In

{{DEFAULTSORT:Operation (Mathematics)
Elementary mathematics

mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...

, an operation is a function
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key
A function key is a key on a computer
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...

which takes zero or more input values (called ''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 example, ...

s'') to a well-defined output value. The number of operands (also known as arguments) is the arity
Arity () is the number of arguments
In logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logo ...

of the operation.
The most commonly studied operations are binary operation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

s (i.e., operations of arity 2), such as addition
Addition (usually signified by the plus symbol
The plus and minus signs, and , are mathematical symbol
A mathematical symbol is a figure or a combination of figures that is used to represent a mathematical object
A mathematical object is an ...

and multiplication
Multiplication (often denoted by the cross symbol , by the mid-line dot operator , by juxtaposition, or, on computers, by an asterisk ) is one of the four Elementary arithmetic, elementary Operation (mathematics), mathematical operations ...

, and unary operation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

s (i.e., operations of arity 1), such as additive inverse
In mathematics, the additive inverse of a is the number that, when to , yields . This number is also known as the opposite (number), sign change, and negation. For a , it reverses its : the additive inverse (opposite number) of a is negative, ...

and multiplicative inverse
Image:Hyperbola one over x.svg, thumbnail, 300px, alt=Graph showing the diagrammatic representation of limits approaching infinity, The reciprocal function: . For every ''x'' except 0, ''y'' represents its multiplicative inverse. The graph forms a r ...

. An operation of arity zero, or nullary operation
Arity () is the number of arguments
In logic and philosophy, an argument is a series of statements (in a natural language), called the premises or premisses (both spellings are acceptable), intended to determine the degree of truth of another st ...

, is a constant
Constant or The Constant may refer to:
Mathematics
* Constant (mathematics)
In mathematics, the word constant can have multiple meanings. As an adjective, it refers to non-variance (i.e. unchanging with respect to some other Value (mathematics ...

. The mixed product
In geometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space tha ...

is an example of an operation of arity 3, also called ternary operationIn mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ha ...

.
Generally, the arity is taken to be finite. However, infinitary operation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

s are sometimes considered, in which case the "usual" operations of finite arity are called finitary operations.
A partial operation is defined similarly to an operation, but with a partial function
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

in place of a function.
Types of operation

There are two common types of operations: unary andbinary
Binary may refer to:
Science and technology
Mathematics
* Binary number
In mathematics and digital electronics, a binary number is a number expressed in the base-2 numeral system or binary numeral system, which uses only two symbols: ty ...

. Unary operations involve only one value, such as negation
In logic
Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning
Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, ...

and trigonometric function
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

s. Binary operations, on the other hand, take two values, and include addition
Addition (usually signified by the plus symbol
The plus and minus signs, and , are mathematical symbol
A mathematical symbol is a figure or a combination of figures that is used to represent a mathematical object
A mathematical object is an ...

, subtraction
Subtraction is an arithmetic operation that represents the operation of removing objects from a collection. Subtraction is signified by the minus sign, . For example, in the adjacent picture, there are peaches—meaning 5 peaches with 2 taken ...

, multiplication
Multiplication (often denoted by the cross symbol , by the mid-line dot operator , by juxtaposition, or, on computers, by an asterisk ) is one of the four Elementary arithmetic, elementary Operation (mathematics), mathematical operations ...

, 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 o ...

, and exponentiation
Exponentiation is a mathematical
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry) ...

.
Operations can involve mathematical objects other than numbers. The logical values ''true'' and ''false'' can be combined using logic operation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

s, such as ''and'', ''or,'' and ''not''. Vectors
Vector may refer to:
Biology
*Vector (epidemiology), an agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism; a disease vector
*Vector (molecular biology), a DNA molecule used as a vehicle to artificially carr ...

can be added and subtracted. Rotation
A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center (or point) of rotation. The plane (geometry), geometric plane along which the rotation occurs is called the ''rotation plane'', and the imaginary line extending from the center an ...

s can be combined using the function composition
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...

operation, performing the first rotation and then the second. Operations on sets include the binary operations '' union'' and ''intersection
The line (purple) in two points (red). The disk (yellow) intersects the line in the line segment between the two red points.
In mathematics, the intersection of two or more objects is another, usually "smaller" object. Intuitively, the inter ...

'' and the unary operation of ''complementation
A complement is often something that completes something else, or at least adds to it in some useful way. Thus it may be:
* Complement (linguistics), a word or phrase having a particular syntactic role
** Subject complement, a word or phrase addi ...

''. Operations on function
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key
A function key is a key on a computer
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...

s include composition
Composition or Compositions may refer to:
Arts
* Composition (dance), practice and teaching of choreography
* Composition (music), an original piece of music and its creation
*Composition (visual arts)
The term composition means "putting togethe ...

and convolution
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...

.
Operations may not be defined for every possible value of its ''domain
Domain may refer to:
Mathematics
*Domain of a function
In mathematics, the domain of a Function (mathematics), function is the Set (mathematics), set of inputs accepted by the function. It is sometimes denoted by \operatorname(f), where is th ...

''. For example, in the real numbers one cannot divide by zero or take square roots of negative numbers. The values for which an operation is defined form a set called its ''domain of definition'' or ''active domain''. The set which contains the values produced is called the ''codomain
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

'', but the set of actual values attained by the operation is its codomain of definition, active codomain, ''image
An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception
Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (daytime vision), color vision, sco ...

'' or ''range
Range may refer to:
Geography
* Range (geographic)A range, in geography, is a chain of hill
A hill is a landform
A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body. Landforms together ...

''. For example, in the real numbers, the squaring operation only produces non-negative numbers; the codomain is the set of real numbers, but the range is the non-negative numbers.
Operations can involve dissimilar objects: a vector can be multiplied by a scalar
Scalar may refer to:
*Scalar (mathematics), an element of a field, which is used to define a vector space, usually the field of real numbers
*Scalar (physics), a physical quantity that can be described by a single element of a number field such as ...

to form another vector (an operation known as scalar multiplication
In mathematics, scalar multiplication is one of the basic operations defining a vector space in linear algebra (or more generally, a module (mathematics), module in abstract algebra). In common geometrical contexts, scalar multiplication of a re ...

), and the inner product
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

operation on two vectors produces a quantity that is scalar. An operation may or may not have certain properties, for example it may be associative
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

, commutative
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

, anticommutative
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It h ...

, idempotent
Idempotence (, ) is the property of certain operations in mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), an ...

, and so on.
The values combined are called ''operands'', ''arguments'', or ''inputs'', and the value produced is called the ''value'', ''result'', or ''output''. Operations can have fewer or more than two inputs (including the case of zero input and infinitely many inputs).
An operator is similar to an operation in that it refers to the symbol or the process used to denote the operation, hence their point of view is different. For instance, one often speaks of "the operation of addition" or "the addition operation", when focusing on the operands and result, but one switches to "addition operator" (rarely "operator of addition"), when focusing on the process, or from the more symbolic viewpoint, the function .
Definition

An ''n''-ary operation ''ω'' from to ''Y'' is afunction
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key
A function key is a key on a computer
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...

. The set is called the ''domain'' of the operation, the set ''Y'' is called the ''codomain'' of the operation, and the fixed non-negative integer ''n'' (the number of operands) is called the ''arity
Arity () is the number of arguments
In logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logo ...

'' of the operation. Thus a unary operation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

has arity one, and a binary operation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

has arity two. An operation of arity zero, called a ''nullary'' operation, is simply an element of the codomain ''Y''. An ''n''-ary operation can also be viewed as an -ary relation that is on its ''n'' input domains and on its output domain.
An ''n''-ary partial operation ''ω'' from to ''Y'' is a partial function
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

. An ''n''-ary partial operation can also be viewed as an -ary relation that is unique on its output domain.
The above describes what is usually called a finitary operation, referring to the finite number of operands (the value ''n''). There are obvious extensions where the arity is taken to be an infinite ordinal
Ordinal may refer to:
* Ordinal data, a statistical data type consisting of numerical scores that exist on an arbitrary numerical scale
* Ordinal date, a simple form of expressing a date using only the year and the day number within that year
* O ...

or cardinal
Cardinal or The Cardinal may refer to:
Christianity
* Cardinal (Catholic Church), a senior official of the Catholic Church
* Cardinal (Church of England), two members of the College of Minor Canons of St. Paul's Cathedral
Navigation
* Cardina ...

, or even an arbitrary set indexing the operands.
Often, the use of the term ''operation'' implies that the domain of the function includes a power of the codomain (i.e. the Cartesian product
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

of one or more copies of the codomain), although this is by no means universal, as in the case of dot product
In mathematics, the dot product or scalar productThe term ''scalar product'' is often also used more generally to mean a symmetric bilinear form, for example for a pseudo-Euclidean space. is an algebraic operation that takes two equal-length seque ...

, where vectors are multiplied and result in a scalar. An ''n''-ary operation is called an internal operation. An ''n''-ary operation where is called an external operation by the ''scalar set'' or ''operator set'' ''S''. In particular for a binary operation, is called a left-external operation by ''S'', and is called a right-external operation by ''S''. An example of an internal operation is vector addition
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). I ...

, where two vectors are added and result in a vector. An example of an external operation is scalar multiplication
In mathematics, scalar multiplication is one of the basic operations defining a vector space in linear algebra (or more generally, a module (mathematics), module in abstract algebra). In common geometrical contexts, scalar multiplication of a re ...

, where a vector is multiplied by a scalar and result in a vector.
See also

*Finitary relation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

* Hyperoperation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

* Operator
* Order of operations
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...

References