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one of the most important mathematical concepts, encountered in two basic formulations—the continuity of a set and the continuity of a mapping. From a logical point of view, the concept of the continuity of a set precedes that of a function. Nevertheless, historically the concept of a continuous mapping, or continuous function, had undergone mathematical elaboration before the concept of continuity of a set.
The concept of a continuous real function is generalized to arbitrary mappings in the following way. A single-valued mapping y = f(x) of some set X of elements x into a set Y of elements y is said to be continuous if the convergence of a sequence x1, x2, . . . , xm, . . . of elements of X to an element ξ implies the convergence of the elements’ images f(x1), f(x2), . . ., f(xn... to the image f(x) of the limit element x. Thus, the definition of the continuity of a mapping is dependent on limit relations (in our case, the convergence of sequences) being defined on the sets X and Y. In modern mathematics, a set of elements with definite limit relations among them is called a topological space. Concepts characterizing continuity properties of different sets of mathematical objects are now usually set forth in terms of the theory of topological spaces.
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Cantor, G. “Osnovy obshchego ucheniia o mnogoobraziiakh.” (Translated from German.) In Teoriia assemblei, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1914. (Novye idei v matematike, collection 6.)
Hilbert, D. Osnovaniia geometrii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948. (Translated from German.)
Hausdorff, F. Teorüa mnozhestv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937. (Translated from German.)
Aleksandrov, P. S. Vvedenie v obshchuiu teoriiu mnozhestv i funktsii Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.