An algebraic surface is an algebraic variety of dimension two. In the case of geometry over the field of complex numbers, an algebraic surface has complex dimension two (as a complex manifold, when it is non-singular) and so of dimension four as a smooth manifold.

In the case of dimension one varieties are classified by only the topological genus, but dimension two, the difference between the arithmetic genus p_a and the geometric genus p_g turns to be important because we cannot distinguish birationally only the topological genus. Then we introduce the irregularity for the classification of them.