Arity () is the number of

MOV %AX, (%BX, %CX) , which will load (MOV) into register the contents of a calculated memory location that is the sum (parenthesis) of the registers and .

A Course in Universal Algebra.

' Springer-Verlag. . Especially pp. 22–24. {{Mathematical logic Abstract algebra Universal algebra cs:Operace (matematika)#Arita operace

arguments
An argument is a statement or group of statements called premises intended to determine the degree of truth or acceptability of another statement called conclusion. Arguments can be studied from three main perspectives: the logical, the dialectic ...

or operand
In mathematics, an operand is the object of a mathematical operation, i.e., it is the object or quantity that is operated on.
Example
The following arithmetic expression shows an example of operators and operands:
:3 + 6 = 9
In the above examp ...

s taken by a function
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key, a type of key on computer keyboards
* Function model, a structured representation of processes in a system
* Function object or functor or functionoid, a concept of object-orien ...

, operation or relation in logic, mathematics
Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in modern mathematics ...

, and computer science
Computer science is the study of computation, automation, and information. Computer science spans theoretical disciplines (such as algorithms, theory of computation, information theory, and automation) to practical disciplines (including ...

. In mathematics, arity may also be named ''rank'', but this word can have many other meanings in mathematics. In logic and philosophy
Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Som ...

, it is also called adicity and degree. In linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and structure. Linguis ...

, it is usually named valency.
Examples

The term "arity" is rarely employed in everyday usage. For example, rather than saying "the arity of theaddition
Addition (usually signified by the plus symbol ) is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the other three being subtraction, multiplication and division. The addition of two whole numbers results in the total amount or '' sum'' ...

operation is 2" or "addition is an operation of arity 2" one usually says "addition is a binary operation". In general, the naming of functions or operators with a given arity follows a convention similar to the one used for ''n''-based numeral system
A numeral system (or system of numeration) is a writing system for expressing numbers; that is, a mathematical notation for representing numbers of a given set, using digits or other symbols in a consistent manner.
The same sequence of sym ...

s such as binary and hexadecimal
In mathematics and computing, the hexadecimal (also base-16 or simply hex) numeral system is a positional numeral system that represents numbers using a radix (base) of 16. Unlike the decimal system representing numbers using 10 symbols, hexa ...

. One combines a Latin
Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of t ...

prefix with the -ary ending; for example:
* A nullary function takes no arguments.
** Example: $f()=2$
* A unary function
A unary function is a function that takes one argument. A unary operator belongs to a subset of unary functions, in that its range coincides with its domain. In contrast, a unary function's domain may or may not coincide with its range.
Exampl ...

takes one argument.
** Example: $f(x)=2x$
* A binary function
In mathematics, a binary function (also called bivariate function, or function of two variables) is a function that takes two inputs.
Precisely stated, a function f is binary if there exists sets X, Y, Z such that
:\,f \colon X \times Y \right ...

takes two arguments.
** Example: $f(x,y)=2xy$
* A ternary function takes three arguments.
** Example: $f(x,y,z)=2xyz$
* An ''n''-ary function takes ''n'' arguments.
** Example: $f(x\_1,\; x\_2,\; \backslash ldots,\; x\_n)=2\backslash prod\_^n\; x\_i$
Nullary

Sometimes it is useful to consider a constant to be an operation of arity 0, and hence call it ''nullary''. Also, in non- functional programming, a function without arguments can be meaningful and not necessarily constant (due toside effect
In medicine, a side effect is an effect, whether therapeutic or adverse, that is secondary to the one intended; although the term is predominantly employed to describe adverse effects, it can also apply to beneficial, but unintended, consequenc ...

s). Often, such functions have in fact some ''hidden input'' which might be global variable
In computer programming, a global variable is a variable with global scope, meaning that it is visible (hence accessible) throughout the program, unless shadowed. The set of all global variables is known as the ''global environment'' or ''global ...

s, including the whole state of the system (time, free memory, ...). The latter are important examples which usually also exist in "purely" functional programming languages.
Unary

Examples ofunary operator
In mathematics, an unary operation is an operation with only one operand, i.e. a single input. This is in contrast to binary operations, which use two operands. An example is any function , where is a set. The function is a unary operation ...

s in mathematics and in programming include the unary minus and plus, the increment and decrement operators in C-style languages (not in logical languages), and the successor, factorial
In mathematics, the factorial of a non-negative denoted is the product of all positive integers less than or equal The factorial also equals the product of n with the next smaller factorial:
\begin
n! &= n \times (n-1) \times (n-2) \ ...

, reciprocal, floor
A floor is the bottom surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many layered surfaces made with modern technology. Floors may be stone, wood, bamboo, metal or any other material that can support the expected load ...

, ceiling
A ceiling is an overhead interior surface that covers the upper limits of a room. It is not generally considered a structural element, but a finished surface concealing the underside of the roof structure or the floor of a story above. Ceilings ...

, fractional part
The fractional part or decimal part of a non‐negative real number x is the excess beyond that number's integer part. If the latter is defined as the largest integer not greater than , called floor of or \lfloor x\rfloor, its fractional part ca ...

, sign
A sign is an object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is a sign of storm, or me ...

, absolute value
In mathematics, the absolute value or modulus of a real number x, is the non-negative value without regard to its sign. Namely, , x, =x if is a positive number, and , x, =-x if x is negative (in which case negating x makes -x positive), a ...

, square root
In mathematics, a square root of a number is a number such that ; in other words, a number whose '' square'' (the result of multiplying the number by itself, or ⋅ ) is . For example, 4 and −4 are square roots of 16, because .
...

(the principal square root), complex conjugate
In mathematics, the complex conjugate of a complex number is the number with an equal real part and an imaginary part equal in magnitude but opposite in sign. That is, (if a and b are real, then) the complex conjugate of a + bi is equal to a - ...

(unary of "one" complex number, that however has two parts at a lower level of abstraction), and norm functions in mathematics. The two's complement, address reference and the logical NOT operators are examples of unary operators in math and programming.
All functions in lambda calculus
Lambda calculus (also written as ''λ''-calculus) is a formal system in mathematical logic for expressing computation based on function abstraction and application using variable binding and substitution. It is a universal model of computation t ...

and in some functional programming language
In computer science, functional programming is a programming paradigm where programs are constructed by applying and composing functions. It is a declarative programming paradigm in which function definitions are trees of expressions that m ...

s (especially those descended from ML) are technically unary, but see n-ary below.
According to Quine, the Latin distributives being ''singuli, bini, terni,'' and so forth, the term "singulary" is the correct adjective, rather than "unary." Abraham Robinson follows Quine's usage.
In philosophy, the adjective ''monadic'' is sometimes used to describe a one-place relation such as 'is square-shaped' as opposed to a two-place relation such as 'is the sister of'.
Binary

Most operators encountered in programming and mathematics are of the binary form. For both programming and mathematics, these include themultiplication operator
In operator theory, a multiplication operator is an operator defined on some vector space of functions and whose value at a function is given by multiplication by a fixed function . That is,
T_f\varphi(x) = f(x) \varphi (x) \quad
for all in th ...

, the radix operator, the often omitted exponentiation
Exponentiation is a mathematical operation, written as , involving two numbers, the '' base'' and the ''exponent'' or ''power'' , and pronounced as " (raised) to the (power of) ". When is a positive integer, exponentiation corresponds to ...

operator, the logarithm
In mathematics, the logarithm is the inverse function to exponentiation. That means the logarithm of a number to the base is the exponent to which must be raised, to produce . For example, since , the ''logarithm base'' 10 ...

operator, the addition
Addition (usually signified by the plus symbol ) is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the other three being subtraction, multiplication and division. The addition of two whole numbers results in the total amount or '' sum'' ...

operator, and the division
Division or divider may refer to:
Mathematics
*Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication
*Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division
Military
*Division (military), a formation typically consisting ...

operator. Logical predicates such as '' OR'', ''XOR
Exclusive or or exclusive disjunction is a logical operation that is true if and only if its arguments differ (one is true, the other is false).
It is symbolized by the prefix operator J and by the infix operators XOR ( or ), EOR, EXOR, , ...

'', '' AND'', ''IMP'' are typically used as binary operators with two distinct operands. In CISC architectures, it is common to have two source operands (and store result in one of them).
Ternary

The computer programming language C and its various descendants (including C++, C#,Java
Java (; id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 151.6 million people, Java is the world's mo ...

, Julia, Perl
Perl is a family of two high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming languages. "Perl" refers to Perl 5, but from 2000 to 2019 it also referred to its redesigned "sister language", Perl 6, before the latter's name was offic ...

, and others) provide the ternary conditional operator `?:`

. The first operand (the condition) is evaluated, and if it is true, the result of the entire expression is the value of the second operand, otherwise it is the value of the third operand. The Python language has a ternary conditional expression, `x if C else y`

.
The Forth language also contains a ternary operator, `*/`

, which multiplies the first two (one-cell) numbers, dividing by the third, with the intermediate result being a double cell number. This is used when the intermediate result would overflow a single cell.
The Unix dc calculator has several ternary operators, such as `, `

, which will pop three values from the stack and efficiently compute $x^y\; \backslash bmod\; z$ with arbitrary precision.
Many (RISC
In computer engineering, a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) is a computer designed to simplify the individual instructions given to the computer to accomplish tasks. Compared to the instructions given to a complex instruction set comput ...

) assembly language
In computer programming, assembly language (or assembler language, or symbolic machine code), often referred to simply as Assembly and commonly abbreviated as ASM or asm, is any low-level programming language with a very strong correspondence be ...

instructions are ternary (as opposed to only two operands specified in CISC); or higher, such as ''n''-ary

From a mathematical point of view, a function of ''n'' arguments can always be considered as a function of one single argument which is an element of some product space. However, it may be convenient for notation to consider ''n''-ary functions, as for examplemultilinear map
In linear algebra, a multilinear map is a function of several variables that is linear separately in each variable. More precisely, a multilinear map is a function
:f\colon V_1 \times \cdots \times V_n \to W\text
where V_1,\ldots,V_n and W ar ...

s (which are not linear maps on the product space, if ).
The same is true for programming languages, where functions taking several arguments could always be defined as functions taking a single argument of some composite type
In computer science, a composite data type or compound data type is any data type which can be constructed in a program using the programming language's primitive data types and other composite types. It is sometimes called a structure or aggre ...

such as a tuple
In mathematics, a tuple is a finite ordered list (sequence) of elements. An -tuple is a sequence (or ordered list) of elements, where is a non-negative integer. There is only one 0-tuple, referred to as ''the empty tuple''. An -tuple is def ...

, or in languages with higher-order function
In mathematics and computer science, a higher-order function (HOF) is a function that does at least one of the following:
* takes one or more functions as arguments (i.e. a procedural parameter, which is a parameter of a procedure that is it ...

s, by currying
In mathematics and computer science, currying is the technique of translating the evaluation of a function that takes multiple arguments into evaluating a sequence of functions, each with a single argument. For example, currying a function f th ...

.
Varying arity

In computer science, a function accepting a variable number of arguments is called '' variadic''. In logic and philosophy, predicates or relations accepting a variable number of arguments are called '' multigrade'', anadic, or variably polyadic.Terminology

Latin
Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of t ...

ate names are commonly used for specific arities, primarily based on Latin distributive number
In linguistics, a distributive numeral, or distributive number word, is a word that answers "how many times each?" or "how many at a time?", such as ''singly'' or ''doubly''. They are contrasted with multipliers. In English, this part of spee ...

s meaning "in group of ''n''", though some are based on Latin cardinal number
In mathematics, cardinal numbers, or cardinals for short, are a generalization of the natural numbers used to measure the cardinality (size) of sets. The cardinality of a finite set is a natural number: the number of elements in the set. Th ...

s or ordinal number
In set theory, an ordinal number, or ordinal, is a generalization of ordinal numerals (first, second, th, etc.) aimed to extend enumeration to infinite sets.
A finite set can be enumerated by successively labeling each element with the least ...

s. For example, 1-ary is based on cardinal ''unus'', rather than from distributive ''singulī'' that would result in ''singulary''.
''n''-''ary'' means ''n'' operands (or parameters), but is often used as a synonym of "polyadic".
These words are often used to describe anything related to that number (e.g., undenary chess is a chess variant
A chess variant is a game related to, derived from, or inspired by chess. Such variants can differ from chess in many different ways.
"International" or "Western" chess itself is one of a family of games which have related origins and could be co ...

with an 11×11 board, or the Millenary Petition of 1603).
The arity of a relation (or predicate) is the dimension of the domain in the corresponding Cartesian product
In mathematics, specifically set theory, the Cartesian product of two sets ''A'' and ''B'', denoted ''A''×''B'', is the set of all ordered pairs where ''a'' is in ''A'' and ''b'' is in ''B''. In terms of set-builder notation, that is
: A\ti ...

. (A function of arity ''n'' thus has arity ''n''+1 considered as a relation.)
In computer programming
Computer programming is the process of performing a particular computation (or more generally, accomplishing a specific computing result), usually by designing and building an executable computer program. Programming involves tasks such as anal ...

, there is often a syntactical
In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relations, hierarchical sentence structure (constitue ...

distinction between operators
Operator may refer to:
Mathematics
* A symbol indicating a mathematical operation
* Logical operator or logical connective in mathematical logic
* Operator (mathematics), mapping that acts on elements of a space to produce elements of another s ...

and functions; syntactical operators usually have arity 0, 1, or 2 (the ternary operator ?: is also common). Functions vary widely in the number of arguments, though large numbers can become unwieldy. Some programming languages also offer support for variadic functions, i.e., functions syntactically accepting a variable number of arguments.
See also

* Logic of relatives *Binary relation
In mathematics, a binary relation associates elements of one set, called the ''domain'', with elements of another set, called the ''codomain''. A binary relation over sets and is a new set of ordered pairs consisting of elements in and in ...

* Ternary relation
* Theory of relations
* Signature (logic)
In logic, especially mathematical logic, a signature lists and describes the non-logical symbols of a formal language. In universal algebra, a signature lists the operations that characterize an algebraic structure. In model theory, signatures ar ...

* Parameter
A parameter (), generally, is any characteristic that can help in defining or classifying a particular system (meaning an event, project, object, situation, etc.). That is, a parameter is an element of a system that is useful, or critical, when ...

* ''p''-adic number
* Cardinality
In mathematics, the cardinality of a set is a measure of the number of elements of the set. For example, the set A = \ contains 3 elements, and therefore A has a cardinality of 3. Beginning in the late 19th century, this concept was generalized ...

* Valency
* ''n''-ary code
* ''n''-ary group
*
*
References

External links

A monograph available free online: * Burris, Stanley N., and H.P. Sankappanavar, H. P., 1981.A Course in Universal Algebra.

' Springer-Verlag. . Especially pp. 22–24. {{Mathematical logic Abstract algebra Universal algebra cs:Operace (matematika)#Arita operace