 3 = c. We recover the topological invariants of M(X) from the admissible tree T(X) in much the same way as in the planar case. First we read the genus (finite or infinite) and orientability class of M(X) on the image of the root. Next, if T is an admissible tree, we make the following definitions. The space 15

16 of ends L(T) is defined as in the planar case by treating every vertex of type O h or O c as if it were O, and every vertex of type Θ h or Θ c as if it were Θ. The subspace of nonplanar ends L (T) is defined similarly, using only the subtree consisting of the root and the vertices of type O h, Θ h, O c and Θ c. The subspace of nonorientable ends L (T) is again defined similarly using only the root and the vertices of type O c and Θ c. We say that two admissible trees T 1, T 2 are equivalent if they have same genus and orientability class, and the triple (L(T 1 ), L (T 1 ), L (T 1 )) is homeomorphic to (L(T 2 ), L (T 2 ), L (T 2 )). Next we define reduced trees. This is done using three moves which extend the moves used in the planar case. Moves 2 and 3 are exactly the same as in the planar case. Only Move 1 needs the following adjustment: Move 1 Let v be a vertex of T of type Θ (resp. Θ h, resp. Θ c ). Let v be the father of v. Assume that v is not the root, and that v is the only son of v. Further assume that v has type O or Θ (resp. O h or Θ h, resp. O c or Θ c.) Remove the edge between v and v and replace v by v. Let T be an admissible tree. If none of Moves 1, 2, 3 can be performed, we say that T is reduced. Then we have the following extension of Proposition 3.1, which is proved in the same way: Proposition 4.1. There is an algorithm which to any admissible tree T associates a reduced admissible tree equivalent to T. Theorem 3.2 extends to the following result: Theorem 4.2. Two reduced admissible trees T 1, T 2 are equivalent if and only if they are isomorphic. The proof of Theorem 4.2 is similar to that of Theorem 3.2. From the construction, it is clear that two isomorphic trees are equivalent. For the converse, we first need to adapt the notion of depth and equivalence from topological spaces to triples of topological spaces. Let (L, L, L ) be a triple of topological spaces, where L L L and L, L are closed. We define inductively a sequence of subsets L 1, L 0, L 1,... of L, each L k being endowed with an equivalence relation, in the following way: first set L 1 :=. Assume that for some p all L k have been defined for k < p, together with their equivalence relations. Then L p is defined as the set of elements x L such that x k<p L k, and there exists a closed subset K of L containing x, homeomorphic to a point or a Cantor set, such that the following properties are satisfied: i. Either all points of K belong to L or none of them do; 16

17 ii. Either all points of K belong to L or none of them do; iii. For every y K, if (y n ) is a sequence converging to y, then y n eventually belongs to K k<p L k. iv. For every y, z K, for each sequence (y n ) of points of k<p L k belonging to a single equivalence class, if y n tends to y, then there is a sequence (z n ) tending to z, such that for each n, z n belongs to that same equivalence class. The equivalence relation on L p is defined by saying that two points x, x L p are equivalent if i. x is isolated in L p if and only if x is; ii. x belongs to L if and only if x does; iii. x belongs to L if and only if x does; iv. for each sequence (x n ) of points of k<p L k belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is equivalent to x n, and v. for every sequence (x n) of points of k<p L k belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n ) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is equivalent to x n. The definition of depth is the same as in the case of spaces, i.e. a point of L has depth p if it belongs to L p. Next we extend the definition of topological equivalence to points which belong to possibly different topological spaces. Definition. Let (L 1, L 1, L 1) and (L 2, L 2, L 2) be triples of topological spaces as above. Let x be a point of L 1 and y be a point of L 2. We say that x is topologically equivalent to y if they have same (finite) depth p, and same topological type, the latter notion being defined inductively on p in the following way: if p = 0, then we say that x, y have same topological type if they are both isolated or both condensation points, x belongs to L 1 if and only if y belongs to L 2, and x belongs to L 1 if and only if y belongs to L 2. If p 1, assuming the equivalence relation has been defined for points of depth < p, we say that x and y have same topological type if the following conditions are satisfied: i. x is isolated among points of depth p if and only if y is; 17

18 ii. x belongs to L 1 if and only if y belongs to L 2; iii. x belongs to L 1 if and only if y belongs to L 2; iv. for every sequence (x n ) of points of depth < p, belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is topologically equivalent to x n; v. for every sequence (x n) of points of depth < p, belonging to a single equivalence class, converging to x, there is a sequence (x n ) converging to x, such that for every n, x n is topologically equivalent to x n. The same elementary remarks as in the planar case hold. In particular, it makes sense to talk about the topological type of a vertex of an admissible tree. As in the planar case, the key proposition is the following: Proposition 4.3. For every integer p 0, the following assertions hold: i. Let T be a reduced tree and v be an ordinary vertex of T. If v has depth p, then every descendant of v has depth strictly less than p. ii. Let T 1, T 2 be reduced trees. For i = 1, 2 let v i be an ordinary vertex of T i. If v 1 is topologically equivalent to v 2 and has depth p, then T 1 (v 1 ) is isomorphic to T 2 (v 2 ). We omit the proof of this proposition, which is almost identical to that of Proposition 3.3. Then the proof of Theorem 4.2 is very close to the proof of Theorem Concluding remarks Our definition of a topological automaton is rather restrictive. It is possible to broaden it, for instance by removing the restriction that k l in the last condition. This creates technical problems, but does not seem to enlarge the class of manifolds significantly. At one extreme, one may think of associating a manifold to a Turing machine. One simple-minded way to do this, say in dimension 2, is to start with a disk; each time the Turing machine does something, add an annulus; if the machine stops, glue in a disk. Then the resulting surface is compact if and only if the Turing machine stops. Since the halting problem for Turing machines is undecidable, the homeomorphism problem for surfaces arising from this construction is undecidable, for a reason which has nothing to do with the topological complexity of the objects involved. 18

19 A Uncountably many surfaces Proposition A.1. There exist uncountably many planar surfaces up to homeomorphism. Proof. We use a construction which was shown to us by Gilbert Levitt. To any sequence A = (a n ) n N in {0, 1} N we associate a compact totally discontinuous topological space A A in the following way: we start with a Cantor set C and an arbitrary sequence x n of pairwise distinct points of C. We define inductively spaces X n by letting X 0 be a single point x 0 and X n+1 be the space consisting of a point x n+1 and a sequence of copies of X n converging to it. Then we set A A := C xn= x n X n, n N,a n=1 i.e. for each integer n such that a n = 1, we attach X n to C along the points x n, x n. We claim that A A and A A are homeomorphic only if A = A. To see this, observe that the set of condensation points of A A (i.e. the set of points all of whose neighbourhoods are uncountable) is exactly C. Thus if there is a homeomorphism f : A A A A, then f must map C to C. The other points have finite Cantor-Bendixson rank, and the rank is preserved by f, i.e. f sends isolated points to isolated points, limits of sequences of isolated points to similar points etc. Thus if a n = 1 for some integer n, then a n = 1 and f sends x n A A to x n A A. Conversely, if a n = 1 for some n, then a n = 1. Thus A = A. References [1] L. Bessières, G. Besson, S. Maillot, M. Boileau, and J. Porti. Geometrisation of 3-manifolds, volume 13 of EMS Tracts in Mathematics. European Mathematical Society (EMS), Zürich, [2] W. W. Boone, W. Haken, and V. Poenaru. On recursively unsolvable problems in topology and their classification. In Contributions to Math. Logic (Colloquium, Hannover, 1966), pages North-Holland, Amsterdam, [3] G. Perelman. The entropy formula for the Ricci flow and its geometric applications. ArXiv : math.dg/ , Nov [4] G. Perelman. Finite extinction time for the solutions to the Ricci flow on certain three-manifolds. ArXiv : math.dg/ , Jul

20 [5] G. Perelman. Ricci flow with surgery on three-manifolds. ArXiv : math.dg/ , Mar [6] I. Richards. On the classification of noncompact surfaces. Trans. Amer. Math. Soc., 106: , Institut de Mathématiques et de Modélisation de Montpellier, CNRS - Universit Montpellier 2, Case Courrier 051, Place Eugène Bataillon, MONTPELLIER Cedex, France 20

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