In mathematics, an equivalence relation is a binary relation that is reflexive, symmetric and transitive. The relation "is equal to" is the canonical example of an equivalence relation, where for any objects a, b, and c:
As a consequence of the reflexive, symmetric, and transitive properties, any equivalence relation provides a partition of the underlying set into disjoint equivalence classes. Two elements of the given set are equivalent to each other if and only if they belong to the same equivalence class.
Various notations are used in the literature to denote that two elements a and b of a set are equivalent with respect to an equivalence relation R; the most common are "a ~ b" and "a ≡ b", which are used when R is implicit, and variations of "a ~Rb", "a ≡Rb", or "aRb" to specify R explicitly. Non-equivalence may be written "a ≁ b" or "".
A given binary relation ~ on a set X is said to be an equivalence relation if and only if it is reflexive, symmetric and transitive. That is, for all a, b and c in X:
X together with the relation ~ is called a setoid. The equivalence class of under ~, denoted , is defined as .
Let the set have the equivalence relation . The following sets are equivalence classes of this relation:
The set of all equivalence classes for this relation is . This set is a partition of the set .
The following are all equivalence relations:
If ~ is an equivalence relation on X, and P(x) is a property of elements of X, such that whenever x ~ y, P(x) is true if P(y) is true, then the property P is said to be well-defined or a class invariant under the relation ~.
A frequent particular case occurs when f is a function from X to another set Y; if x1 ~ x2 implies f(x1) = f(x2) then f is said to be a morphism for ~, a class invariant under ~, or simply invariant under ~. This occurs, e.g. in the character theory of finite groups. The latter case with the function f can be expressed by a commutative triangle. See also invariant. Some authors use "compatible with ~" or just "respects ~" instead of "invariant under ~".
More generally, a function may map equivalent arguments (under an equivalence relation ~A) to equivalent values (under an equivalence relation ~B). Such a function is known as a morphism from ~A to ~B.
Let . Some definitions:
A subset Y of X such that a ~ b holds for all a and b in Y, and never for a in Y and b outside Y, is called an equivalence class of X by ~. Let denote the equivalence class to which a belongs. All elements of X equivalent to each other are also elements of the same equivalence class.
The set of all equivalence classes of X by ~, denoted , is the quotient set of X by ~. If X is a topological space, there is a natural way of transforming X/~ into a topological space; see quotient space for the details.
The projection of ~ is the function defined by which maps elements of X into their respective equivalence classes by ~.
The equivalence kernel of a function f is the equivalence relation ~ defined by . The equivalence kernel of an injection is the identity relation.
A partition of X is a set P of nonempty subsets of X, such that every element of X is an element of a single element of P. Each element of P is a cell of the partition. Moreover, the elements of P are pairwise disjoint and their union is X.
Let X be a finite set with n elements. Since every equivalence relation over X corresponds to a partition of X, and vice versa, the number of equivalence relations on X equals the number of distinct partitions of X, which is the nth Bell number Bn:
A key result links equivalence relations and partitions:
In both cases, the cells of the partition of X are the equivalence classes of X by ~. Since each element of X belongs to a unique cell of any partition of X, and since each cell of the partition is identical to an equivalence class of X by ~, each element of X belongs to a unique equivalence class of X by ~. Thus there is a natural bijection between the set of all equivalence relations on X and the set of all partitions of X.
If ~ and ≈ are two equivalence relations on the same set S, and a~b implies a≈b for all a,b ∈ S, then ≈ is said to be a coarser relation than ~, and ~ is a finer relation than ≈. Equivalently,
The equality equivalence relation is the finest equivalence relation on any set, while the universal relation, which relates all pairs of elements, is the coarsest.
The relation "~ is finer than ≈" on the collection of all equivalence relations on a fixed set is itself a partial order relation, which makes the collection a geometric lattice.
Given any binary relation on , the equivalence relation generated by is the intersection of the equivalence relations on that contain . (Since is an equivalence relation, the intersection is nontrivial.)
Much of mathematics is grounded in the study of equivalences, and order relations. Lattice theory captures the mathematical structure of order relations. Even though equivalence relations are as ubiquitous in mathematics as order relations, the algebraic structure of equivalences is not as well known as that of orders. The former structure draws primarily on group theory and, to a lesser extent, on the theory of lattices, categories, and groupoids.
Just as order relations are grounded in ordered sets, sets closed under pairwise supremum and infimum, equivalence relations are grounded in partitioned sets, which are sets closed under bijections that preserve partition structure. Since all such bijections map an equivalence class onto itself, such bijections are also known as permutations. Hence permutation groups (also known as transformation groups) and the related notion of orbit shed light on the mathematical structure of equivalence relations.
Let '~' denote an equivalence relation over some nonempty set A, called the universe or underlying set. Let G denote the set of bijective functions over A that preserve the partition structure of A: ∀x ∈ A ∀g ∈ G (g(x) ∈ [x]). Then the following three connected theorems hold:
In sum, given an equivalence relation ~ over A, there exists a transformation group G over A whose orbits are the equivalence classes of A under ~.
This transformation group characterisation of equivalence relations differs fundamentally from the way lattices characterize order relations. The arguments of the lattice theory operations meet and join are elements of some universe A. Meanwhile, the arguments of the transformation group operations composition and inverse are elements of a set of bijections, A → A.
Moving to groups in general, let H be a subgroup of some group G. Let ~ be an equivalence relation on G, such that a ~ b ↔ (ab−1 ∈ H). The equivalence classes of ~—also called the orbits of the action of H on G—are the right cosets of H in G. Interchanging a and b yields the left cosets.
Related thinking can be found in Rosen (2008: chpt. 10).
Let G be a set and let "~" denote an equivalence relation over G. Then we can form a groupoid representing this equivalence relation as follows. The objects are the elements of G, and for any two elements x and y of G, there exists a unique morphism from x to y if and only if x~y.
The advantages of regarding an equivalence relation as a special case of a groupoid include:
The equivalence relations on any set X, when ordered by set inclusion, form a complete lattice, called ConX by convention. The canonical map ker: X^X → ConX, relates the monoid X^X of all functions on X and ConX. ker is surjective but not injective. Less formally, the equivalence relation ker on X, takes each function f: X→X to its kernel kerf. Likewise, ker(ker) is an equivalence relation on X^X.
Equivalence relations are a ready source of examples or counterexamples. For example, an equivalence relation with exactly two infinite equivalence classes is an easy example of a theory which is ω-categorical, but not categorical for any larger cardinal number.
An implication of model theory is that the properties defining a relation can be proved independent of each other (and hence necessary parts of the definition) if and only if, for each property, examples can be found of relations not satisfying the given property while satisfying all the other properties. Hence the three defining properties of equivalence relations can be proved mutually independent by the following three examples:
Properties definable in first-order logic that an equivalence relation may or may not possess include:
Euclid's The Elements includes the following "Common Notion 1":
Nowadays, the property described by Common Notion 1 is called Euclidean (replacing "equal" by "are in relation with"). By "relation" is meant a binary relation, in which aRb is generally distinct from bRa. A Euclidean relation thus comes in two forms:
The following theorem connects Euclidean relations and equivalence relations:
with an analogous proof for a right-Euclidean relation. Hence an equivalence relation is a relation that is Euclidean and reflexive. The Elements mentions neither symmetry nor reflexivity, and Euclid probably would have deemed the reflexivity of equality too obvious to warrant explicit mention.
In mathematics, a binary relation over sets X and Y is a subset of the Cartesian product X × Y; that is, it is a set of ordered pairs (x, y) consisting of elements x in X and y in Y. It encodes the information of relation: an element x is related to an element y, if and only if the pair (x, y) belongs to the set. A binary relation is the most studied special case n = 2 of an n-ary relation over sets X1, …, Xn, which is a subset of the Cartesian product X1 × … × Xn.
In mathematics, when the elements of some set S have a notion of equivalence defined on them, then one may naturally split the set S into equivalence classes. These equivalence classes are constructed so that elements a and b belong to the same equivalence class if and only if they are equivalent.
In mathematics, especially in category theory and homotopy theory, a groupoid generalises the notion of group in several equivalent ways. A groupoid can be seen as a:
In mathematics, a group action on a space is a group homomorphism of a given group into the group of transformations of the space. Similarly, a group action on a mathematical structure is a group homomorphism of a group into the automorphism group of the structure. It is said that the group acts on the space or structure. If a group acts on a structure, it also acts on everything that is built on the structure. For example, the group of Euclidean isometries acts on Euclidean space and also on the figures drawn in it. In particular, it acts on the set of all triangles. Similarly, the group of symmetries of a polyhedron acts on the vertices, the edges, and the faces of the polyhedron.
In mathematics, especially in order theory, a preorder or quasiorder is a binary relation that is reflexive and transitive. Preorders are more general than equivalence relations and (non-strict) partial orders, both of which are special cases of a preorder. An antisymmetric preorder is a partial order, and a symmetric preorder is an equivalence relation.
In mathematics, equality is a relationship between two quantities or, more generally two mathematical expressions, asserting that the quantities have the same value, or that the expressions represent the same mathematical object. The equality between A and B is written A = B, and pronounced A equals B. The symbol "=" is called an "equals sign". Two objects that are not equal are said to be distinct.
In mathematics, a binary relation R over a set X is reflexive if it relates every element of X to itself. Formally, this may be written ∀x ∈ X : x R x, or as I ⊆ R where I is the identity relation on X.
A symmetric relation is a type of binary relation. An example is the relation "is equal to", because if a = b is true then b = a is also true. Formally, a binary relation R over a set X is symmetric if:
In mathematics, a homogeneous relation R over a set X is transitive if for all elements a, b, c in X, whenever R relates a to b and b to c, then R also relates a to c. Transitivity is a key property of both partial orders and equivalence relations.
A set is closed under an operation if performance of that operation on members of the set always produces a member of that set. For example, the positive integers are closed under addition, but not under subtraction: is not a positive integer even though both 1 and 2 are positive integers. Another example is the set containing only zero, which is closed under addition, subtraction and multiplication.
In mathematics, two sets or classes A and B are equinumerous if there exists a one-to-one correspondence between them, i.e. if there exists a function from A to B such that for every element y of B there is exactly one element x of A with f(x) = y. Equinumerous sets are said to have the same cardinality. The study of cardinality is often called equinumerosity (equalness-of-number). The terms equipollence (equalness-of-strength) and equipotence (equalness-of-power) are sometimes used instead.
In mathematics, especially order theory, a weak ordering is a mathematical formalization of the intuitive notion of a ranking of a set, some of whose members may be tied with each other. Weak orders are a generalization of totally ordered sets and are in turn generalized by partially ordered sets and preorders.
In mathematics, Green's relations are five equivalence relations that characterise the elements of a semigroup in terms of the principal ideals they generate. The relations are named for James Alexander Green, who introduced them in a paper of 1951. John Mackintosh Howie, a prominent semigroup theorist, described this work as "so all-pervading that, on encountering a new semigroup, almost the first question one asks is 'What are the Green relations like?'". The relations are useful for understanding the nature of divisibility in a semigroup; they are also valid for groups, but in this case tell us nothing useful, because groups always have divisibility.
In mathematics, a partial equivalence relation on a set is a binary relation that is symmetric and transitive. In other words, it holds for all that:
This article examines the implementation of mathematical concepts in set theory. The implementation of a number of basic mathematical concepts is carried out in parallel in ZFC and in NFU, the version of Quine's New Foundations shown to be consistent by R. B. Jensen in 1969.
In computer science, in particular in concurrency theory, a dependency relation is a binary relation that is finite, symmetric, and reflexive; i.e. a finite tolerance relation. That is, it is a finite set of ordered pairs , such that
In mathematics, Euclidean relations are a class of binary relations that formalizes "Axiom 1" in Euclid's Elements: "Magnitudes which are equal to the same are equal to each other."
In topology, two points of a topological space X are topologically indistinguishable if they have exactly the same neighborhoods. That is, if x and y are points in X, and Nx is the set of all neighborhoods that contain x, and Ny is the set of all neighborhoods that contain y, then x and y are "topologically indistinguishable" if and only if Nx = Ny. (See Hausdorff's axiomatic neighborhood systems.)
In the mathematical field of order theory, an order isomorphism is a special kind of monotone function that constitutes a suitable notion of isomorphism for partially ordered sets (posets). Whenever two posets are order isomorphic, they can be considered to be "essentially the same" in the sense that one of the orders can be obtained from the other just by renaming of elements. Two strictly weaker notions that relate to order isomorphisms are order embeddings and Galois connections.
In mathematics, a ternary equivalence relation is a kind of ternary relation analogous to a binary equivalence relation. A ternary equivalence relation is symmetric, reflexive, and transitive. The classic example is the relation of collinearity among three points in Euclidean space. In an abstract set, a ternary equivalence relation determines a collection of equivalence classes or pencils that form a linear space in the sense of incidence geometry. In the same way, a binary equivalence relation on a set determines a partition.