In mathematics, an algebraic structure consists of a nonempty set ''A'' (called the underlying set, carrier set or domain), a collection of

variety
Variety may refer to:
Arts and entertainment Entertainment formats
* Variety (radio)
* Variety show, in theater and television
Films
* ''Variety'' (1925 film), a German silent film directed by Ewald Andre Dupont
* ''Variety'' (1935 film ...

(not to be confused with universal algebra
Universal algebra (sometimes called general algebra) is the field of mathematics that studies algebraic structures themselves, not examples ("models") of algebraic structures.
For instance, rather than take particular groups as the object of study ...

. An algebraic structure in a variety may be understood as the quotient algebra of term algebra (also called "absolutely free algebra") divided by the equivalence relations generated by a set of identities. So, a collection of functions with given

trees

These equations induce

Jipsen's algebra structures.

Includes many structures not mentioned here.

page on abstract algebra. * Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Algebra

by Vaughan Pratt. {{Authority control Abstract algebra Mathematical structures

operation
Operation or Operations may refer to:
Arts, entertainment and media
* ''Operation'' (game), a battery-operated board game that challenges dexterity
* Operation (music), a term used in musical set theory
* ''Operations'' (magazine), Multi-Ma ...

s on ''A'' (typically binary operation
In mathematics, a binary operation or dyadic operation is a rule for combining two elements (called operands) to produce another element. More formally, a binary operation is an operation of arity two.
More specifically, an internal binary op ...

s such as addition and multiplication), and a finite set of identities, known as axiom
An axiom, postulate, or assumption is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments. The word comes from the Ancient Greek word (), meaning 'that which is thought worthy or f ...

s, that these operations must satisfy.
An algebraic structure may be based on other algebraic structures with operations and axioms involving several structures. For instance, a vector space involves a second structure called a field, and an operation called ''scalar multiplication'' between elements of the field (called '' scalars''), and elements of the vector space (called '' vectors'').
Abstract algebra
In mathematics, more specifically algebra, abstract algebra or modern algebra is the study of algebraic structures. Algebraic structures include groups, rings, fields, modules, vector spaces, lattices, and algebras over a field. The term ''a ...

is the name that is commonly given to the study of algebraic structures. The general theory of algebraic structures has been formalized in universal algebra
Universal algebra (sometimes called general algebra) is the field of mathematics that studies algebraic structures themselves, not examples ("models") of algebraic structures.
For instance, rather than take particular groups as the object of study ...

. Category theory
Category theory is a general theory of mathematical structures and their relations that was introduced by Samuel Eilenberg and Saunders Mac Lane in the middle of the 20th century in their foundational work on algebraic topology. Nowadays, categ ...

is another formalization that includes also other mathematical structure
In mathematics, a structure is a set endowed with some additional features on the set (e.g. an operation, relation, metric, or topology). Often, the additional features are attached or related to the set, so as to provide it with some addit ...

s and functions between structures of the same type (homomorphism
In algebra, a homomorphism is a structure-preserving map between two algebraic structures of the same type (such as two groups, two rings, or two vector spaces). The word ''homomorphism'' comes from the Ancient Greek language: () meaning "same ...

s).
In universal algebra, an algebraic structure is called an ''algebra''; this term may be ambiguous, since, in other contexts, an algebra is an algebraic structure that is a vector space over a field or a module over a commutative ring
In mathematics, a commutative ring is a ring in which the multiplication operation is commutative. The study of commutative rings is called commutative algebra. Complementarily, noncommutative algebra is the study of ring properties that are not s ...

.
The collection of all structures of a given type (same operations and same laws) is called a variety
Variety may refer to:
Arts and entertainment Entertainment formats
* Variety (radio)
* Variety show, in theater and television
Films
* ''Variety'' (1925 film), a German silent film directed by Ewald Andre Dupont
* ''Variety'' (1935 film ...

in universal algebra; this term is also used with a completely different meaning in algebraic geometry
Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics, classically studying zeros of multivariate polynomials. Modern algebraic geometry is based on the use of abstract algebraic techniques, mainly from commutative algebra, for solving geometrical ...

, as an abbreviation of algebraic variety
Algebraic varieties are the central objects of study in algebraic geometry, a sub-field of mathematics. Classically, an algebraic variety is defined as the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations over the real or complex numbers. ...

. In category theory, the collection of all structures of a given type and homomorphisms between them form a concrete category
In mathematics, a concrete category is a category that is equipped with a faithful functor to the category of sets (or sometimes to another category, ''see Relative concreteness below''). This functor makes it possible to think of the objects of ...

.
Introduction

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'' of ...

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 mathematical operations of arithmetic, with the other ones being addi ...

are prototypical examples of operations that combine two elements of a set to produce a third element of the same set. These operations obey several algebraic laws. For example, and are associative law
In mathematics, the associative property is a property of some binary operations, which means that rearranging the parentheses in an expression will not change the result. In propositional logic, associativity is a valid rule of replacement ...

s, and and are commutative law
In mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result. It is a fundamental property of many binary operations, and many mathematical proofs depend on it. Most familiar as the name of ...

s. Many systems studied by mathematicians have operations that obey some, but not necessarily all, of the laws of ordinary arithmetic. For example, the possible moves of an object in three-dimensional space can be combined by performing a first move of the object, and then a second move from its new position. Such moves, formally called rigid motion
Rigid or rigidity may refer to:
Mathematics and physics
* Stiffness, the property of a solid body to resist deformation, which is sometimes referred to as rigidity
*Structural rigidity, a mathematical theory of the stiffness of ensembles of ri ...

s, obey the associative law, but fail to satisfy the commutative law.
Sets with one or more operations that obey specific laws are called ''algebraic structures''. When a new problem involves the same laws as such an algebraic structure, all the results that have been proved using only the laws of the structure can be directly applied to the new problem.
In full generality, algebraic structures may involve an arbitrary collection of operations, including operations that combine more than two elements (higher arity
Arity () is the number of arguments or operands taken by a function, operation or relation in logic, mathematics, and computer science. In mathematics, arity may also be named ''rank'', but this word can have many other meanings in mathematics. ...

operations) and operations that take only one argument
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 dialec ...

( unary operations) or even zero arguments ( nullary operations). The examples listed below are by no means a complete list, but include the most common structures taught in undergraduate courses.
Common axioms

Equational axioms

An axiom of an algebraic structure often has the form of an identity, that is, anequation
In mathematics, an equation is a formula that expresses the equality of two expressions, by connecting them with the equals sign . The word ''equation'' and its cognates in other languages may have subtly different meanings; for example, in F ...

such that the two sides of the equals sign
The equals sign (British English, Unicode) or equal sign (American English), also known as the equality sign, is the mathematical symbol , which is used to indicate equality in some well-defined sense. In an equation, it is placed between two ...

are expressions that involve operations of the algebraic structure and variables. If the variables in the identity are replaced by arbitrary elements of the algebraic structure, the equality must remain true. Here are some common examples.
;Commutativity
In mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result. It is a fundamental property of many binary operations, and many mathematical proofs depend on it. Most familiar as the name of ...

: An operation $*$ is ''commutative'' if $$x*y=y*x$$ for every and in the algebraic structure.
;Associativity
In mathematics, the associative property is a property of some binary operations, which means that rearranging the parentheses in an expression will not change the result. In propositional logic, associativity is a valid rule of replacement ...

: An operation $*$ is ''associative'' if $$(x*y)*z=x*(y*z)$$ for every , and in the algebraic structure.
; Left distributivity: An operation $*$ is ''left distributive'' with respect to another operation $+$ if $$x*(y+z)=(x*y)+(x*z)$$ for every , and in the algebraic structure (the second operation is denoted here as , because the second operation is addition in many common examples).
; Right distributivity: An operation $*$ is ''right distributive'' with respect to another operation $+$ if $$(y+z)*x=(y*x)+(z*x)$$ for every , and in the algebraic structure.
; Distributivity: An operation $*$ is ''distributive'' with respect to another operation $+$ if it is both left distributive and right distributive. If the operation $*$ is commutative, left and right distributivity are both equivalent to distributivity.
Existential axioms

Some common axioms contain an existential clause. In general, such a clause can be avoided by introducing further operations, and replacing the existential clause by an identity involving the new operation. More precisely, let us consider an axiom of the form ''"for all there is such that'' where is 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 defi ...

of variables. Choosing a specific value of for each value of defines a function $\backslash varphi:X\backslash mapsto\; y,$ which can be viewed as an operation of arity
Arity () is the number of arguments or operands taken by a function, operation or relation in logic, mathematics, and computer science. In mathematics, arity may also be named ''rank'', but this word can have many other meanings in mathematics. ...

, and the axiom becomes the identity $f(X,\backslash varphi(X))=g(X,\backslash varphi(X)).$
The introduction of such auxiliary operation complicates slightly the statement of an axiom, but has some advantages. Given a specific algebraic structure, the proof that an existential axiom is satisfied consists generally of the definition of the auxiliary function, completed with straightforward verifications. Also, when computing in an algebraic structure, one generally uses explicitly the auxiliary operations. For example, in the case of number
A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers ca ...

s, the additive inverse
In mathematics, the additive inverse of a number is the number that, when added to , yields zero. This number is also known as the opposite (number), sign change, and negation. For a real number, it reverses its sign: the additive inverse (op ...

is provided by the unary minus operation $x\backslash mapsto\; -x.$
Also, in universal algebra
Universal algebra (sometimes called general algebra) is the field of mathematics that studies algebraic structures themselves, not examples ("models") of algebraic structures.
For instance, rather than take particular groups as the object of study ...

, a variety
Variety may refer to:
Arts and entertainment Entertainment formats
* Variety (radio)
* Variety show, in theater and television
Films
* ''Variety'' (1925 film), a German silent film directed by Ewald Andre Dupont
* ''Variety'' (1935 film ...

is a class of algebraic structures that share the same operations, and the same axioms, with the condition that all axioms are identities. What precedes shows that existential axioms of the above form are accepted in the definition of a variety.
Here are some of the most common existential axioms.
;Identity element
In mathematics, an identity element, or neutral element, of a binary operation operating on a set is an element of the set that leaves unchanged every element of the set when the operation is applied. This concept is used in algebraic structures ...

:A binary operation
In mathematics, a binary operation or dyadic operation is a rule for combining two elements (called operands) to produce another element. More formally, a binary operation is an operation of arity two.
More specifically, an internal binary op ...

$*$ has an identity element if there is an element such that $$x*e=x\backslash quad\; \backslash text\; \backslash quad\; e*x=x$$ for all in the structure. Here, the auxiliary operation is the operation of arity zero that has as its result.
;Inverse element
In mathematics, the concept of an inverse element generalises the concepts of opposite () and reciprocal () of numbers.
Given an operation denoted here , and an identity element denoted , if , one says that is a left inverse of , and that ...

:Given a binary operation $*$ that has an identity element , an element is ''invertible'' if it has an inverse element, that is, if there exists an element $\backslash operatorname(x)$ such that $$\backslash operatorname(x)*x=e\; \backslash quad\; \backslash text\; \backslash quad\; x*\backslash operatorname(x)=e.$$For example, a group
A group is a number of persons or things that are located, gathered, or classed together.
Groups of people
* Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity
* Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic ide ...

is an algebraic structure with a binary operation that is associative, has an identity element, and for which all elements are invertible.
Non-equational axioms

The axioms of an algebraic structure can be any first-order formula, that is a formula involvinglogical connective
In logic, a logical connective (also called a logical operator, sentential connective, or sentential operator) is a logical constant. They can be used to connect logical formulas. For instance in the syntax of propositional logic, the binary co ...

s (such as ''"and"'', ''"or"'' and ''"not"''), and logical quantifier
In logic, a quantifier is an operator that specifies how many individuals in the domain of discourse satisfy an open formula. For instance, the universal quantifier \forall in the first order formula \forall x P(x) expresses that everythin ...

s ($\backslash forall,\; \backslash exists$) that apply to elements (not to subsets) of the structure.
Such a typical axiom is inversion in fields
Fields may refer to:
Music
* Fields (band), an indie rock band formed in 2006
* Fields (progressive rock band), a progressive rock band formed in 1971
* ''Fields'' (album), an LP by Swedish-based indie rock band Junip (2010)
* "Fields", a song b ...

. This axiom cannot be reduced to axioms of preceding types. (it follows that fields do not form a variety
Variety may refer to:
Arts and entertainment Entertainment formats
* Variety (radio)
* Variety show, in theater and television
Films
* ''Variety'' (1925 film), a German silent film directed by Ewald Andre Dupont
* ''Variety'' (1935 film ...

in the sense of universal algebra
Universal algebra (sometimes called general algebra) is the field of mathematics that studies algebraic structures themselves, not examples ("models") of algebraic structures.
For instance, rather than take particular groups as the object of study ...

.) It can be stated: ''"Every nonzero element of a field is invertible
In mathematics, the concept of an inverse element generalises the concepts of opposite () and reciprocal () of numbers.
Given an operation denoted here , and an identity element denoted , if , one says that is a left inverse of , and that ...

;"'' or, equivalently: ''the structure has a unary operation such that
:$\backslash forall\; x,\; \backslash quad\; x=0\; \backslash quad\backslash text\; \backslash quad\; x\; \backslash cdot\backslash operatorname(x)=1.$
The operation can be viewed either as a partial operation that is not defined for ; or as an ordinary function whose value at 0 is arbitrary and must not be used.
Common algebraic structures

One set with operations

Simple structures: nobinary operation
In mathematics, a binary operation or dyadic operation is a rule for combining two elements (called operands) to produce another element. More formally, a binary operation is an operation of arity two.
More specifically, an internal binary op ...

:
* Set: a degenerate algebraic structure ''S'' having no operations.
Group-like structures: one binary operation. The binary operation can be indicated by any symbol, or with no symbol (juxtaposition) as is done for ordinary multiplication of real numbers.
* Group
A group is a number of persons or things that are located, gathered, or classed together.
Groups of people
* Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity
* Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic ide ...

: a monoid
In abstract algebra, a branch of mathematics, a monoid is a set equipped with an associative binary operation and an identity element. For example, the nonnegative integers with addition form a monoid, the identity element being 0.
Monoids a ...

with a unary operation (inverse), giving rise to inverse element
In mathematics, the concept of an inverse element generalises the concepts of opposite () and reciprocal () of numbers.
Given an operation denoted here , and an identity element denoted , if , one says that is a left inverse of , and that ...

s.
* Abelian group
In mathematics, an abelian group, also called a commutative group, is a group in which the result of applying the group operation to two group elements does not depend on the order in which they are written. That is, the group operation is comm ...

: a group whose binary operation is commutative
In mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result. It is a fundamental property of many binary operations, and many mathematical proofs depend on it. Most familiar as the name of ...

.
Ring-like structures or Ringoids: two binary operations, often called 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'' of ...

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 mathematical operations of arithmetic, with the other ones being addi ...

, with multiplication distributing over addition.
* Ring: a semiring whose additive monoid is an abelian group.
* Division ring
In algebra, a division ring, also called a skew field, is a nontrivial ring in which division by nonzero elements is defined. Specifically, it is a nontrivial ring in which every nonzero element has a multiplicative inverse, that is, an element us ...

: a nontrivial In mathematics, the adjective trivial is often used to refer to a claim or a case which can be readily obtained from context, or an object which possesses a simple structure (e.g., groups, topological spaces). The noun triviality usually refers to ...

ring in which 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 ...

by nonzero elements is defined.
* Commutative ring
In mathematics, a commutative ring is a ring in which the multiplication operation is commutative. The study of commutative rings is called commutative algebra. Complementarily, noncommutative algebra is the study of ring properties that are not s ...

: a ring in which the multiplication operation is commutative.
* Field: a commutative division ring (i.e. a commutative ring which contains a multiplicative inverse for every nonzero element).
Lattice structures: two or more binary operations, including operations called meet and join, connected by the absorption law.Ringoids and lattices can be clearly distinguished despite both having two defining binary operations. In the case of ringoids, the two operations are linked by the distributive law
In mathematics, the distributive property of binary operations generalizes the distributive law, which asserts that the equality
x \cdot (y + z) = x \cdot y + x \cdot z
is always true in elementary algebra.
For example, in elementary arithmeti ...

; in the case of lattices, they are linked by the absorption law. Ringoids also tend to have numerical model
A model is an informative representation of an object, person or system. The term originally denoted the plans of a building in late 16th-century English, and derived via French and Italian ultimately from Latin ''modulus'', a measure.
Models c ...

s, while lattices tend to have set-theoretic
Set theory is the branch of mathematical logic that studies sets, which can be informally described as collections of objects. Although objects of any kind can be collected into a set, set theory, as a branch of mathematics, is mostly concer ...

models.
* Complete lattice
In mathematics, a complete lattice is a partially ordered set in which ''all'' subsets have both a supremum (join) and an infimum (meet). A lattice which satisfies at least one of these properties is known as a ''conditionally complete lattice.'' S ...

: a lattice in which arbitrary meet and joins exist.
* Bounded lattice: a lattice with a greatest element and least element.
* Distributive lattice
In mathematics, a distributive lattice is a lattice in which the operations of join and meet distribute over each other. The prototypical examples of such structures are collections of sets for which the lattice operations can be given by set u ...

: a lattice in which each of meet and join distributes over the other. A power set
In mathematics, the power set (or powerset) of a set is the set of all subsets of , including the empty set and itself. In axiomatic set theory (as developed, for example, in the ZFC axioms), the existence of the power set of any set is po ...

under union and intersection forms a distributive lattice.
* Boolean algebra
In mathematics and mathematical logic, Boolean algebra is a branch of algebra. It differs from elementary algebra in two ways. First, the values of the variables are the truth values ''true'' and ''false'', usually denoted 1 and 0, whereas in ...

: a complemented distributive lattice. Either of meet or join can be defined in terms of the other and complementation.
Two sets with operations

* Module: an abelian group ''M'' and a ring ''R'' acting as operators on ''M''. The members of ''R'' are sometimes called scalars, and the binary operation of ''scalar multiplication'' is a function ''R'' × ''M'' → ''M'', which satisfies several axioms. Counting the ring operations these systems have at least three operations. * Vector space: a module where the ring ''R'' is adivision ring
In algebra, a division ring, also called a skew field, is a nontrivial ring in which division by nonzero elements is defined. Specifically, it is a nontrivial ring in which every nonzero element has a multiplicative inverse, that is, an element us ...

or field.
* Algebra over a field
In mathematics, an algebra over a field (often simply called an algebra) is a vector space equipped with a bilinear product. Thus, an algebra is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with operations of multiplication and addition a ...

: a module over a field, which also carries a multiplication operation that is compatible with the module structure. This includes distributivity over addition and linearity
Linearity is the property of a mathematical relationship ('' function'') that can be graphically represented as a straight line. Linearity is closely related to '' proportionality''. Examples in physics include rectilinear motion, the linear ...

with respect to multiplication.
* Inner product space
In mathematics, an inner product space (or, rarely, a Hausdorff pre-Hilbert space) is a real vector space or a complex vector space with an operation called an inner product. The inner product of two vectors in the space is a scalar, often ...

: an ''F'' vector space ''V'' with a definite bilinear form .
Hybrid structures

Algebraic structures can also coexist with added structure of non-algebraic nature, such aspartial order
In mathematics, especially order theory, a partially ordered set (also poset) formalizes and generalizes the intuitive concept of an ordering, sequencing, or arrangement of the elements of a set. A poset consists of a set together with a binar ...

or a topology. The added structure must be compatible, in some sense, with the algebraic structure.
* Topological group: a group with a topology compatible with the group operation.
* Lie group
In mathematics, a Lie group (pronounced ) is a group that is also a differentiable manifold. A manifold is a space that locally resembles Euclidean space, whereas groups define the abstract concept of a binary operation along with the additio ...

: a topological group with a compatible smooth manifold
In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point. More precisely, an n-dimensional manifold, or ''n-manifold'' for short, is a topological space with the property that each point has a ne ...

structure.
* Ordered group
In abstract algebra, a partially ordered group is a group (''G'', +) equipped with a partial order "≤" that is ''translation-invariant''; in other words, "≤" has the property that, for all ''a'', ''b'', and ''g'' in ''G'', if ''a'' ≤ ''b'' t ...

s, ordered rings and ordered field
In mathematics, an ordered field is a field together with a total ordering of its elements that is compatible with the field operations. The basic example of an ordered field is the field of real numbers, and every Dedekind-complete ordered fie ...

s: each type of structure with a compatible partial order
In mathematics, especially order theory, a partially ordered set (also poset) formalizes and generalizes the intuitive concept of an ordering, sequencing, or arrangement of the elements of a set. A poset consists of a set together with a binar ...

.
* Archimedean group
In abstract algebra, a branch of mathematics, an Archimedean group is a linearly ordered group for which the Archimedean property holds: every two positive group elements are bounded by integer multiples of each other. The set R of real numbers t ...

: a linearly ordered group for which the Archimedean property
In abstract algebra and analysis, the Archimedean property, named after the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse, is a property held by some algebraic structures, such as ordered or normed groups, and fields.
The property, typica ...

holds.
* Topological vector space: a vector space whose ''M'' has a compatible topology.
* Normed vector space
In mathematics, a normed vector space or normed space is a vector space over the real or complex numbers, on which a norm is defined. A norm is the formalization and the generalization to real vector spaces of the intuitive notion of "length ...

: a vector space with a compatible norm. If such a space is complete
Complete may refer to:
Logic
* Completeness (logic)
* Completeness of a theory, the property of a theory that every formula in the theory's language or its negation is provable
Mathematics
* The completeness of the real numbers, which implies t ...

(as a metric space) then it is called a Banach space
In mathematics, more specifically in functional analysis, a Banach space (pronounced ) is a complete normed vector space. Thus, a Banach space is a vector space with a metric that allows the computation of vector length and distance between vecto ...

.
* Hilbert space
In mathematics, Hilbert spaces (named after David Hilbert) allow generalizing the methods of linear algebra and calculus from (finite-dimensional) Euclidean vector spaces to spaces that may be infinite-dimensional. Hilbert spaces arise naturall ...

: an inner product space over the real or complex numbers whose inner product gives rise to a Banach space structure.
* Vertex operator algebra
* Von Neumann algebra
In mathematics, a von Neumann algebra or W*-algebra is a *-algebra of bounded operators on a Hilbert space that is closed in the weak operator topology and contains the identity operator. It is a special type of C*-algebra.
Von Neumann alge ...

: a *-algebra of operators on a Hilbert space equipped with the weak operator topology.
Universal algebra

Algebraic structures are defined through different configurations ofaxiom
An axiom, postulate, or assumption is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments. The word comes from the Ancient Greek word (), meaning 'that which is thought worthy or f ...

s. Universal algebra
Universal algebra (sometimes called general algebra) is the field of mathematics that studies algebraic structures themselves, not examples ("models") of algebraic structures.
For instance, rather than take particular groups as the object of study ...

abstractly studies such objects. One major dichotomy is between structures that are axiomatized entirely by ''identities'' and structures that are not. If all axioms defining a class of algebras are identities, then this class is a algebraic varieties
Algebraic varieties are the central objects of study in algebraic geometry, a sub-field of mathematics. Classically, an algebraic variety is defined as the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations over the real or complex numbers. ...

of algebraic geometry
Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics, classically studying zeros of multivariate polynomials. Modern algebraic geometry is based on the use of abstract algebraic techniques, mainly from commutative algebra, for solving geometrical ...

).
Identities are equations formulated using only the operations the structure allows, and variables that are tacitly universally quantified
In mathematical logic, a universal quantification is a type of quantifier, a logical constant which is interpreted as "given any" or "for all". It expresses that a predicate can be satisfied by every member of a domain of discourse. In other ...

over the relevant universe. Identities contain no connectives, existentially quantified variables, or relations of any kind other than the allowed operations. The study of varieties is an important part of signatures
A signature (; from la, signare, "to sign") is a Handwriting, handwritten (and often Stylization, stylized) depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" or other mark that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and ...

generate a free algebra, the term algebra
In universal algebra and mathematical logic, a term algebra is a freely generated algebraic structure over a given signature. For example, in a signature consisting of a single binary operation, the term algebra over a set ''X'' of variables is ex ...

''T''. Given a set of equational identities (the axioms), one may consider their symmetric, transitive closure ''E''. The quotient algebra ''T''/''E'' is then the algebraic structure or variety. Thus, for example, groups have a signature containing two operators: the multiplication operator ''m'', taking two arguments, and the inverse operator ''i'', taking one argument, and the identity element ''e'', a constant, which may be considered an operator that takes zero arguments. Given a (countable) set of variables ''x'', ''y'', ''z'', etc. the term algebra is the collection of all possible terms
Term may refer to:
* Terminology, or term, a noun or compound word used in a specific context, in particular:
** Technical term, part of the specialized vocabulary of a particular field, specifically:
*** Scientific terminology, terms used by scie ...

involving ''m'', ''i'', ''e'' and the variables; so for example, ''m''(''i''(''x''), ''m''(''x'', ''m''(''y'',''e''))) would be an element of the term algebra. One of the axioms defining a group is the identity ''m''(''x'', ''i''(''x'')) = ''e''; another is ''m''(''x'',''e'') = ''x''. The axioms can be represented atrees

These equations induce

equivalence class
In mathematics, when the elements of some set S have a notion of equivalence (formalized as an equivalence relation), then one may naturally split the set S into equivalence classes. These equivalence classes are constructed so that elements a ...

es on the free algebra; the quotient algebra then has the algebraic structure of a group.
Some structures do not form varieties, because either:
# It is necessary that 0 ≠ 1, 0 being the additive identity element
In mathematics, an identity element, or neutral element, of a binary operation operating on a set is an element of the set that leaves unchanged every element of the set when the operation is applied. This concept is used in algebraic structures ...

and 1 being a multiplicative identity element, but this is a nonidentity;
# Structures such as fields have some axioms that hold only for nonzero members of ''S''. For an algebraic structure to be a variety, its operations must be defined for ''all'' members of ''S''; there can be no partial operations.
Structures whose axioms unavoidably include nonidentities are among the most important ones in mathematics, e.g., fields and division ring
In algebra, a division ring, also called a skew field, is a nontrivial ring in which division by nonzero elements is defined. Specifically, it is a nontrivial ring in which every nonzero element has a multiplicative inverse, that is, an element us ...

s. Structures with nonidentities present challenges varieties do not. For example, the direct product of two fields is not a field, because $(1,0)\backslash cdot(0,1)=(0,0)$, but fields do not have zero divisor
In abstract algebra, an element of a ring is called a left zero divisor if there exists a nonzero in such that , or equivalently if the map from to that sends to is not injective. Similarly, an element of a ring is called a right zero d ...

s.
Category theory

Category theory
Category theory is a general theory of mathematical structures and their relations that was introduced by Samuel Eilenberg and Saunders Mac Lane in the middle of the 20th century in their foundational work on algebraic topology. Nowadays, categ ...

is another tool for studying algebraic structures (see, for example, Mac Lane 1998). A category is a collection of ''objects'' with associated ''morphisms.'' Every algebraic structure has its own notion of homomorphism
In algebra, a homomorphism is a structure-preserving map between two algebraic structures of the same type (such as two groups, two rings, or two vector spaces). The word ''homomorphism'' comes from the Ancient Greek language: () meaning "same ...

, namely any 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 ...

compatible with the operation(s) defining the structure. In this way, every algebraic structure gives rise to a category
Category, plural categories, may refer to:
Philosophy and general uses
*Categorization, categories in cognitive science, information science and generally
*Category of being
* ''Categories'' (Aristotle)
*Category (Kant)
* Categories (Peirce)
* ...

. For example, the category of groups
In mathematics, the category Grp (or Gp) has the class of all groups for objects and group homomorphisms for morphisms. As such, it is a concrete category. The study of this category is known as group theory.
Relation to other categories
There a ...

has all groups
A group is a number of persons or things that are located, gathered, or classed together.
Groups of people
* Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity
* Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic ide ...

as objects and all group homomorphism
In mathematics, given two groups, (''G'', ∗) and (''H'', ·), a group homomorphism from (''G'', ∗) to (''H'', ·) is a function ''h'' : ''G'' → ''H'' such that for all ''u'' and ''v'' in ''G'' it holds that
: h(u*v) = h(u) \cdot h(v)
...

s as morphisms. This concrete category
In mathematics, a concrete category is a category that is equipped with a faithful functor to the category of sets (or sometimes to another category, ''see Relative concreteness below''). This functor makes it possible to think of the objects of ...

may be seen as a category of sets
In the mathematical field of category theory, the category of sets, denoted as Set, is the category whose objects are sets. The arrows or morphisms between sets ''A'' and ''B'' are the total functions from ''A'' to ''B'', and the composition o ...

with added category-theoretic structure. Likewise, the category of topological groups (whose morphisms are the continuous group homomorphisms) is a category of topological spaces In mathematics, the category of topological spaces, often denoted Top, is the category whose objects are topological spaces and whose morphisms are continuous maps. This is a category because the composition of two continuous maps is again cont ...

with extra structure. A forgetful functor between categories of algebraic structures "forgets" a part of a structure.
There are various concepts in category theory that try to capture the algebraic character of a context, for instance
* algebraic category
* essentially algebraic category
* presentable category
* locally presentable category
* monadic functors and categories
* universal property
In mathematics, more specifically in category theory, a universal property is a property that characterizes up to an isomorphism the result of some constructions. Thus, universal properties can be used for defining some objects independently fro ...

.
Different meanings of "structure"

In a slightabuse of notation
In mathematics, abuse of notation occurs when an author uses a mathematical notation in a way that is not entirely formally correct, but which might help simplify the exposition or suggest the correct intuition (while possibly minimizing errors a ...

, the word "structure" can also refer to just the operations on a structure, instead of the underlying set itself. For example, the sentence, "We have defined a ring ''structure'' on the set $A$," means that we have defined ring ''operations'' on the set $A$. For another example, the group $(\backslash mathbb\; Z,\; +)$ can be seen as a set $\backslash mathbb\; Z$ that is equipped with an ''algebraic structure,'' namely the ''operation'' $+$.
See also

*Free object
In mathematics, the idea of a free object is one of the basic concepts of abstract algebra. Informally, a free object over a set ''A'' can be thought of as being a "generic" algebraic structure over ''A'': the only equations that hold between eleme ...

* Mathematical structure
In mathematics, a structure is a set endowed with some additional features on the set (e.g. an operation, relation, metric, or topology). Often, the additional features are attached or related to the set, so as to provide it with some addit ...

* 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 ...

* Structure (mathematical logic)
In universal algebra and in model theory, a structure consists of a set along with a collection of finitary operations and relations that are defined on it.
Universal algebra studies structures that generalize the algebraic structures such as ...

Notes

References

* * * ; Category theory * *External links

Jipsen's algebra structures.

Includes many structures not mentioned here.

page on abstract algebra. * Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Algebra

by Vaughan Pratt. {{Authority control Abstract algebra Mathematical structures