§ 1. Introduction. In this communication we present some recent results on the classification of Polish metric spaces up to isometry and on the isometry groups of Polish metric spaces. A Polish metric space is a complete separable metric space (X, d).
Our first goal is to determine the exact complexity of the classification problem of general Polish metric spaces up to isometry. This work was motivated by a paper of Vershik , where he remarks (in the beginning of Section 2): “The classification of Polish spaces up to isometry is an enormous task. More precisely, this classification is not ‘smooth’ in the modern terminology.” Our Theorem 2.1 below quantifies precisely the enormity of this task.
After doing this, we turn to special classes of Polish metric spaces and investigate the classification problems associated with them. Note that these classification problems are in principle no more complicated than the general one above. However, the determination of their exact complexity is not necessarily easier.
The investigation of the classification problems naturally leads to some interesting results on the groups of isometries of Polish metric spaces. We shall also present these results below.
The rest of this section is devoted to an introduction of some basic ideas of a theory of complexity for classification problems, which will help to put our results in perspective. Detailed expositions of this general theory can be found, e.g., in Hjorth , Kechris , .