Relation (mathematics)

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In mathematics, a finitary relation is defined by one of the formal definitions given below.

  • The basic idea is to generalize the concept of a two-place relation, such as the relation of equality denoted by the sign “Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle =\!} ” in a statement like Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 5 + 7 = 12\!} or the relation of order denoted by the sign “Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle {<}\!} ” in a statement like Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 5 < 12.\!}   Relations that involve two places or roles are called binary relations by some and dyadic relations by others, the latter being historically prior but also useful when necessary to avoid confusion with binary (base 2) numerals.
  • The concept of a two-place relation is generalized by considering relations with increasing but still finite numbers of places or roles.  These are called finite-place or finitary relations.  A finitary relation involving Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} places is variously called a Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -ary, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -adic, or Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -dimensional relation.  The number Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} is then called the arity, the adicity, or the dimension of the relation, respectively.

Informal introduction[edit]

The definition of relation given in the next section formally captures a concept that is actually quite familiar from everyday life.  For example, consider the relationship, involving three roles that people might play, expressed in a statement of the form Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X ~\text{suspects that}~ Y ~\text{likes}~ Z.\!}   The facts of a concrete situation could be organized in the form of a Table like the one below:


Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Relation}~ S ~:~ X ~\text{suspects that}~ Y ~\text{likes}~ Z\!}
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Person}~ X\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Person}~ Y\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Person}~ Z\!}
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Alice}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Bob}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Denise}\!}
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Charles}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Alice}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Bob}\!}
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Charles}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Charles}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Alice}\!}
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Denise}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Denise}\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Denise}\!}


Each row of the Table records a fact or makes an assertion of the form Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X ~\text{suspects that}~ Y ~\text{likes}~ Z.\!}   For instance, the first row says, in effect, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \text{Alice suspects that Bob likes Denise.}\!}   The Table represents a relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle S\!} over the set Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle P\!} of people under discussion:

Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle P ~=~ \{ \text{Alice}, \text{Bob}, \text{Charles}, \text{Denise} \}\!}

The data of the Table are equivalent to the following set of ordered triples:

Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \begin{smallmatrix} S & = & \{ & \text{(Alice, Bob, Denise)}, & \text{(Charles, Alice, Bob)}, & \text{(Charles, Charles, Alice)}, & \text{(Denise, Denise, Denise)} & \} \end{smallmatrix}\!}

By a slight overuse of notation, it is usual to write Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle S (\text{Alice}, \text{Bob}, \text{Denise})\!} to say the same thing as the first row of the Table.  The relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle S\!} is a triadic or ternary relation, since there are three items involved in each row.  The relation itself is a mathematical object, defined in terms of concepts from set theory, that carries all the information from the Table in one neat package.

The Table for relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle S\!} is an extremely simple example of a relational database.  The theoretical aspects of databases are the specialty of one branch of computer science, while their practical impacts have become all too familiar in our everyday lives.  Computer scientists, logicians, and mathematicians, however, tend to see different things when they look at these concrete examples and samples of the more general concept of a relation.

For one thing, databases are designed to deal with empirical data, and experience is always finite, whereas mathematics is nothing if not concerned with infinity, at the very least, potential infinity. This difference in perspective brings up a number of ideas that are usefully introduced at this point, if by no means covered in depth.

Example 1. Divisibility[edit]

A more typical example of a two-place relation in mathematics is the relation of divisibility between two positive integers Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n\!} and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle m\!} that is expressed in statements like Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle {}^{\backprime\backprime} n ~\text{divides}~ m {}^{\prime\prime}\!} or Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle {}^{\backprime\backprime} n ~\text{goes into}~ m {}^{\prime\prime}.\!}   This is a relation that comes up so often that a special symbol Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle {}^{\backprime\backprime} | {}^{\prime\prime}\!} is reserved to express it, allowing one to write Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle {}^{\backprime\backprime} n|m {}^{\prime\prime}\!} for Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle {}^{\backprime\backprime} n ~\text{divides}~ m {}^{\prime\prime}.\!}

To express the binary relation of divisibility in terms of sets, we have the set Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle P\!} of positive integers, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle P = \{ 1, 2, 3, \ldots \},\!} and we have the binary relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle D\!} on Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle P\!} such that the ordered pair Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle (n, m)\!} is in the relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle D\!} just in case Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n|m.\!}   In other turns of phrase that are frequently used, one says that the number Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n\!} is related by Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle D\!} to the number Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle m\!} just in case Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n\!} is a factor of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle m,\!} that is, just in case Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n\!} divides Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle m\!} with no remainder.  The relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle D,\!} regarded as a set of ordered pairs, consists of all pairs of numbers Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle (n, m)\!} such that Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n\!} divides Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle m.\!}

For example, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 2\!} is a factor of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 4,\!} and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 6\!} is a factor of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 72,\!} which two facts can be written either as Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 2|4\!} and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 6|72\!} or as Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle D(2, 4)\!} and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle D(6, 72).\!}

Formal definitions[edit]

There are two definitions of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -place relations that are commonly encountered in mathematics.  In order of simplicity, the first of these definitions is as follows:

Definition 1.   A relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} over the sets Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X_1, \ldots, X_k\!} is a subset of their cartesian product, written Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L \subseteq X_1 \times \ldots \times X_k.\!}   Under this definition, then, a Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -ary relation is simply a set of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -tuples.

The second definition makes use of an idiom that is common in mathematics, saying that “such and such is an Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n\!} -tuple” to mean that the mathematical object being defined is determined by the specification of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle n\!} component mathematical objects.  In the case of a relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} over Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} sets, there are Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k + 1\!} things to specify, namely, the Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} sets plus a subset of their cartesian product.  In the idiom, this is expressed by saying that Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} is a Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle (k+1)\!} -tuple.

Definition 2.   A relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} over the sets Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X_1, \ldots, X_k\!} is a Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle (k+1)\!} -tuple Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L = (X_1, \ldots, X_k, \mathrm{graph}(L)),\!} where Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathrm{graph}(L)\!} is a subset of the cartesian product Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X_1 \times \ldots \times X_k~\!} called the graph of Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L.\!}

Elements of a relation are sometimes denoted by using boldface characters, for example, the constant element Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbf{a} = (a_1, \ldots, a_k)\!} or the variable element Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbf{x} = (x_1, \ldots, x_k).\!}

A statement of the form “Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbf{a}\!} is in the relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} ” is taken to mean that Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbf{a}\!} is in Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} under the first definition and that Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbf{a}\!} is in Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathrm{graph}(L)\!} under the second definition.

The following considerations apply under either definition:

  • The sets Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X_j~\!} for Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle j = 1 ~\text{to}~ k\!} are called the domains of the relation.  In the case of the first definition, the relation itself does not uniquely determine a given sequence of domains.
  • If all the domains Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X_j~\!} are the same set Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X,\!} then Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} is more simply referred to as a Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -ary relation over Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X.\!}
  • If any domain Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X_j~\!} is empty then the cartesian product is empty and the only relation over such a sequence of domains is the empty relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L = \varnothing.\!}   Most applications of the relation concept will set aside this trivial case and assume that all domains are nonempty.

If Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} is a relation over the domains Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle X_1, \ldots, X_k,\!} it is conventional to consider a sequence of terms called variables, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle x_1, \ldots, x_k,\!} that are said to range over the respective domains.

A boolean domain Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbb{B}\!} is a generic 2-element set, say, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbb{B} = \{ 0, 1 \},\!} whose elements are interpreted as logical values, typically Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 0 = \mathrm{false}\!} and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle 1 = \mathrm{true}.\!}

The characteristic function of the relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L,\!} written Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle f_L\!} or Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \chi(L),\!} is the boolean-valued function Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle f_L : X_1 \times \ldots \times X_k \to \mathbb{B},\!} defined in such a way that Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle f_L (\mathbf{x}) = 1\!} just in case the Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -tuple Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \mathbf{x} = (x_1, \ldots, x_k)\!} is in the relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L.\!}   The characteristic function of a relation may also be called its indicator function, especially in probabilistic and statistical contexts.

It is conventional in applied mathematics, computer science, and statistics to refer to a boolean-valued function like Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle f_L\!} as a Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -place predicate.  From the more abstract viewpoints of formal logic and model theory, the relation Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L\!} is seen as constituting a logical model or a relational structure that serves as one of many possible interpretations of a corresponding Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -place predicate symbol, as that term is used in predicate calculus.

Due to the convergence of many traditions of study, there are wide variations in the language used to describe relations.  The extensional approach presented in this article treats a relation as the set-theoretic extension of a relational concept or term.  An alternative, intensional approach reserves the term relation to the corresponding logical entity, either the logical comprehension, which is the totality of intensions or abstract properties that all the elements of the extensional relation have in common, or else the symbols that are taken to denote those elements and intensions.

Example 2. Coplanarity[edit]

For lines Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \ell\!} in three-dimensional space, there is a triadic relation picking out the triples of lines that are coplanar.  This does not reduce to the dyadic relation of coplanarity between pairs of lines.

In other words, writing Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle P(\ell, m, n)\!} when the lines Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \ell, m, n\!} lie in a plane, and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle Q(\ell, m)\!} for the binary relation, it is not true that Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle Q(\ell, m),\!} Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle Q(m, n),\!} and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle Q(n, \ell)\!} together imply Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle P(\ell, m, n),\!} although the converse is certainly true:  any two of three coplanar lines are necessarily coplanar.  There are two geometrical reasons for this.

In one case, for example taking the Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle x\!} -axis, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle y\!} -axis, and Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle z\!} -axis, the three lines are concurrent, that is, they intersect at a single point.  In another case, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle \ell, m, n\!} can be three edges of an infinite triangular prism.

What is true is that if each pair of lines intersects, and the points of intersection are distinct, then pairwise coplanarity implies coplanarity of the triple.

Remarks[edit]

Relations are classified by the number of sets in the cartesian product, in other words, the number of places or terms in the relational expression:

Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L(a)\!} Monadic or unary relation, in other words, a property or set
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L(a, b) ~\text{or}~ a L b\!} Dyadic or binary relation
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L(a, b, c)\!} Triadic or ternary relation
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L(a, b, c, d)\!} Tetradic or quaternary relation
Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle L(a, b, c, d, e)\!} Pentadic or quinary relation

Relations with more than five terms are usually referred to as Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -adic or Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "/mathoid/local/v1/":): {\displaystyle k\!} -ary, for example, a 6-adic, 6-ary, or hexadic relation.

References[edit]

  • Peirce, C.S. (1870), “Description of a Notation for the Logic of Relatives, Resulting from an Amplification of the Conceptions of Boole's Calculus of Logic”, Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 9, 317–378, 1870. Reprinted, Collected Papers CP 3.45–149, Chronological Edition CE 2, 359–429.
  • Ulam, S.M., and Bednarek, A.R. (1990), “On the Theory of Relational Structures and Schemata for Parallel Computation”, pp. 477–508 in A.R. Bednarek and Françoise Ulam (eds.), Analogies Between Analogies : The Mathematical Reports of S.M. Ulam and His Los Alamos Collaborators, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bourbaki, N. (1994), Elements of the History of Mathematics, John Meldrum (trans.), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.
  • Halmos, P.R. (1960), Naive Set Theory, D. Van Nostrand Company, Princeton, NJ.
  • Lawvere, F.W., and Rosebrugh, R. (2003), Sets for Mathematics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Maddux, R.D. (2006), Relation Algebras, vol. 150 in Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics, Elsevier Science.
  • Mili, A., Desharnais, J., Mili, F., with Frappier, M. (1994), Computer Program Construction, Oxford University Press, New York, NY.
  • Minsky, M.L., and Papert, S.A. (1969/1988), Perceptrons, An Introduction to Computational Geometry, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1969. Expanded edition, 1988.
  • Peirce, C.S. (1984), Writings of Charles S. Peirce : A Chronological Edition, Volume 2, 1867–1871, Peirce Edition Project (eds.), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.
  • Royce, J. (1961), The Principles of Logic, Philosophical Library, New York, NY.
  • Tarski, A. (1956/1983), Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics, Papers from 1923 to 1938, J.H. Woodger (trans.), 1st edition, Oxford University Press, 1956. 2nd edition, J. Corcoran (ed.), Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis, IN, 1983.
  • Ulam, S.M. (1990), Analogies Between Analogies : The Mathematical Reports of S.M. Ulam and His Los Alamos Collaborators, A.R. Bednarek and Françoise Ulam (eds.), University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
  • Venetus, P. (1984), Logica Parva, Translation of the 1472 Edition with Introduction and Notes, Alan R. Perreiah (trans.), Philosophia Verlag, Munich, Germany.

Syllabus[edit]

Focal nodes[edit]

Peer nodes[edit]

Logical operators[edit]

Related topics[edit]

Relational concepts[edit]

Information, Inquiry[edit]

Related articles[edit]

Document history[edit]

Portions of the above article were adapted from the following sources under the GNU Free Documentation License, under other applicable licenses, or by permission of the copyright holders.