An n-dimensional hypercube is more commonly referred to as an n-cube or sometimes as an n-dimensional cube. The term measure polytope (originally from Elte, 1912) is also used, notably in the work of H. S. M. Coxeter who also labels the hypercubes the γn polytopes.
The hypercube is the special case of a hyperrectangle (also called an n-orthotope).
A unit hypercube is a hypercube whose side has length one unit. Often, the hypercube whose corners (or vertices) are the 2n points in Rn with each coordinate equal to 0 or 1 is called the unit hypercube.
A hypercube can be defined by increasing the numbers of dimensions of a shape:
This can be generalized to any number of dimensions. This process of sweeping out volumes can be formalized mathematically as a Minkowski sum: the d-dimensional hypercube is the Minkowski sum of d mutually perpendicular unit-length line segments, and is therefore an example of a zonotope.
The number of m-dimensional hypercubes (just referred to as m-cube from here on) on the boundary of an n-cube is
For example, the boundary of a 4-cube (n=4) contains 8 cubes (3-cubes), 24 squares (2-cubes), 32 lines (1-cubes) and 16 vertices (0-cubes).
An n-cube can be projected inside a regular 2n-gonal polygon by a skew orthogonal projection, shown here from the line segment to the 15-cube.
The hypercubes are one of the few families of regular polytopes that are represented in any number of dimensions.
The hypercube (offset) family is one of three regular polytope families, labeled by Coxeter as γn. The other two are the hypercube dual family, the cross-polytopes, labeled as βn, and the simplices, labeled as αn. A fourth family, the infinite tessellations of hypercubes, he labeled as δn.
Another related family of semiregular and uniform polytopes is the demihypercubes, which are constructed from hypercubes with alternate vertices deleted and simplex facets added in the gaps, labeled as hγn.
n-cubes can be combined with their duals (the cross-polytopes) to form compound polytopes:
The graph of the n-hypercube's edges is isomorphic to the Hasse diagram of the (n−1)-simplex's face lattice. This can be seen by orienting the n-hypercube so that two opposite vertices lie vertically, corresponding to the (n-1)-simplex itself and the null polytope, respectively. Each vertex connected to the top vertex then uniquely maps to one of the (n-1)-simplex's facets (n-2 faces), and each vertex connected to those vertices maps to one of the simplex's n-3 faces, and so forth, and the vertices connected to the bottom vertex map to the simplex's vertices.
This relation may be used to generate the face lattice of an (n-1)-simplex efficiently, since face lattice enumeration algorithms applicable to general polytopes are more computationally expensive.
The regular polygon perimeter seen in these orthogonal projections is called a petrie polygon. The generalized squares (n=2) are shown with edges outlined as red and blue alternating color p-edges, while the higher n-cubes are drawn with black outlined p-edges.