# MacNeille completion

In a first course on real analysis, one is generally introduced to the concept of a Dedekind cut  . It is a way of constructing the set of real numbers from the rationals. This is a process commonly known as the completion  of the rationals. Three key features of this completion are:

• the rationals can be embedded in its completion (the reals)

If we extend the reals by adjoining $+\infty$ and $-\infty$ and define the appropriate ordering relations on this new extended set (the extended real numbers), then it is a set where every subset has a least upper bound and a greatest lower bound.

When we deal with the rationals and the reals (and extended reals), we are working with linearly ordered sets. So the next question is: can the procedure of a completion be generalized to an arbitrary poset? In other words, if $P$ is a poset ordered by $\leq$, does there exist another poset $Q$ ordered by $\leq_{Q}$ such that

1. 1.

$P$ can be embedded in $Q$ as a poset (so that $\leq$ is compatible with $\leq_{Q}$), and

2. 2.

every subset of $Q$ has both a least upper bound and a greatest lower bound

In 1937, MacNeille answered this question in the affirmative by the following construction:

Given a poset $P$ with order $\leq$, define for every subset $A$ of $P$, two subsets of $P$ as follows:

 $A^{u}=\{p\in P\mid a\leq p\mbox{ for all }a\in A\}\mbox{ and }A^{\ell}=\{q\in P% \mid q\leq a\mbox{ for all }a\in A\}.$

Then $M(P):=\{A\in 2^{P}\mid(A^{u})^{\ell}=A\}$ ordered by the usual set inclusion is a poset satisfying conditions (1) and (2) above.

This is known as the MacNeille completion $M(P)$ of a poset $P$. In $M(P)$, since lub and glb exist for any subset, $M(P)$ is a complete lattice  . So this process can be readily applied to any lattice  , if we define a completion of a lattice to follow the two conditions above.

## References

• 1 H. M. MacNeille, . Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 42 (1937), pp 416-460
• 2 B. A. Davey, H. A. Priestley, Introduction to Lattices and Order, 2nd edition, Cambridge (2003)
Title MacNeille completion MacNeilleCompletion 2013-03-22 16:05:27 2013-03-22 16:05:27 CWoo (3771) CWoo (3771) 8 CWoo (3771) Definition msc 06B23 Dedekind-MacNeille completion normal completion DedekindCuts