# Introduction to Relations

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1 CHAPTER 7 Introduction to Relations 1. Relations and Their Properties 1.1. Definition of a Relation. Definition: A binary relation from a set A to a set B is a subset R A B. If (a, b) R we say a is related to b by R. A is the domain of R, and B is the codomain of R. If A = B, R is called a binary relation on the set A. Notation: If (a, b) R, then we write arb. If (a, b) R, then we write a R b. Notice that a relation is simply a subset of A B. If (a, b) R, where R is some relation from A to B, we think of a as being assigned to b. In these senses students often associate relations with functions. In fact, a function is a special case of a relation as you will see in Example Be warned, however, that a relation may differ from a function in two possible ways. If R is an arbitrary relation from A to B, then it is possible to have both (a, b) R and (a, b ) R, where b b; that is, an element in A could be related to any number of elements of B; or it is possible to have some element a in A that is not related to any element in B at all. 204

2 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 205 Often the relations in our examples do have special properties, but be careful not to assume that a given relation must have any of these properties Examples. Example Let A = {a, b, c} and B = {1, 2, 3, 4}, and let R 1 = {(a, 1), (a, 2), (c, 4)}. Example Let R 2 N N be defined by (m, n) R 2 if and only if m n. Example Let A be the set of all FSU students, and B the set of all courses offered at FSU. Define R 3 as a relation from A to B by (s, c) R 3 if and only if s is enrolled in c this term. There are many different types of examples of relations. The previous examples give three very different types of examples. Let s look a little more closely at these examples. Example This is a completely abstract relation. There is no obvious reason for a to be related to 1 and 2. It just is. This kind of relation, while not having any obvious application, is often useful to demonstrate properties of relations. Example This relation is one you will see more frequently. The set R 2 is an infinite set, so it is impossible to list all the elements of R 2, but here are some elements of R 2 : (2, 6), (4, 8), (5, 5), (5, 0), (6, 0), (6, 18), (2, 18). Equivalently, we could also write 2R 2 6, 4R 2 8, 5R 2 5, 5R 2 0, 6R 2 0, 6R 2 18, 2R Here are some elements of N N that are not elements of R 2 : (6, 2), (8, 4), (2, 5), (0, 5), (0, 6), (18, 6), (6, 8), (8, 6). Example Here is an element of R 3 : (you, MAD2104). Example Let A and B be sets and let f : A B be a function. The graph of f, defined by graph(f) = {(x, f(x)) x A}, is a relation from A to B. Notice the previous example illustrates that any function has a relation that is associated with it. However, not all relations have functions associated with them. Exercise Suppose f : R R is defined by f(x) = x/2. (1) Find 5 elements of the relation graph(f).

3 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 206 (2) Find 5 elements of R R that are not in graph(f). Exercise Find a relation from R to R that cannot be represented as the graph of a functions. Exercise Let n be a positive integer. How many binary relations are there on a set A if A = n? [Hint: How many elements are there in A A?] 1.3. Directed Graphs. Definitions A directed graph or a digraph D from A to B is a collection of vertices V A B and a collection of edges R A B. If there is an ordered pair e = (x, y) in R then there is an arc or edge from x to y in D. The elements x and y are called the initial and terminal vertices of the edge e = (x, y), respectively. A digraph can be a useful device for representing a relation, especially if the relation isn t too large or complicated. The digraph that represents R 1 in Example is: a 1 b c If R is a relation on a set A, we simplify the digraph D representing R by having only one vertex for each a A. This results, however, in the possibility of having loops, that is, edges from a vertex to itself, and having more than one edge joining distinct vertices (but with opposite orientations).

4 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 207 A digraph for R 2 in Example would be difficult to illustrate (and impossible to draw completely), since it would require infinitely many vertices and edges. We could draw a digraph for some finite subset of R 2. It is possible to indicate what the graph of some infinite relations might look like, but this one would be particularly difficult. Example Let R 5 be the relation from {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} defined by mr 5 n if and only if m n(mod 3). The digraph that represents R 5 is Inverse Relation. Definition Let R be a relation from A to B. Then R 1 = {(b, a) (a, b) R} is a relation from B to A. R 1 is called the inverse of the relation R. The inverse of a relation R is simply the relation obtained by reversing the ordered pairs of R. The inverse relation is also called the converse relation. Example Recall Example A = {a, b, c} and B = {1, 2, 3, 4} and R 1 = {(a, 1), (a, 2), (c, 4)}. Then R 1 = {(1, a), (2, a), (4, c)}. Exercise Recall Example A and B are sets and f : A B is a function. The graph of f, graph(f) = {(x, f(x)) x A} is a relation from A to B. (1) What is the inverse of this relation? (2) Does f have to be invertible for the inverse of this relation to exist? (3) If f is invertible, find the inverse of the relation graph(f) in terms of the inverse function f 1.

5 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES Special Properties of Binary Relations. Definitions Let A be a set, and let R be a binary relation on A. (1) R is reflexive if x[(x A) ((x, x) R)]. (2) R is irreflexive if x[(x A) ((x, x) R)]. (3) R is symmetric if x y[((x, y) R) ((y, x) R)]. (4) R is antisymmetric if x y[([(x, y) R] [(y, x) R]) (x = y)]. (5) R is asymmetric if x y[((x, y) R) ((y, x) R)]. (6) R is transitive if x y z[([(x, y) R] [(y, z) R]) ((x, z) R)]. Study the definitions of the definitions of the properties given above. You must know these properties, be able to recognize whether or not a relation has a particular property, and be able to prove that a relation has or does not have a particular property. Notice that the definitions of reflexive and irreflexive relations are not complementary. In fact, a relation on a set may be neither reflexive nor irreflexive. The same is true for the symmetric and antisymmetric properties, as well as the symmetric and asymmetric properties. Some texts use the term antireflexive for irreflexive. Exercise Before reading further, find a relation on the set {a, b, c} that is neither (a) reflexive nor irreflexive. (b) symmetric nor antisymmetric. (c) symmetric nor asymmetric Examples of Relations and Their Properties. Example Suppose A is the set of FSU students and R is the relation given by arb if students a and b have the same last name. This relation is... reflexive not irreflexive symmetric not antisymmetric

6 not asymmetric transitive 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 209 Example Suppose T is the relation on the set of integers given by xt y if 2x y = 1. This relation is... not reflexive not irreflexive not symmetric antisymmetric not asymmetric not transitive Example Suppose A = {a, b, c, d} and R is the relation {(a, a)}. relation is... This not reflexive not irreflexive symmetric antisymmetric not asymmetric transitive The examples above illustrate three rather different relations. Some of the relations have many of the properties defined on Section 1.5, whereas one has only one of the property. It is entirely possible to create a relation with none of the properties given in Section 1.5. Exercise Give an example of a relation that does not satisfy any property given in Section Proving or Disproving Relations have a Property. Example Suppose T is the relation on the set of integers given by xt y if 2x y = 1. This relation is not reflexive Proof. 2 is an integer and = 2 1. This shows that x[x Z (x, x) T ] is not true. not irreflexive Proof. 1 is an integer and = 1. This shows that x[x Z (x, x) T ] is not true.

7 not symmetric 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 210 Proof. Both 2 and 3 are integers, = 1, and = 4 1. This shows 2R3, but 3 R2; that is, x y[(x, y) Z (y, x) T ] is not true. antisymmetric Proof. Let m, n Z be such that (m, n) T and (n, m) T. By the definition of T, this implies both equations 2m n = 1 and 2n m = 1 must hold. We may use the first equation to solve for n, n = 2m 1, and substitute this in for n in the second equation to get 2(2m 1) m = 1. We may use this equation to solve for m and we find m = 1. Now solve for n and we get n = 1. This shows that the only integers, m and n, such that both equations 2m n = 1 and 2n m = 1 hold are m = n = 1. This shows that m n[((m, n) T (n, m) T ) m = n]. not asymmetric Proof. 1 is an integer such that (1, 1) T. Thus x y[((x, y) T (b, a) T ] is not true (counterexample is a = b = 1). not transitive Proof. 2, 3, and 5 are integers such that (2, 3) T, (3, 5) T, but (2, 5) T. This shows x y z[(x, y) T (y, z) T (x, z) T ] is not true. Example Recall Example 1.2.2: R 2 N N was defined by (m, n) R 2 if and only if m n. reflexive Proof. Since n n for all integers, n, we have nr 2 n for every integer. This shows R 2 is reflexive. not irreflexive Proof. 1 is an integer and clearly 1R 2 1. This shows R 2 is not irreflexive. (you could use any natural number to show R 2 is not irreflexive). not symmetric Proof. 2 and 4 are natural numbers with 2 4, but 4 2, so 2R 2 4, but 4 R 2 2. This shows R 2 is not reflexive. antisymmetric Proof. Let n, m N be such that nr 2 m and mr 2 n. By the definition of R 2 this implies n m and m n. Hence we must have m = n. This shows R 2 is antisymmetric.

8 not asymmetric 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 211 Proof. Let m = n be any natural number. Then nr 2 m and mr 2 n, which shows R 2 is not asymmetric. (You may use a particular number to show R 2 is not asymmetric. transitive Proof. Let p, q, r N and assume pr 2 q and qr 2 r. By the definition of R 2 this means p q and q r. We have proven in Integers and Division that this implies p r, thus pr 2 r. This shows R 2 is transitive. When proving a relation, R, on a set A has a particular property, the property must be shown to hold for all possible members of the set. For example, if you wish to prove that a given relation, R, on A is reflexive, you must take an arbitrary element x from A and show that xrx. Some properties, such as the symmetric property, are defined using implications. For example, if you are asked to show that a relation, R, on A is symmetric, you would suppose that x and y are arbitrary elements of A such that xry, and then try to prove that yrx. It is possible that a property defined by an implication holds vacuously or trivially. Exercise Let R be the relation on the set of real numbers given by xry if and only if x < y. Prove R is antisymmetric. When proving R does not have a property, it is enough to give a counterexample. Recall [ x yp (x, y)] x y P (x, y). Exercise Prove whether or not each of the properties in Section 1.5 holds for the relation in Example Exercise Prove whether or not each of the properties in Section 1.5 holds for the relation in Example Combining Relations. Important Question: Suppose property P is one of the properties listed in Section 1.5, and suppose R and S are relations on a set A, each having property P. Then the following questions naturally arise. (1) Does R (necessarily) have property P? (2) Does R S have property P? (3) Does R S have property P? (4) Does R S have property P?

9 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES Example of Combining Relations. Example Let R 1 and R 2 be transitive relations on a set A. Does it follow that R 1 R 2 is transitive? Solution: No. Here is a counterexample: A = {1, 2}, R 1 = {(1, 2)}, R 2 = {(2, 1)} Therefore, R 1 R 2 = {(1, 2), (2, 1)} Notice that R 1 and R 2 are both transitive (vacuously, since there are no two elements satisfying the conditions of the property). However R 1 R 2 is not transitive. If it were it would have to have (1, 1) and (2, 2) in R 1 R 2. Example gives a counterexample to show that the union of two transitive relations is not necessarily transitive. Note that you could find an example of two transitive relations whose union is transitive. However, the question asks if the given property holds for two relations must it hold for the binary operation of the two relations. This is a general question and to give the answer yes we must know it is true for every possible pair of relations satisfying the property. Here is another example: Example Suppose R and S are transitive relations on the set A. Is R S transitive? Solution: Yes. Proof. Assume R and S are both transitive and let (a, b), (b, c) R S. Then (a, b), (b, c) R and (a, b), (b, c) S. It is given that both R and S are transitive, so (a, c) R and (a, c) S. Therefore (a, c) R S. This shows that for arbitrary (a, b), (b, c) R S we have (a, c) R S. Thus R S is transitive Composition. Definitions (1) Let R 1 be a relation from A to B, and R 2 be a relation from B to C.

10 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 213 Then the composition of R 1 with R 2, denoted R 2 R 1, is the relation from A to C defined by the following property: (x, z) R 2 R 1 if and only if there is a y B such that (x, y) R 1 and (y, z) R 2. (2) Let R be a binary relation on A. Then R n is defined recursively as follows: Basis: R 1 = R Recurrence: R n+1 = R n R, if n 1. The composition of two relations can be thought of as a generalization of the composition of two functions, as the following exercise shows. Exercise Prove: If f : A B and g : B C are functions, then graph(g f) = graph(g) graph(f). Exercise Prove the composition of relations is an associative operation. Exercise Let R be a relation on A. Prove R n R = R R n using the previous exercise and induction. Exercise Prove an ordered pair (x, y) R n if and only if, in the digraph D of R, there is a directed path of length n from x to y. Notice that if there is no element of B such that (a, b) R 1 and (b, c) R 2 for some a A and c C, then the composition is empty Example of Composition. Example Let A = {a, b, c}, B = {1, 2, 3, 4}, and C = {I, II, III, IV }. R 1 = {(a, 4), (b, 1)} R 2 = {(1, II), (1, IV ), (2, I)} Then R 2 R 1 = {(b, II), (b, IV )} It can help to consider the following type of diagram when discussing composition of relations, such as the ones in Example as shown here.

11 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 214 a b c I II III IV Example If R and S are transitive binary relations on A, is R S transitive? Solution: No. Here is a counterexample: Let R = {(1, 2), (3, 4)}, and S = {(2, 3), (4, 1)}. Then both R and S are transitive (vacuously). However, is not transitive. (Why?) R S = {(2, 4), (4, 2)} Example Suppose R is the relation on Z defined by arb if and only if a b. Then R 2 = R. Exercise Let R be the relation on the set of real numbers given by xry if and only if x y = 2. (1) Describe the relation R 2. (2) Describe the relation R n. Exercise Let P be a property given below and let R and S be relations on A satisfying property P. When does the relation obtained by combining R and S using the operation given satisfy property P? (1) P is the reflexive property. (a) R S (b) R S (c) R S (d) R S (e) R S (f) R 1 (g) R n (2) P is the symmetric property.

12 (a) R S (b) R S (c) R S (d) R S (e) R S (f) R 1 (g) R n (3) P is the transitive property. (a) R S (b) R S (c) R S (d) R S (e) R S (f) R 1 (g) R n 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES Characterization of Transitive Relations. Theorem Let R be a binary relation on a set A. R is transitive if and only if R n R, for n 1. Proof. To prove (R transitive) (R n R) we assume R is transitive and prove R n R for n 1 by induction. Basis Step, n = 1. R 1 = R, so this is obviously true. Induction Step. Prove R n R R n+1 R. Assume R n R for some n 1. Suppose (x, y) R n+1. By definition R n+1 = R n R, so there must be some a A such that (x, a) R and (a, y) R n. However, by the induction hypothesis R n R, so (a, y) R. R is transitive, though, so (x, a), (a, y) R implies (x, y) R. Since (x, y) was an arbitrary element of R n+1, this shows R n+1 R. Now we must show the other direction : R n R, for n 1, implies R is transitive. We prove this directly. Assume (x, y), (y, z) R. But by the definition of composition, this implies (x, z) R 2. But R 2 R, so (x, z) R. This shows R is transitive.

13 1. RELATIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES 216 Theorem gives an important theorem characterizing the transitivity relation. Notice that, since the statement of the theorem was a property that was to be proven for all positive integers, induction was a natural choice for the proof. Exercise Prove that a relation R on a set A is transitive if and only if R 2 R. [Hint: Examine not only the statement, but the proof of Theorem ]

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