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# Discrete mathematics. Sets

## 1. Sets

1## 2. What is a set?

• A set is a group of “objects”–

–

–

–

–

–

People in a class: { Alice, Bob, Chris }

Classes offered by a department: { CS 101, CS 202, … }

Colors of a rainbow: { red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple }

States of matter { solid, liquid, gas, plasma }

States in the US: { Alabama, Alaska, Virginia, … }

Sets can contain non-related elements: { 3, a, red, Virginia }

• Although a set can contain (almost) anything, we will most

often use sets of numbers

– All positive numbers less than or equal to 5: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

– A few selected real numbers: { 2.1, π, 0, -6.32, e }

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## 3. Set properties 1

• Order does not matter– We often write them in order because it is

easier for humans to understand it that way

– {1, 2, 3, 4, 5} is equivalent to {3, 5, 2, 4, 1}

• Sets are notated with curly brackets

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## 4. Set properties 2

• Sets do not have duplicate elements– Consider the set of vowels in the alphabet.

• It makes no sense to list them as {a, a, a, e, i, o, o,

o, o, o, u}

• What we really want is just {a, e, i, o, u}

– Consider the list of students in this class

• Again, it does not make sense to list somebody

twice

• Note that a list is like a set, but order does

matter and duplicate elements are allowed

– We won’t be studying lists much in this class

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## 5. Specifying a set 1

• Sets are usually represented by a capitalletter (A, B, S, etc.)

• Elements are usually represented by an

italic lower-case letter (a, x, y, etc.)

• Easiest way to specify a set is to list all the

elements: A = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

– Not always feasible for large or infinite sets

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## 6. Specifying a set 2

• Can use an ellipsis (…): B = {0, 1, 2, 3, …}– Can cause confusion. Consider the set C = {3, 5, 7,

…}. What comes next?

– If the set is all odd integers greater than 2, it is 9

– If the set is all prime numbers greater than 2, it is 11

• Can use set-builder notation

–

–

–

–

D = {x | x is prime and x > 2}

E = {x | x is odd and x > 2}

The vertical bar means “such that”

Thus, set D is read (in English) as: “all elements x

such that x is prime and x is greater than 2”

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## 7. Specifying a set 3

• A set is said to “contain” the various“members” or “elements” that make up the

set

– If an element a is a member of (or an element

of) a set S, we use then notation a S

• 4 {1, 2, 3, 4}

– If an element is not a member of (or an

element of) a set S, we use the notation a S

• 7 {1, 2, 3, 4}

• Virginia {1, 2, 3, 4}

7

## 8. Often used sets

• N = {0, 1, 2, 3, …} is the set of natural numbers• Z = {…, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, …} is the set of integers

• Z+ = {1, 2, 3, …} is the set of positive integers

(a.k.a whole numbers)

– Note that people disagree on the exact definitions of

whole numbers and natural numbers

• Q = {p/q | p Z, q Z, q ≠ 0} is the set of

rational numbers

– Any number that can be expressed as a fraction of

two integers (where the bottom one is not zero)

• R is the set of real numbers

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## 9. The universal set 1

• U is the universal set – the set of all ofelements (or the “universe”) from which

given any set is drawn

– For the set {-2, 0.4, 2}, U would be the real

numbers

– For the set {0, 1, 2}, U could be the natural

numbers (zero and up), the integers, the

rational numbers, or the real numbers,

depending on the context

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## 10. The universal set 2

– For the set of the students in this class, Uwould be all the students in the University (or

perhaps all the people in the world)

– For the set of the vowels of the alphabet, U

would be all the letters of the alphabet

– To differentiate U from U (which is a set

operation), the universal set is written in a

different font (and in bold and italics)

10

## 11. Venn diagrams

• Represents sets graphically– The box represents the universal set

– Circles represent the set(s)

• Consider set S, which is

the set of all vowels in the

alphabet

• The individual elements

are usually not written

in a Venn diagram

b

c

d f

g

h

k

l

j

m

n

p

q

r

s

t

v

w

x

y

z

U

S

e

a

o

i

u

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## 12. Sets of sets

• Sets can contain other sets– S = { {1}, {2}, {3} }

– T = { {1}, {{2}}, {{{3}}} }

– V = { {{1}, {{2}}}, {{{3}}}, { {1}, {{2}}, {{{3}}} } }

• V has only 3 elements!

• Note that 1 ≠ {1} ≠ {{1}} ≠ {{{1}}}

– They are all different

12

## 13. The empty set 1

• If a set has zero elements, it is called theempty (or null) set

– Written using the symbol

– Thus, = { }

VERY IMPORTANT

– If you get confused about the empty set in a

problem, try replacing by { }

• As the empty set is a set, it can be a

element of other sets

– { , 1, 2, 3, x } is a valid set

13

## 14. The empty set 1

• Note that ≠ { }– The first is a set of zero elements

– The second is a set of 1 element (that one

element being the empty set)

• Replace by { }, and you get: { } ≠ { { } }

• It’s easier to see that they are not equal that way

14

## 15. Set equality

• Two sets are equal if they have the sameelements

– {1, 2, 3, 4, 5} = {5, 4, 3, 2, 1}

• Remember that order does not matter!

– {1, 2, 3, 2, 4, 3, 2, 1} = {4, 3, 2, 1}

• Remember that duplicate elements do not matter!

• Two sets are not equal if they do not have

the same elements

– {1, 2, 3, 4, 5} ≠ {1, 2, 3, 4}

15

## 16. Subsets 1

• If all the elements of a set S are also elements ofa set T, then S is a subset of T

– For example, if S = {2, 4, 6} and T = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

7}, then S is a subset of T

– This is specified by S T

• Or by {2, 4, 6} {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}

• If S is not a subset of T, it is written as such:

S T

– For example, {1, 2, 8} {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}

16

## 17. Subsets 2

• Note that any set is a subset of itself!– Given set S = {2, 4, 6}, since all the elements

of S are elements of S, S is a subset of itself

– This is kind of like saying 5 is less than or

equal to 5

– Thus, for any set S, S S

17

## 18. Subsets 3

• The empty set is a subset of all sets (includingitself!)

– Recall that all sets are subsets of themselves

• All sets are subsets of the universal set

• A horrible way to define a subset:

– x ( x A x B )

– English translation: for all possible values of x,

(meaning for all possible elements of a set), if x is an

element of A, then x is an element of B

– This type of notation will be gone over later

18

## 19. Proper Subsets 1

• If S is a subset of T, and S is not equal toT, then S is a proper subset of T

– Let T = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

– If S = {1, 2, 3}, S is not equal to T, and S is a

subset of T

– A proper subset is written as S T

– Let R = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}. R is equal to T, and

thus is a subset (but not a proper subset) or T

• Can be written as: R T and R T (or just R = T)

– Let Q = {4, 5, 6}. Q is neither a subset or T

nor a proper subset of T

19

## 20. Proper Subsets 2

• The difference between “subset” and“proper subset” is like the difference

between “less than or equal to” and “less

than” for numbers

• The empty set is a proper subset of all

sets other than the empty set (as it is

equal to the empty set)

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## 21. Proper subsets: Venn diagram

S RU

R

S

21

## 22. Set cardinality

• The cardinality of a set is the number ofelements in a set

– Written as |A|

• Examples

– Let R = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}. Then |R| = 5

– | | = 0

– Let S = { , {a}, {b}, {a, b}}. Then |S| = 4

• This is the same notation used for vector length

in geometry

• A set with one element is sometimes called a

22

singleton set

## 23. Power sets 1

• Given the set S = {0, 1}. What are all thepossible subsets of S?

– They are: (as it is a subset of all sets), {0},

{1}, and {0, 1}

– The power set of S (written as P(S)) is the set

of all the subsets of S

– P(S) = { , {0}, {1}, {0,1} }

• Note that |S| = 2 and |P(S)| = 4

23

## 24. Power sets 2

• Let T = {0, 1, 2}. The P(T) = { , {0}, {1},{2}, {0,1}, {0,2}, {1,2}, {0,1,2} }

• Note that |T| = 3 and |P(T)| = 8

• P( ) = { }

• Note that | | = 0 and |P( )| = 1

• If a set has n elements, then the power set

will have 2n elements

24

## 25. Tuples

• In 2-dimensional space, it is a (x, y) pair ofnumbers to specify a location

• In 3-dimensional (1,2,3) is not the same as

(3,2,1) – space, it is a (x, y, z) triple of numbers

+y

• In n-dimensional space, it is a

n-tuple of numbers

– Two-dimensional space uses

pairs, or 2-tuples

– Three-dimensional space uses

triples, or 3-tuples

(2,3)

+x

• Note that these tuples are

ordered, unlike sets

– the x value has to come first

25

## 26. Cartesian products 1

• A Cartesian product is a set of all ordered 2tuples where each “part” is from a given set– Denoted by A x B, and uses parenthesis (not curly

brackets)

– For example, 2-D Cartesian coordinates are the set of

all ordered pairs Z x Z

• Recall Z is the set of all integers

• This is all the possible coordinates in 2-D space

– Example: Given A = { a, b } and B = { 0, 1 }, what is

their Cartiesian product?

• C = A x B = { (a,0), (a,1), (b,0), (b,1) }

26

## 27. Cartesian products 2

• Note that Cartesian products have only 2parts in these examples (later examples

have more parts)

• Formal definition of a Cartesian product:

– A x B = { (a,b) | a A and b B }

27

## 28. Cartesian products 3

• All the possible grades in this class will be aCartesian product of the set S of all the students

in this class and the set G of all possible grades

– Let S = { Alice, Bob, Chris } and G = { A, B, C }

– D = { (Alice, A), (Alice, B), (Alice, C), (Bob, A), (Bob,

B), (Bob, C), (Chris, A), (Chris, B), (Chris, C) }

– The final grades will be a subset of this: { (Alice, C),

(Bob, B), (Chris, A) }

• Such a subset of a Cartesian product is called a relation

(more on this later in the course)

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## 29. Cartesian products 4

• There can be Cartesian products on morethan two sets

• A 3-D coordinate is an element from the

Cartesian product of Z x Z x Z

29

## 30. Set Operations

30## 31. Set operations: Union

AUBU

A

B

31

## 32. Set operations: Union

• Formal definition for the union of two sets:A U B = { x | x A or x B }

• Further examples

– {1, 2, 3} U {3, 4, 5} = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

– {New York, Washington} U {3, 4} = {New

York, Washington, 3, 4}

– {1, 2} U = {1, 2}

32

## 33. Set operations: Union

• Properties of the union operation–AU =A

–AUU=U

–AUA=A

–AUB=BUA

– A U (B U C) = (A U B) U C

Identity law

Domination law

Idempotent law

Commutative law

Associative law

33

## 34. Set operations: Intersection

A∩BU

A

B

34

## 35. Set operations: Intersection

• Formal definition for the intersection of twosets: A ∩ B = { x | x A and x B }

• Further examples

– {1, 2, 3} ∩ {3, 4, 5} = {3}

– {New York, Washington} ∩ {3, 4} =

• No elements in common

– {1, 2} ∩ =

• Any set intersection with the empty set yields the

empty set

35

## 36. Set operations: Intersection

• Properties of the intersection operation–A∩U=A

–A∩ =

–A∩A=A

–A∩B=B∩A

– A ∩ (B ∩ C) = (A ∩ B) ∩ C

Identity law

Domination law

Idempotent law

Commutative law

Associative law

36

## 37. Disjoint sets 1

• Two sets are disjoint if thehave NO elements in

common

• Formally, two sets are

disjoint if their intersection

is the empty set

• Another example:

the set of the even

numbers and the

set of the odd

numbers

37

## 38. Disjoint sets 2

UA

B

38

## 39. Disjoint sets 3

• Formal definition for disjoint sets: two setsare disjoint if their intersection is the empty

set

• Further examples

– {1, 2, 3} and {3, 4, 5} are not disjoint

– {New York, Washington} and {3, 4} are

disjoint

– {1, 2} and are disjoint

• Their intersection is the empty set

– and are disjoint!

• Their intersection is the empty set

39

## 40. Set operations: Difference

A-BU

A

B

40

## 41. Set operations: Difference

• Formal definition for the difference of twosets:

A - B = { x | x_ A and x B }

A - B = A ∩ B Important!

• Further examples

– {1, 2, 3} - {3, 4, 5} = {1, 2}

– {New York, Washington} - {3, 4} = {New York,

Washington}

– {1, 2} - = {1, 2}

• The difference of any set S with the empty set will

41

be the set S

## 42. Set operations: Symmetric Difference

• A symmetric difference of the sets contains allthe elements in either set but NOT both

• Formal definition for the symmetric difference of

two sets:

A B = { x | (x A or x B) and x A ∩ B}

A B = (A U B) – (A ∩ B) Important!

• Further examples

– {1, 2, 3} {3, 4, 5} = {1, 2, 4, 5}

– {New York, Washington} {3, 4} = {New York,

Washington, 3, 4}

– {1, 2} = {1, 2}

42

• The symmetric difference of any set S with the empty set will

be the set S

## 43. Complement sets

• A complement of a set is all the elementsthat are NOT in the set

• Formal definition for the complement of a

set: A = { x | x A }

• Further examples (assuming U = Z)

– {1, 2, 3} = { …, -2, -1, 0, 4, 5, 6, … }

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## 44. Complement sets

• Properties of complement sets¯

¯

–A=A

¯

–AUA

=U

¯ =

–A∩A

Complementation law

Complement law

Complement law

44