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.
This concept is often contrasted with uniform convergence. To say that
The pointwise limit of a sequence of continuous functions may be a discontinuous function, but only if the convergence is not uniform. For example,
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.
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.
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.
Almost everywhere pointwise convergence on the space of functions on a measure space does not define the structure of a topology on the space of measurable functions on a measure space (although it is a convergence structure). For in a topological space, when every subsequence of a sequence has itself a subsequence with the same subsequential limit, the sequence itself must converge to that limit.