In geometry, a cross-polytope, hyperoctahedron, orthoplex, or cocube is a regular, convex polytope that exists in n-dimensions. A 2-dimensional cross-polytope is a square, a 3-dimensional cross-polytope is a regular octahedron, and a 4-dimensional cross-polytope is a 16-cell. Its facets are simplexes of the previous dimension, while the cross-polytope's vertex figure is another cross-polytope from the previous dimension.
The vertices of a cross-polytope can be chosen as the unit vectors pointing along each co-ordinate axis – i.e. all the permutations of (±1, 0, 0, …, 0). The cross-polytope is the convex hull of its vertices. The n-dimensional cross-polytope can also be defined as the closed unit ball (or, according to some authors, its boundary) in the ℓ1-norm on Rn:
The 4-dimensional cross-polytope also goes by the name hexadecachoron or 16-cell. It is one of the six convex regular 4-polytopes. These 4-polytopes were first described by the Swiss mathematician Ludwig Schläfli in the mid-19th century.
The cross polytope family is one of three regular polytope families, labeled by Coxeter as βn, the other two being the hypercube family, labeled as γn, and the simplices, labeled as αn. A fourth family, the infinite tessellations of hypercubes, he labeled as δn.
For each pair of non-opposite vertices, there is an edge joining them. More generally, each set of k+1 orthogonal vertices corresponds to a distinct k-dimensional component which contains them. The number of k-dimensional components (vertices, edges, faces, ..., facets) in an n-dimensional cross-polytope is thus given by (see binomial coefficient):
There are many possible orthographic projections that can show the cross-polytopes as 2-dimensional graphs. Petrie polygon projections map the points into a regular 2n-gon or lower order regular polygons. A second projection takes the 2(n−1)-gon petrie polygon of the lower dimension, seen as a bipyramid, projected down the axis, with 2 vertices mapped into the center.
The vertices of an axis-aligned cross polytope are all at equal distance from each other in the Manhattan distance (L1 norm). Kusner's conjecture states that this set of 2d points is the largest possible equidistant set for this distance.
Cross-polytopes can be combined with their dual cubes to form compound polytopes: