# Supporting hyperplane

In geometry, a supporting hyperplane of a set ${\displaystyle S}$ in Euclidean space ${\displaystyle \mathbb {R} ^{n}}$ is a hyperplane that has both of the following two properties:[1]

• ${\displaystyle S}$ is entirely contained in one of the two closed half-spaces bounded by the hyperplane,
• ${\displaystyle S}$ has at least one boundary-point on the hyperplane.

Here, a closed half-space is the half-space that includes the points within the hyperplane.

## Supporting hyperplane theorem

This theorem states that if ${\displaystyle S}$ is a convex set in the topological vector space ${\displaystyle X=\mathbb {R} ^{n},}$ and ${\displaystyle x_{0}}$ is a point on the boundary of ${\displaystyle S,}$ then there exists a supporting hyperplane containing ${\displaystyle x_{0}.}$ If ${\displaystyle x^{*}\in X^{*}\backslash \{0\}}$ (${\displaystyle X^{*}}$ is the dual space of ${\displaystyle X}$, ${\displaystyle x^{*}}$ is a nonzero linear functional) such that ${\displaystyle x^{*}\left(x_{0}\right)\geq x^{*}(x)}$ for all ${\displaystyle x\in S}$, then

${\displaystyle H=\{x\in X:x^{*}(x)=x^{*}\left(x_{0}\right)\}}$

defines a supporting hyperplane.[2]

Conversely, if ${\displaystyle S}$ is a closed set with nonempty interior such that every point on the boundary has a supporting hyperplane, then ${\displaystyle S}$ is a convex set.[2]

The hyperplane in the theorem may not be unique, as noticed in the second picture on the right. If the closed set ${\displaystyle S}$ is not convex, the statement of the theorem is not true at all points on the boundary of ${\displaystyle S,}$ as illustrated in the third picture on the right.

The supporting hyperplanes of convex sets are also called tac-planes or tac-hyperplanes.[3]

A related result is the separating hyperplane theorem, that every two disjoint convex sets can be separated by a hyperplane.

## Notes

1. Luenberger, David G. (1969). Optimization by Vector Space Methods. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-471-18117-0.
2. Boyd, Stephen P.; Vandenberghe, Lieven (2004). Convex Optimization (pdf). Cambridge University Press. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-521-83378-3. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
3. Cassels, John W. S. (1997), An Introduction to the Geometry of Numbers, Springer Classics in Mathematics (reprint of 1959[3] and 1971 Springer-Verlag ed.), Springer-Verlag.

• Giaquinta, Mariano; Hildebrandt, Stefan (1996). Calculus of variations. Berlin; New York: Springer. p. 57. ISBN 3-540-50625-X.
• Goh, C. J.; Yang, X.Q. (2002). Duality in optimization and variational inequalities. London; New York: Taylor & Francis. p. 13. ISBN 0-415-27479-6.