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Contents

2.2 Getting going ...............................................................................................4

2.3 The natural numbers and the integers.........................................................6

2.4 The rational numbers ..................................................................................8

2.5 The real numbers ......................................................................................12

2.6 Order, equivalence and tolerance relations ...............................................13

2.7 Mappings and functions ............................................................................18

2.8 Cardinality .................................................................................................21

2.9 Numbers, observation and measurement .................................................23

2.10 Multiple choice questions ........................................................................25

2.11 Conclusions.............................................................................................28

Answers to the SAQs ......................................................................................29

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 1 of 31

2.1 The aims, objectives, and plan for Session 2

Measurement is fundamental in complex systems, and this session aims to introduce you to some

of the common number systems. In doing so you can begin to get a feeling for how mathematics

works, and how one structure can be built out of another.

For example, the natural numbers are the whole numbers. These can be added and multiplied

according to some simple assumptions. By formalising the operations of addition the intuitive

concept of subtraction can be defined. This brings the problem that subtracting one natural

number from another does not necessarily give a natural number, and leading to the construction

of the integers, including negative numbers. Having made the integers and shown they behave

well for practical purposes like counting, multiplication suggests an inverse operation of division

leading to fractions, or the ‘rational numbers’. Remarkably, the properties of the rational numbers

can be deduced from the properties of the integers. In other words, the rational (fractional

numbers) are constructed from the integers.

In the process of investigating these simple number systems, we encounter ‘obvious’ thing like

cancellation, e.g. 12/15 = 4/5. You do this all the time, but have you ever wondered if the

cancellation law is always true? You can ‘prove’ this example by multiplying the left hand side

by 3/3, to get 12/15 = 4/5 3/3 = 12/15. But you can’t prove the cancellation law for every

number like this. What about the general case? That 12/15 = 4/5 may be so obvious that there

seems to be nothing more to say. This session will show that there is a lot more to say. When you

work with mathematicians they may have a bewildering tendency to worry about the ‘obvious’,

instead of cutting to chase to focus on what you see as the real issue. Hopefully this session will

illustrate why mathematicians are so fussy, and what the payoffs of such attention to detail may

be. Thus another aim of this session is to introduce you to the ‘culture’ of mathematics, while

learning something of practical use.

When one writes 4/2 = 2 what does it mean. Clearly the symbols 4/2 and 2 are different. Even

writing 2 = 2 is problematic, because to 2 on the left side is manifestly not the same symbol as

that on the right. So what does ‘equals’ really mean? Mathematics gives us the means to escape

from such conundrums by the concept of ‘equivalence’. This uses the set theory of Session 1.

Equivalence raises questions of whether one should allow classifications in which the sets

intersect. If so, the counting can go horribly wrong since things in intersections may be double or

multiple counted. It will be shown that such concerns are unwarranted, because the ‘principle of

inclusion-exclusion’ takes care of everything beautifully.

The development of the mathematics of ‘equivalence’ is closely related to the development of the

notion of ordering, used for important concepts such as ‘better’ and ‘worse’, ‘bigger’ and

‘smaller’, and so on. When taking measurements not everything can be compared with everything

else, and the mathematics of partially order sets investigates this. This concludes with tolerance

relations that capture the commonly observation that a is related to b, and b is related to c but a is

not related c, e.g. a may know b and b may know c but a may not know c.

Assigning numbers to things involves making associations between those things and numbers.

Mathematics has developed a language to express clearly how the elements of one set can be

‘mapped’ to the elements of other sets, including sets of numbers. The notion of ‘composition’

then allows the resolution of things that are problematic when expressed in a natural language

like English, e.g. “Simpson’s finger is part of Simpson, Simpson is part of the Philosophy

Department, Simpson’s finger is part of the Philosophy Department”. Furthermore, the theory of

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 2 of 31

‘mappings’ or ‘functions’ underlies the concept of ‘cardinal numbers’, which give deep insights

into the perplexing and counter-intuitive notions of ‘infinity’ and infinite sets of numbers. It can

be shown, for example, that there are ‘as many’ whole numbers as there are fractions. Apart

giving insights into the nature of sets used for measurement, this discussion again illustrates how

mathematicians set about investigating these things.

Analysing the number systems prepares the way for Steven’s classification of measurement scales

in to ‘nominal’, ‘ordinal’, ‘interval’ and ‘ratio’. Understanding the differences is fundamental in

science because mapping observations into the wrong scale and applying inappropriate operations

will almost certainly lead to unscientific nonsense.

to illustrate the methods and culture of mathematics,

to show how mathematicians handle ‘infinity’

to provide a solid mathematical foundations for measurement.

to define and investigate the properties of the natural numbers and integers

to develop the rational numbers from the integers

to introduce irrational numbers and the real numbers

to introduce order, equivalence and tolerance relations

to define and investigate the properties of mappings and functions

to define cardinality and investigate the cardinality of the integers, rationals and reals

to review Steven’s classification of nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio scales

to reflect on the way mathematics develops these things

to consider the implications of all these things for scientific observation

The plan of the session is to define numbers and the elementary number systems in Sections 2.2,

2.3, 2.4, and 2.5, and to show how mathematicians set about investigating the properties of these

things. Following this Sections 2.6 introduces the concepts of equivalence, order and tolerance

relations, again illustrating how mathematicians set about making such concepts well defined and

operational. Section 2.7 introduces mappings which, of fundamental importance in their own

right, are needed to pin down the intuition of ‘infinity’ through the concept of ‘cardinality’ in

Section 2.8. Section 2.9 completes the development of the session with Steven’s classification of

measurement scales, and the operations that can be legitimately performed when making

observations. The session ends with the usual multiple choice questions in Section 2.10 and the

Conclusions in Section 2.11.

Session 2 covers a lot of ideas and is a ‘double session’. If you can read and understand most of

what it says you will be well on the way to understanding some very useful mathematics, and

understanding the culture of the mathematicians who created it.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 3 of 31

2.2 Getting going

Numbers are important in science. Arguably we can observe things in three ways: we can observe

that something exists, we can observe relationships between things, and we can count things.

Counting uses the most fundamental set of numbers, the so-called natural numbers, 1, 2, 3, … It

is generally easy to devise algorithms for counting, at least for small number of things. What

about counting the population of a country? This is such a big job that no individual could do it

alone.

As you read in the previous lesson, mathematics has a chronic shortage of symbols. Numbers are

so important that they get their own symbols, which are not used for anything else, or hardly ever.

In our script the following symbols are used for whole numbers

123456789

which is pretty good, except that there’s only nine symbols for the enormous (infinite whatever

that means) set of all numbers. The way we cope with this is counting to make groups of ten, and

then counting those, if necessary making groups of ten tens which we call hundreds, and so on.

But what symbols should be used for these groupings?

The Romans had the idea of giving the groups their own symbols, so ten became X, a hundred C,

and a thousand M. They also used the symbols I and V for one and five, and L for fifty. As you

probably know there is a rather irregular set of rules for combining the symbols, so that

MCMXXIIXX in Figure 1 is 1928: one thousand (M) plus nine hundred (CM – a thousand minus

the hundred in front) plus twenty (XX) plus eight (ten minus the two one’s in front)

Figure 1. The number MCMXXIIXX in roman numerals from a statue in Kew Gardens 1

You may remember the quotation of Bertrand Russell from Session 1: “... a good notation has a

subtlety and suggestiveness which make it seem, at times, like a live teacher.” Roman numerals

provide a perfect example of the opposite. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing Roman

numerals is not always easy, which is probably why the Romans made a limited contribution to

mathematics. For example, what is X X X + IX x IX IX? 2 . The system we use today of

placing numeral in columns, from right to left, of units, tens, hundreds, and so on is much better

and supports very well the ‘algorithms’ for arithmetical calculation. Figure 2 shows various

number systems that have been used throughout history, with many of them based on groups of

dashes, dots or wedges.

1

Hamo Thornycroft’s A Sower in London's Kew Gardens, from ‘Roman numerals: how they work’,

http://www.web40571.clarahost.co.uk/roman/howtheywork.htm (referenced 19th Aug 2006)

2

I don’t know how to calculate this in Roman numerals. I can get X x X x X + IX x IX x IX = C x X + XXCI x IX, but

although I know C x X = M, I don’t know how to calculate XXCI x IX. Using ordinary numbers this becomes 10 x 10

x 10 + 9 x 9 x 9 = 1000 + 81 x 9 = 1000 + 729 = 1729, which I can do in my head.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 4 of 31

Egyptian

Babylonian

Roman

Chinese

Indian

Mayan

Arabic

Thai

There is a sleight of hand in Figure 2. Although zero does not appear as the first number in the

lists, it is slipped in to the symbols for ten and a hundred for the Indian, Arabic, and Thai scripts.

In Session 1 you learned that symbols like the equals sign are relatively recent inventions. So too

is the zero sign, at least as far as Europe is concerned. In the chapter of his book The nothing that

is: a natural history of zero 4 entitled ‘The Greeks had no word for zero’ Kaplan writes:

“Why had it taken so long to signify nothing? … And why, having surfaced, did it submerge

again? The reasons reach down to the ways we turn thoughts and words into each other, and the

bemusement this can cause, then as now. Amusement too: think of the please we take in

Gershwin’s I got plenty o’ nuttin’, nuttin’s plenty for me. We turn over this seeming nonsense

with a kind of reflective zest, savoring the difference between what it says and what it means”.

Kaplan’s book traces the history of zero. It goes back to the Mayan civilisation (300 BC – 900

AD) whose symbol for zero was a tattooed man with his head thrown back. It seems to have been

independently discovered in India in the ninth century and was spread East and West by Arab

merchants. Zero was still considered mysterious or even diabolical in the Europe of the middle

ages.

So, our symbols 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 for numbers are the product of much invention and

reflection, as is our method of arranging the symbols in columns which enables relatively simple

algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

3

http://kr.cs.ait.ac.th/~radok/math/mat1/mat11.htm#Number%20symbols (referenced 20th august 2006)

4

The nothing that is: a natural history of zero, Robert Kaplan, Oxford University Press, 1999.(page 14).

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 5 of 31

2.3 The natural numbers and the integers

An integer is a whole number, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 2006, 1000000. The set of natural numbers is the set

of positive integers, and will be denoted by the symbol N. Thus one can write N = { 1, 2, 3, …}.

The natural numbers have the property that they are closed under the operations of addition and

multiplication, i.e. if x N and y N then. x + y N and x y N.

The natural numbers are not closed under subtraction or division since some combinations are not

part of the set, e.g. if y > x, then x – y N and x y N.

The terminology for number sets is not used consistently, with some authors allowing zero to

belong to the natural numbers. To clarify the situation, Weisstein suggests the terminology 5

..., –2, –1, 0, 1, 2, ... integers Z

1, 2, 3, 4, ... positive integers Z+

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, ... nonnegative integers Z–*

0, –1, –2, –3, –4, ... nonpositive integers

–1, –2, –3, –4, ... negative integers Z––

This session will begin by looking at the set of integers, which is closed under addition and its

inverse operation subtraction (if x Z and y Z then. x – y Z ). Actually ‘minus’ is a peculiar

operation which is really a special kind of addition with x – y equivalent to x + (–y).

Formally, the integers obey the following axioms for addition

(ii) associativity: (x + y) + z = x + (y + z) for all x, y, z Z

(iii) identity: there exists an element e Z such that e + x = x + e = x for all x Z

(iv) inverses: for every x Z there exists (–x) Z such that x + (–x) = (–x) + x = e.

Closure is highly desirable because no matter how often the operation is repeated, the result

remains in the set. Associativity is another highly desirable property because it means the

operation can be evaluated in any order and so the parentheses can be omitted. The identity

element for addition is zero, that elusive and counter-intuitive symbol4. Having an identity

element allows the inverse elements to be defined, related to subtraction.

Generally, a system that obeys the rules (i) to (iv) is called a group. Group theory is an important

area of mathematics with many mathematical systems being groups. Apart from being a group,

the set of integers satisfies another property:

The operation + is said to commute, and the integers is said to be a commutative group under

addition. Commutative groups are also called Abelian groups 6 .

5

Weisstein, Eric W. "Natural Number." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/NaturalNumber.html (referenced 20th August 2006)

6

Of many mathematical jokes, my favourites include “What is purple and commutes? – An Abelian grape”, and “what

is nutritious and commutes? – An Abelian soup”

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 6 of 31

Proposition 1. For the integers under addition

(ii) the inverse of the identity element is the identity element

(iii) the inverse of x is unique.

(iv) the inverse of the inverse of x under + is x, (– (–x)) = x.

Proof

(i) let e and e’ be identity elements. Then e + e’ = e and e + e’ = e’, so e = e’, and e = 0 is unique.

(ii) 0 + 0 = 0 + 0 = 0.

(iii) Let x’ and x” be inverses of x. Then x’ + x = x” + x. Add, say, x’ to each side.

x’ + x + x’ = x” + x + x’. So x’ + 0 = x” + 0, and x’ = x” and the inverse of x is unique.

(iv) Let (–x) be the inverse of x. Then x + (–x ) = 0. Add (– (–x)) to both sides to get

x + (–x ) + (– (–x)) = (– (–x)). Since (–x ) + (– (–x)) = 0, this gives x = (– (–x)).

■

Like the ‘propositions’ in Session 1, this one is so obvious that it hardly seems to need a proof.

Intuitively it’s clear that zero is unique, that zero is its own inverse, that additive inverses are

unique, and the inverse of the inverse is the original number. But here is a way of showing these

things in general. Mathematics likes to build on firm foundations.

So what does ‘minus’ mean? Define it as x – y = x + (–y). Does subtraction behave as well as

addition?

SAQ 1

(ii) Is subtraction an associative operation for the integers?

(iii) Does subtraction have an identity element for the integers?

(iv) Does subtraction of integers have inverses?

(v) Is subtraction commutative for the integers?

■

The integers form a structure called a semigroup under multiplication, since they satisfy the

axioms

(ii) associativity: (x y) z = x (y z)

Actually they are more than this because they satisfy the identity axiom

A system satisfying (i), (ii), and (iii) is called a monoid. In fact the integers form a commutative

monoid under multiplication, by satisfying the following axiom

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 7 of 31

How do addition and multiplication work together? In Session 1 you saw how the operations

union and intersection work together:

C (A B) = (A B) C = (A C) (B C),

C (A B) = (A B) C = (A C) (B C)

Plus and minus also work together with their own distributive laws:

(x + y) z = (x z) + (x z)

z (x + y) = (z x) + (z y)

A system such as Z with two binary operations, such as addition and multiplication, where ( Z, +)

is a commutative group, ( Z, ) is a monoid, and multiplication is distributive over plus is called

a ring (there are some variations in the literature – see for example Weisstein 7 ).

SAQ 2

(ii) Deduce from this that (–1) (–1) = 1

Hint: Expand 0 = (n + (–n) ) (–m)) using the distributive laws, and add (n m) to both sides of

the equation.

■

If you did the SAQs you may think that it was a lot of work just to show some rather obvious

things in arithmetic. But this work is not misplaced. Although it’s taken for granted, arithmetic is

very important in science, and it’s worth taking some trouble to get the foundations established in

a rigorous way. This is one of the major points of mathematics – we want to be really sure that

what we deduce is absolutely correct. A science based on mathematics greatly benefits from the

commitment to correctness and truth, even though mathematics itself cannot guarantee either.

The integers are very useful for counting discrete objects, but generally science need fractions. A

rational number is any number that can be expressed in the form

p

or p/q or p q

q

where p and q are integers and q 0. 8 The number p is called the numerator and the number q is

called the denominator. The rational numbers are denoted by the symbol Q derived from the

German word Quotient which translates as ‘ratio’ 9 .

7

Weisstein, Eric W. "Ring." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Ring.html

8

Note how mathematics builds on its foundations. In principle we have established quite a lot about the integers, and

we can have confidence in defining new things based on them. Those ‘obvious’ properties that were established so

laboriously will come in handy in investigating the new things based on them.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 8 of 31

Addition of rational numbers is defined as

a c (a d) + (b c) (1)

+ =

b d bd

a c ac

= (2)

b d bd

Proof: We want to show (a/b c/d) e/f = a/b (c/d e/f) (3)

By associativity of integer multiplication, we get

= (a (c e))/(b (d f)) = a/b (c e))/(d f) = a/b (c/d e/f)

and multiplication of rational numbers is also associative.

■

What we have just done is rather remarkable. We have just proved a property of the rational

numbers based on a property of the integers (associativity). It works for addition too:

Proof: we want to show that (a/b + c/d) + e/f = a/b + (c/d + e/f )

(a/b + c/d) + e/f = ((a d) + (b c))/( b d) + e/f

= ((a d) + (b c)) f + (( b d) e)/(( b d) f )

by the distributive law of the integers applied to f, this gives

= (((a d) f) + ((b c) f) + (( b d) e) )/ (( b d) f ).

Because the integers are associative, redundant parentheses can be removed to give

= ((a d f) + (b c f) + (b d e))/ (b d f ) (4’)

By a similar expansion and argument we get

a/b + (c/d + e/f) = a/b + ((c f ) + (d e))/(d f ) =

((a (d f)) +(b ((c f )) + (d e)))/((d f ) b) =

((a (d f)) +((b (c f )) + (b (d e))/((d f ) b)

= ((a d f) + (b c f ) + (b d e))/(d f b)

Because the integers are commutative the denominator can be changed to (b d f )

= (a d f) + (b c f ) + (b d e)/ (b d f )

which is the same as (4’). Thus we shown that

(a/b + c/d) + e/f = a/b + (c/d + e/f )

demonstrating that addition is associative for the rational numbers

■

Apart from associativity of the integers, this proof also required commutativity of integer

multiplication and the distributive law of multiplication over addition. Now for commutativity…

9

Weisstein, Eric W. "Rational Number." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/RationalNumber.html (reference 19th August 2006)

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 9 of 31

Proposition 4. Rational addition is commutative

Because the integers commute under addition and multiplication we get

= ((c b) + (d a))/(d b) = (c/d) + (a/b)

which demonstrates that the rationals commute under addition.

■

(a/b) (c/d) = (a d)/(b c) = (d a)/(c b) = (c/d) (a/b)

■

Proof:

(ii) 0/1 + p/q = ((0 q) + ( 1 p))/(1 q) = ((0 + ( 1 p))/(1 q) = (1 p)/(1 q) = p/q

■

Conventionally the symbol 0 is used for 0/1.

Proof:

1/1 p/q = (1 p)/( 1 q) = p/q

■

Associativity, commutativity and the existence of identities are powerful properties, and it is very

useful to be able to start with the properties of the integers and demonstrate that the rationals are

associative and commutative. We can also show they obey a cancellation law.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 10 of 31

Proposition 8. For all rational numbers a/b and integers n 0,

(ii) (a n)/(b n) = a/b,

Proof

(i) By commutativity of the rationals

n/1 a/1 b/1 = n/1 b/1 a/1, giving

(n a)/1 b/1 = (n b)/1 a/1

Post-multiply both sides by 1/b to get

(n a)/1 b/1 1/b = (n b)/1 a/1 1/b, so that

(n a)/1 = (n b)/1 a/b

Pre-multiply both sides by 1/(n b) to get

1/(n b) (n a)/1 = 1/(n b) (n b)/1 a/b, so that

1/(n b) (n a)/1 = a/b, or

(1 (n a))/( (n b) 1 ) = a/b, giving the desired result

(n a)/( (n b) = a/b

■

SAQ 3. Show that the rational numbers without zero form an Abelian group under multiplication

■

The rationals satisfy the axioms for a ring, but because multiplication has inverses and has a

group structure, they form what is called field 10 . According to Wikipedia 11 , a field is a

commutative ring (F, +, ) such that 0 does not equal 1 and all elements of F except 0 have a

multiplicative inverse. (Note that 0 and 1 here stand for the identity elements for the + and

operations respectively. A field is defined by the properties:

(ii) Both + and are associative

For all a, b, c in F, a + (b + c) = (a + b) + c and a (b c) = (a b) c.

(iii) Both + and are commutative

For all a, b belonging to F, a + b = b + a and a b = b a.

(iv) The operation is distributive over the operation +

For all a, b, c, belonging to F, a (b + c) = (a b) + (a c).

(v) Existence of an additive identity

There exists an element 0 in F, such that for all a belonging to F, a + 0 = a.

(vi) Existence of a multiplicative identity

There exists an element 1 in F different from 0, such that for all a belonging to F, a 1 = a.

(vii) Existence of additive inverses

For every a belonging to F, there exists an element −a in F, such that a + (−a) = 0.

(viii) Existence of multiplicative inverses

For every a ≠ 0 belonging to F, there exists an element a−1 in F, such that a a−1 = 1.

10

For more information on the rationals see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_number

11

This definition is adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_(mathematics)

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 11 of 31

2.5 The real numbers

The decimal numbers that are widely used for scientific measurement are examples of rational

numbers. For example, 13.7934 can be written as 137934/1000. These are finite decimals in

which the numerator and denominator, however large, are finite integers. But infinite decimals

are commonly encountered, in theory if not in practice. For example 1/3 = .333333… , is a

rational number with an infinite decimal expansion. The three dots are read as “and so on”,

suggesting the expansion goes on for ever.

Many common numbers, such as 2 (pronounced ‘root-two’ or ‘square root of two’, with the

property that 2 = 2 2) and (the Greek letter pi is pronounced “pie”) cannot be expressed in

the form p/q as rational numbers, and they are called irrational numbers.

Rational numbers have finite periodic decimal expansion (e.g. 1/3 = 0.3333…) while irrational

numbers have an infinite expansion with no periodic pattern, for example 2 = 1.4142135…).

The set of rational and irrational numbers is called the real numbers and is often denoted by the

symbol R. The real numbers mark a major shift in thinking, and do not follow as smoothly from

the rationals as the rationals did from the integers.

Every irrational number has a non-finite decimal expansion, which is challenging for scientists

making measurements. Can scientists observe irrational quantities?

To illustrate this, consider a right angle triangle with shortest sides of length 1. Then, by

Pythagoras’ theorem, the hypotenuse, the long side, has length equal to the square root of 12 + 12

= 2. So measurements can be made of multiples of 1 unit using the short side, and measurements

can be made of multiples of 2 using the long side as an instrument.

length = 1 length = 2 ?

length = 1

Figure 3. Can irrational quantities like 2 be observed directly?

I don’t agree with this argument. In my view, which may differ from yours, all measurements are

finite and at best approximations to the ‘true’ underlying value. Measuring with any side of the

triangle will result in errors, and this is a fundamental aspect of our science.

In some parts of traditional physics, e.g. the gas laws, errors in measurement did not have much

impact, but for systems which have the property of being ‘sensitive to initial conditions’

measurement error completely constrains what can be known about them. This leads to a branch

of mathematics and science called ‘chaos theory’ which will be discussed later in the course.

The mathematics of the real numbers is very interesting and worth studying further, but it would

be too long a digression to include here. Like the rational numbers, the real numbers form a field

under addition and multiplication. They also have other properties to do with ‘ordering’.

The mathematical models scientists create of complex systems make various assumptions about

external reality, measurement, and the representation of measurement. Should the theory be

developed in terms of the rational numbers or the reals? Does it make any difference? Are these

are issues that all scientists should have an opinion on?

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 12 of 31

2.6 Order, equivalence and tolerance relations

What does ‘equals’ mean in mathematics. We write 2 = 2 2 but the symbols are different.

Even writing 2 = 2 has the problem that the 2 on the left is not the same 2 as that on the right.

Two ten pound notes are equal but clearly not the same thing, so they are not equal. The way

round such conundrums is to define classes of equivalent things, with all members of the class

being equivalent but not necessary exactly the same thing. Some elegant mathematics can make

this clear.

Let S be a set. Let R be a binary relation on the set such that for any two elements a and b of S

we can say either that a is R-related to b or that it is not. When a is related to b we show it by

writing a R b.

(ii) symmetry, if a R b then b R a

(iii) transitivity, if a R b and b R c then a R c

Proposition 9. If R is a binary relation on the set S satisfying the above axioms, then there exists

a class of subsets of S, S = { S1, S2, S3, … } such that each a S belongs to one and only one

subset Si, and a R b if and only if a and b belong to the same subset.: Si Sj = if and only if i j.

Also S is the union of all the subsets, i.e S = i Si. S called a partition of S and its members are

called equivalence classes.

Proof

For every member of S form the set R(a) = { b | a R b}. Every element of R(a) is R-related to all

the others: let b and c belong to R(a). Then a R b and a R c. By symmetry, (ii), b R a, so that b R a

and a R c which by transitivity (iii) gives b R c, and by symmetry c R b. Suppose R(a) R(b) ,

with c R(a) R(b), and let d belong to R(a). Then d R c and c R a so by transitivity, d R a, so

every element of R(a) is an element of R(b), and R(a) R(b). Suppose c R(a) R(b), and let d

belong to R(b). Then a R c and c R d, so that d belongs to R(a), showing R(a) R(b). The

combination of R(a) R(b) and R(a) R(b) means that R(a) = R(b). Thus for any of the sets R(a)

and R(b), they are either equal or disjoint.

■

Equivalence relations and partitions are extremely powerful analytic tools. e.g. if p Q is a

number called ‘price’, then one can form the set of everything with that price. Everything within

that set has the same price as everything else. If an object has one price, it does not belong to any

set of objects with a different price. Economists use the term ‘indifference classes’ for the sets of

things that cost the same. Personally I think this is an unfortunate term because, even if they cost

the same, I am not indifferent to having an elephant or two tons of butter. No doubt the counter

argument is that I can trade my elephant for the butter in the market, but I think that is simplistic.

If you are an economist you can tell me if I’m wrong. My point is that that is it more accurate to

say that elephant and butter are equivalent in terms of price, rather than to imply the

psychological state of mind of indifference. This mathematical formulation allows just such

precision.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 13 of 31

Classification is a powerful analytic technique in science, e.g. the classification of animals and

plants was a precursor to Darwin formulating his theory of evolution. Although powerful,

equivalence relations can be abused and can lead to problems. I encountered such a problem

when researching the classification of television programmes 12 .

The classification of television programmes is traditionally done by the statistics departments of

most TV companies, and the classes are usually rather peculiar. For example, the following

classification might be used: { drama, current affairs, documentaries, news, light entertainment,

sport, children’s programmes, education}. These ‘classes’ can be rather strange: some of them

reflect the form of the programme (e.g. drama, light entertainment, education), some of them

reflect time-related non-fiction (e.g. news, current affairs), some of them reflect the audience

(children, education for students), and some of them represent the content (e.g. sport). The

methodology for collecting statistics for such a scheme generally involves a person assigning a

programme to the class he or she thinks is most appropriate. However, there is a problem with

this. What if something belongs to more than one class? For example suppose a sub-classification

of sport includes { ball games, water sports, athletics, … }. How should water polo be classified?

Ball games or water sport but not both? Arbitrarily putting it into one box or the other could be a

data collection error

A B

A B

11 3 7

17 13 9

10

6 2

C

8

(a) |AB| = |A| + |B| – |A B| (b) |A BC| = |A| + |B| + |C| – |A B| – |A C| – |B C| + |A B C|

Figure 4. The Principle of inclusion-exclusion for counting class members

Today it is becoming more widely accepted that classes may intersect. The traditional reason for

forcing data into partitioned sets was to avoid double counting. Let | X | be the number of

elements in set X. For example, in Figure 4(a), simply adding together the numbers |A| = 30 and

|B| = 22, gives the number 52, which is too large for |A B|. Similarly, in Figure 4(b), adding |A|

= 30 plus |B| = 22 plus |C| = 26 gives 78 which is also too big for |A B C |. If the sets had no

intersections there would not be this problem.

adding the values in the sets, subtracting all their pairwise intersections, adding all their triple-

wise intersections, subtracting all their 4-wise intersection, and so on. Each subtraction takes off

too much to be compensated by the next addition, until the whole sum is done. In Figure 4(a),

|A BC| = |A| + |B| + |C| – |A B| – |A C| – |B C| + |A B C| = 30 + 22 + 26 – 13 – 16 – 12 + 10 = 47.

12

The structure of television. Gould, P., Johnson, J., Chapman, G., Pion (London), 1984.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 14 of 31

To my mind, the equivalence relation and the resulting partition are very elegant. These axioms,

in a slightly modified form give rise to other mathematical structures of great importance, the

order relations.

(ii’) anti-symmetry, if a R b and b R a then a = b

(iii) transitivity, if a R b and b R c then a R c

(iv) total comparability, for all a and b in S, either a R b or b R a or both

A relation that satisfies (i), (ii), (iii) is called a partial order, usually written a b. For example,

in Figure 5 the rectangles are joined by a line if one will fit into the other, e.g. b fits into a and

they are connected by a line. The ‘fits’ into relation satisfies (i) since every box fits into itself, and

(ii) because no box both fits into a different box and has that box fit into it, and (iii) because if

box x fits into box y and box y fits into box z, then box y fits into box z. The ‘fits into’ partial

order does not satisfy (iv) because, for example, b does not fit into c and c does not fit into b. In

this case b and c are said to be non-comparable. Partially ordered sets are often called posets.

The Hasse diagram in Figure 5 has a line between two elements x and y if x y and there is no

z with x z and z y. The order is shown top to bottom. If there is a downwards path between x

and y then y x. For example h a in the figure. Hasse diagrams provide a useful way of

specifying a partial order.

b c d e f

g h i j k

Figure 5. A Hasse diagram of the ‘fits into’ partial order on a set of boxes.

A partial order that satisfies (iv) is called a total order. All the number sets studied in this session

are totally ordered. For example the integers are totally ordered by the rule a b if and only if

there exists a non-negative integer, n with a + n = b. This is reflexive (n = 0), anti-symmetric a

b and b a implies a = b. It is transitive because if a + n = b and b = n’ + c, n 0 and n’ 0 then

a + n + n’ = c, n + n’ 0, and a c.

SAQ 4

(i) Give an example of a totally ordered set in your field.

(ii) Give an example of a partially ordered set in your field.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 15 of 31

To finish this section we define a tolerance relation to be a relation that satisfies just the axioms

(ii) symmetry, if a R b then b R a

Although very simple, this is perhaps one of the most frequently encountered and perplexing

relations in the science of complex systems. To illustrate this consider the Escher picture Sky and

Water shown in Figure 6. On the right are drawn shapes corresponding to the fish and the birds.

The relation ‘looks very similar to’ is a tolerance relation, since every shape looks very similar to

itself, and if a is very similar to b then b is very similar to a. However, similarity is not transitive,

for example, fish 1 is very similar to fish 2, and fish 2 is very similar to fish 3, but fish 1 is not

very similar to fish 3. A tolerance relation can be drawn as a network, and Figure 6(a) and (b)

show that birds and fishes have their own disconnected networks. There is another network (not

shown) for the ‘adjacent to’ tolerance relation, which has these two networks as sub networks. I

think it is a combination of our eyes moving round these tolerance structures that makes the

picture so fascinating.

(a) Escher’s Sky and Water (b) fish and bird shapes

21

20

22 23

24 25 26 18 19

29 15 16 17

27 28 30

12 19

31 32 33 11 14

7 8 9 10

34 35 36

5 6

37 4

38

3

39 2

Figure 6 Similarity and closeness are tolerance relations in Escher’s picture

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 16 of 31

A B C D E

The intersection relation on sets is a tolerance relation, as illustrated above. Here A has things in

common with B which has things in common with C which has things in common with D which

has things in common with E.

Proposition 10. Having non-empty intersection is a tolerance relation on a class of non-null sets.

Proof

■

Despite A and E having nothing in common in Figure 7, they are connected through the

intermediate sets. This can be very important in the dynamics of systems.

For example, let A be the set of people who regularly visit the Angel pub. Let B be the set of

people who regularly visit the Blacksmith’s Arms pub, C be the set of people who regularly visit

City Bar, D be the set of people who visit the Dew Drop Inn, and E be the set of people who

regularly visit the Enigma Hotel. Suppose someone in A knows a very good joke and they tell it

when next in the Angel pub. The joke is likely to spread quickly round the pub, including those

people in A B. The next time one of these people goes to the Blacksmiths Arms it’s likely they

will tell the joke there, and it will spread rapidly around B, including those people in B C. In

this way the joke will pass down the chain of interesting sets to enter E through D E. Thus the

joke will have been transmitted through the chain of sets from A to E, even though they have no

customers in common. In practice I think this is exactly how jokes and information spread.

Most people who use pubs tend to use a variety in their neighbourhoods. Thus the local

intersection structure can be highly connected. The more highly connected two pubs are, the more

likely it is that things like jokes will pass between them. Thus the intersection structure of sets can

play an essential role in the transmission of information. This is highly relevant for modelling the

dynamics of complex human systems.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 17 of 31

2.7 Mappings and functions

Let A and B be sets. A mapping from A to B is a rule that assigns a member of B to each member

of A. We write f : A B. This is read as “f takes A to B” or “f maps A to B”. We write f (x) for

the element assigned to x in B by f. Here, A is called the domain of f and B is called the codomain

or range of f. The words function and transformation are also used instead of the word mapping.

For example in Figure 8(a) h is a mapping from { a, b, c, d, e} to { v, w, x, y, z }. In Figure 8(b) A

is the letters of the alphabet and I is the set of non-negative integers and the mapping : A I

assigns each letter to its position in the alphabet ( is the Greek letter phi, and is usually

pronounced ‘phie’ to rhyme with ‘pie’).

Let f : A B. We write f (A) = { f (a) | for all a in A} where { f (a) | for all a in A} B. When f

(A) is a proper subset of B, f (A) B, we say that f maps A into B. Since h(A) { v, w, x, y, z },

and (A) I, both h and are into-mappings. f is said to be an onto mapping when f(A) = B,

mapping A onto B.

When there exist a and a’ (the symbol a’ is read “a-prime”) with f (a) = f (a’), f is said to be a

many-to-one or many-one mapping, e.g. h is many-to-one since h(a) = h(d).

A mapping is said to be one-to-one if f (a) f (a’) for all a and a’ in A. is an example of a one-

to-one into mapping. A one-to-one into mapping is called an injection, so is an injection from A

into I.

0

a 1

b 2

c 3

d 4

e 5

f 6

g 7

h 8

a v i 9

j 10

k 11

l 12

b w m 13

n 14

o 15

c x p 16

q 17

r 18

d y s 19

t 20

h u 21

v 22

e z w 23

x 24

y 25

z 26

27

:

(a) h:{ a, b, c, d, e} { v, w, x, y, z } (b) : A I :

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 18 of 31

f f

B f (A) f (A) = B

A f (A) A f (A)

or “g circle f ”), is defined by the rule g o f (a) = g( f (a)) for each member of A. g( f (a)) is read as

“g of f of a”.

SAQ 5

Let h:{ a, b, c, d, e} { v, w, x, y, z } and : A I as illustrated in Figure 8.

(a) What is o h(a)

(b) What is o h(b)

(c) What is o h(c)

(d) What is o h(d)

(e) What is o h(e)

(f) What is o h({ a, b, c, d, e})

■

h o (g o f)

(g o f)

f g h

A B C D

(h o g)

(h o g) o f

■

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 19 of 31

gof=f

f f g

A B A B A

g

(a) g f is an automorphism, g and f one-one (b) if g f is 1-1 onto then g = f -1 and g f = 1A.

Figure 10. Inverse mappings

The identity mapping for A, written 1A is the mapping 1A : A A with 1A (a) = a for all a in A.

The notation f -1 is often used for the inverse of f. Thus f -1 o f = f o f -1 = 1A.

To illustrate how compositions of mappings can be used, consider the following meronymic (part-

whole) relation ‘problem’ taken from (Winston et al, 1987) 13 :

Simpson’s finger is part of Simpson

Simpson is part of the Philosophy Department, so

Simpson’s finger is part of the Philosophy Department.

Let A be the set of parts of Simpson’s body, and let B be the set of people in the Philosophy

Department, and C be the set of departments in the University. Let f :A B map every part of

Simpson to Simpson with f ( Simpson’s Finger) = Simpson. Let g : B C map every member of

B to a department in C, with g( Simpson ) = Philosophy Department.

It is perfectly meaningful, if uninteresting, to write (g o f )( Simpson’s finger ) = Philosophy

Department. It is one of many true but uninformative things. It does not imply that Simpson’s

finger is g-related to the Philosophy Department, which is where the apparent problem arises.

This example illustrates how mathematics can resolve problems which are very puzzling when

expressed in words alone.

SAQ 6: Use mathematics to resolve the following conundrums from the paper by Winston et al

(i) A windshield is part of a car

This shard was part of a windshield

This shard was part of a car

(ii) Water is part of the cooling system

Water is partly hydrogen

Hydrogen in part of the cooling systems

■

Compared to a natural language such as English, mathematical composition immediately resolves

problems that cause great confusion in the analysis of multilevel systems. Altogether Winston et

al give some twelve troublesome meronymic relations involving ‘part of’ relationships. In every

case the ‘problem’ is unnecessary, being due to the same symbol, ‘part of’, ambiguously

representing different things in different sets.

13

Winston, M. E., Chaffin, R., Herrmann, D., ‘Taxonomy of Part-Whole Relations’, Cognitive Science, 11A, 417-444, 1987.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 20 of 31

2.8 Cardinality

Some of the number sets discussed in this session have strange and counter intuitive properties.

For example, how many numbers are there in the integers? Are there more rational numbers that

integers? Are there more real numbers than rational numbers?

You have probably seen the little symbol that looks like an eight on its side, and you probably

know it is read as ‘infinity’. If you multiply infinity by any number what do you get. Infinity! So

for example, 2 = . But dividing both sides by gives 2 = 1, which can’t be right? What’s

gone wrong?

The problem is that infinity doesn’t behave intuitively, and the only way to tame it is through

rigorous mathematics. There is not space or time enough here to do much, but we can put in place

some basic ideas.

Every set is assigned a symbol called its cardinality. For finite sets that symbol is n, the number

of elements in the sets. The cardinality of a set A can be denoted |A|. Any two sets that can be put

into one-to-one correspondence are said to have the same cardinality. The cardinality of the

natural numbers, N, is defined to 0. The symbol is aleph, and 0 is read as “aleph-zero”, or

“aleph-null” .

A set is said to be denumerable or countably infinite if its elements can be put in bijective one-to-

one correspondence with the natural numbers. A set is set to be countable if it is finite or

denumerable. Countable sets have cardinality 0.

Proposition 12. The set of non-negative integers is countable and has cardinality 0.

Proof.

Let f be defined by f : x x + 1. Then f(0) = 1, f(1) = 2, f(2) = 3, … This is 1-1 to one mapping,

The inverse function f-1 is also one-to-one, taking every element from the natural numbers to a

non-negative integer, So the non-negative integers is countable and has cardinality aleph zero.

■

Proof.

Left f map the integers to the non-negative integers with the rule

f( x ) = 2x for x 0

The mapping f is one-to-one and its inverse is a one-to-one mapping from the non-negative

integers to the integers, and the integers have cardinality 0.

■

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 21 of 31

Proposition 14. The rational numbers is a countable set.

Proof

The proof uses a diagonal argument as follows.

The rationals can be represented by ordered pairs of numbers, with p/q being represented by the

pair (p, q ). So lay out all the ps and qs as a table as shown in Figure 11. Figure 11 shows how to

take a path through the pairs of numbers. From this a formula can be abstracted as follows.

Figure 11. The diagonal layout for the proof that the rational numbers are countable

The pair (p, 1) is always in the position ((p+1) p)/2 when p is odd and position (p (p – 1))/2 +

1when p is even. For example (4,1) is in position (5 4)/2 = 10 and (3, 1) is in position

(3 2) / 2 + 1 = 4. Then the pair (p, q) is (q-1) positions on from (p, 1), so the mapping

assigns the pairs to a unique number arranged this way. Thus f : Q N is a one-to-one onto

function, and the rational numbers are countable with cardinality 0.

■

I find it very counter intuitive that a set as big as the rational numbers can be put in one-to-one

correspondence with the natural numbers, and has the ‘smallest’ non-finite cardinal number, 0.

There is an amusing story that exploits the counter intuitive properties of infinite sets. It is

supposed that the Cosmic Hotel has a countable number of rooms. Business is good and all the

rooms are booked. Then an unexpected inter-stellar space ship turns up with a countable number

of passengers who all need somewhere to stay for the night. At first there’s consternation trying

to decide what to do. Eventually the space ship captain suggests that the hotelier asks all the

existing guests to move to another room. If they are in room n would they kindly move to room

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 22 of 31

2n. This would leave all the odd numbered rooms free. Since there is a countable number of odd

numbers, these rooms can be assigned to the countable number of passenger in a one-to-one way,

so that everybody gets a room. This solution was implemented and everyone was happy!

Cardinal numbers can be ordered using the definition that | A | | B | if there is an injection from

A to B. If | A | | B | and | B | | A | then | A | = | B |. If | A | | B | and | A | | B | we write

| A | < | B |.

Recall from Session 1 that the power set, P (A) of a set A is the set of all its subsets. Cantor’s

theorem says the cardinality of the power set is greater than the cardinality of the set, | A | < | P

(A) |. E.g. | N | < | P (N) |, and the set of sets of natural numbers has higher cardinality than 0.

The continuum is the set of real numbers between 0 and 1, and it is written [0, 1]. Let the

continuum have cardinality c. This is called of the power of the continuum.

The continuum hypothesis asserts that there is no cardinal number between 0 and c, i.e. there is

no cardinal number | S | with 0 < | S | < c. The continuum hypothesis allows c to be rewritten as

1, read as aleph-one, with 0 < 1.

There is much, much more that one could say about infinity and cardinal numbers. For example

the cardinality of the real numbers is the power of the continuum, 1.

These ideas are relevant to the science of complex systems because the assumption that ‘space’

can be modelled using the real numbers is very strong. People modelling non-physical systems

might be able to make much weaker assumptions about the nature of the ‘spaces’ they are

researching.

This Session began with the assertion that there are three types of observation: we can observe

that something exists, we can observe relationships between things, and we can count things.

Having studied some number sets, the last of these can be expanded somewhat.

There are four well known scales for data collection devised by Stevens in 1946 14 :

Nominal or Categorical Scale

A categorical variable, or a nominal variable, is for mutually exclusive categories 15 . Examples

include gender, marital status, and ethnicity. As another example 16 , a study might compare five

different genotypes. Although the five genotypes might be coded by numbers, the order is

arbitrary and any calculations (for example, computing an average) would be meaningless. The

values of the scale have no 'numeric' meaning in terms of the operations discussed in this session.

Ordinal Scales

An ordinal variable is one for which the order matters but not the difference between scale

values. Assigning values uses the properties greater than, equals, and less than. Although one

could use numbers such as 1 < 2 < 3 < 4 < 5, this could be misleading, and it is better to use

neutral symbols such as A < B < C < D < E , thus avoiding illegal operations such as addition or

14

Stevens, S.S. (1946). On the theory of scales of measurement. Science, 103, 677-680.

15

I don’t think the classes of ordinal scales need to be exclusive.

16

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_measurement (accessed 20th August 2006)

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 23 of 31

subtraction. Examples include rating a book, a concert or a film (zero to five stars). Another

example is15 asking patients to express the amount of pain they are feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. A

score of 7 means more pain that a score of 5, and that is more than a score of 3. But the

‘difference’ between the 7 and the 5 may not mean the same as that between 5 and 3, and strictly

speaking is not defined.

Interval Scales

An interval scale allows measurement with meaningful differences between values. For example,

the difference between a temperature of 90 degrees and 80 degrees is the same difference as

between 20 degrees and 10 degrees since it relates to a fixed quantity, namely the energy

difference. People or objects on an interval scale have more of some attribute and that can be

meaningfully be represented by differences. For example, it is meaningful to say that one person

earns £ 10,000 p.a. more than another. Translating this into concepts of satisfaction could be

problematic, since these may exist only on an ordinal scale. Many personality measures are

assumed to operate on interval scales, but this should always be questioned.

Ratio scales

A ratio scale has is an interval scale with a zero. When the variable equals zero there is ‘none’ of

that variable. On a ratio scales, there is multiplication and division of scale values. Ratios of scale

values are equivalent, e.g. 2 to 1 is the same as 6 to 3. Examples include absolute temperature

measurement, annual income, and length in miles.

These categories of measurement have implications for the operations that are allowed on the

numbers, as summarised in the following table:

Allowable computations 17 Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio

frequency distribution ---------------------------------------------- Yes Yes Yes Yes

median and percentiles ------------------------------------------- No Yes Yes Yes

add or subtract ------------------------------------------------------ No No Yes Yes

mean, standard deviation, standard error of the mean --- No No Yes Yes

ratio, or coefficient of variation ---------------------------------- No No No Yes

In practice the interval and ratio scales can be abused, with computer analysis packages

producing meaningless or misleading ‘results’ because invalid assumptions about the scales.

Non-mathematical science tends to use nominal and ordinal scales expressed in natural language.

There is a schism in science between qualitative (nominal and ordinal data) and quantitative

(ordinal, interval, and ratio data). Arguably the distinction between ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative

methods cannot be made in the science of complex systems, since most complex systems use both

kinds of scales.

It is surprising how far one can get in the analysis of systems using just nominal data, especially

the classes are combined. Some binary relations are based on nominal yes/no data, and the

mathematics of network theory gives deep insights into those systems.

Most complex systems are multilevel with the dynamics at lower levels constraining and

constrained by the dynamics at higher level. As Simpson’s finger illustrates, a little mathematics

with its language of mappings and compositions can bring new clarity to nominal structures.

17

This table is taken from http://www.graphpad.com/faq/viewfaq.cfm?faq=1089 (accessed 20 Aug 2006)

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 24 of 31

2.10 Multiple choice questions

You have now completed all the formal material for this session. Answer each of the following

multiple choice questions by selecting what you think is the right answer. If you cannot answer

the question circle the x.

Each multiple choice question has one answer. Tick your choices.

(b) in France I the middle ages

(c) by the Mayans in the third century

(d) by the Arabs in the eight century

(e) by the Indians in the ninth century

(f) by the Chinese in the fourth century

(g) by the Romans in the second century

(h) by the Greeks in the first century BC

(x) don’t know

(b) closed under

(c) closed under

(d) closed under /

(e) closed under

(f) closed under

(g) closed under

(h) closed under –

(x) don’t know

(a) (a b) c = a (b c)

(b) a b = b c

(c) (a + b) c = (a c) + (a c)

(d) a b + c = (a c) + (a c)

(e) a b c = a b (c a )

(f) (a b) (a c) (b c) =

(g) a b c = a (b c)

(h) (a a) (b b) (c c) = a2 b2 c2

(x) don’t know

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 25 of 31

Q4. Addition for rational numbers is defined as

(b) a/b + c/d = (a c)/(b d )

(c) a/b c/d = (a + c) /( b d)

(d) a/b c/d = ((a + d) + (b + c))/( b + d)

(e) a/b c/d = ((a d) + (b c))/( b d)

(f) b/a + d/c = ((a d) + (b c))/( b d)

(g) a/b + c/d = ((a d) + (b c))/( b d)

(h) a/b + c/d = ((a + d) (b + c))/( b d)

(x) don’t know

Q5. 2 is

(a) 1.426

(b) a rational number

(c) a rational quotient

(d) an integer

(e) A truncated decimal

(f) an irrational number

(g) an irrational quotient

(h) a real exponent

(x) don’t know

(b) every field has a commutative addition and multiplication

(c) every ring is an Abelian group under addition

(d) the rational numbers form a field

(e) every Abelian group commutes

(f) the rational number is a subset of the reals

(g) the irrational numbers is a subset of the reals

(h) the real numbers is a subset of the cardinal numbers

(x) don’t know

(b) an equivalence relation is a transitive tolerance relation

(c) a total order has no non-comparable elements

(d) a partial order is reflexive, antisymmetric and transitive

(e) an equivalence relation partitions a set into equivalence classes

(f) a total order is an antisymmetric transitive tolerance relation

(g) every equivalence relation is a tolerance relation

(h) every total order is a partial order

(x) don’t know

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 26 of 31

Q8. For finite sets A, B, and C, which of the following is false

(b) |B A| = |A| | B| – |A B|

(c) |A B C | = |A| + | B| + | C| – |A B| – |A C| – |B C| + |A B C |

(d) |C A B | = |A| + | B| + | C| – |A B| – |A C| – |B C| + |A B C |

(e) |A B| = |A B| – |A B|

(f) |A B| = |A B| + |A B|

(g) |C A B | = |A| + | B| + | C| + |A B| + |A C| + |B C| – |A B C |

(h) |A B| = | B| – |A B| + |A|

(x) don’t know

(b) If f(A) g(B) then g f (A B)

(c) composition of mappings is associative

(d) meronymic relations concern parts and wholes

(e) the composition of an injection with an injection is an injection

(f) The composition of two 1-1 mappings is 1-1.

(g) if either of f or g is many-one then g f is many-one

(h) an injection is a one-to-one into mapping

(x) don’t know

(a) | Q | = 0

(b) the power of the continuum is 1

(c) a diagonal construction shows that the rationals are countable

(d) Cantor’s Theorem states that | A | < | P (A) |

(e) | Q Q | = 0

(f) | R | = 1

(g) if | A | < | B | then A cannot be mapped onto B

(h) the continuum hypothesis states that [0,1] is continuous.

(x) don’t know

complexity.open.ac.uk

Answers will returned by email.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 27 of 31

2.11 Conclusions

the rational numbers

the real numbers

order, equivalence and tolerance relations

Hasse Diagrams

transmission of dynamics through connected sets

mappings and functions

cardinality

the continuum hypothesis

measurement scales

Since observation lies at the heart of complex systems science – reconstructing models from data

– it is essential that one understands the nature of the sets used to make observations and

measurements. Certainly there are many phenomena that cannot be measured on ratio or even

interval scales, and there are many new mathematical ways to investigate such phenomena. Even

when a ratio scale is justified, the scientists should know when to use the rational numbers or the

reals for measurement and modelling.

If you have read and understood most of what has been covered in the session, you already have a

significant part of the basics of mathematics under your belt. Apart from this, I have tried to show

how mathematics works. Some of the proofs given have been dreary, but the payoff for trying to

prove everything explicitly is building mathematics and models that won’t fall to pieces because

of some fatal flaw missed early in the process. Of course it’s possible to make errors, but

mathematics is surveyable 18 , and other mathematicians can inspect and critique your proofs.

I hope in this lesson that you feel more confident about reading mathematics, and that you can

convert the symbols into meaningful words. Better still, I hope you are gaining confidence in

manipulating the systems to get the results you want.

18

Until recently it was assumed that a single mathematician could survey any mathematical theory or

theorem by themselves. Thus one only need to believe what one has seen proved and agreed has been

correctly proved. This belief was shattered in 1976 when Haken and Appel gave their computer-aided

proof of the four colour problem (is four colour sufficient to colour every map?). The controversy still

rages, as you will hear when Professor Robin Wilson lectures on the subject based on his book Four

Colours Suffice ( Penguin Books (London), 2002). The history of mathematics gives great insights into the

nature of mathematics and it’s relationship with science. It’s as good an adventure story or soap opera as

any other, with colourful characters, heroes, knaves, and fools. The four colour problem is typical, flip-

flopping backwards and forwards as proved/not-proved, with some individuals benefiting while being

wrong and others gaining nothing for being right. It starts with the benign August De Morgan (he of De

Morgan’s Law fame, of Session 1) and (almost) ends with Haken and Appel. I say ‘almost’ because we’re

still talking about it today, and thinking about the surveyability issue.

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 28 of 31

Answers to the SAQs

SAQ 1

Yes. if x Z and y Z with (-y) the additive inverse of y, then x + (–y) = x – y Z

No. For example (9 – 4) – 3 = 5 – 3 = 2 8 = 9 – 1 = 9 – (4 – 3)

(iii) Does subtraction have an identity element for the integers?

No. Suppose e exists as an inverse under subtraction with the property that x – e = x.

Then – e = 0 and e = 0. But, for example, 2 – e = 2 0 – 2, therefore e does not exist.

(iv) Does subtraction of integers have inverses?

No. If there is no subtractive identity, subtractive inverses cannot be defined.

(v) Is subtraction commutative for the integers?

No. For example, 3 – 5 5 – 3.

Discussion

Given that we use it all the time, it is surprising how badly subtraction behaves. In fact we have to

be careful when using minus for exactly the reasons shown above, and we effectively convert

subtractions into additions of inverses.

It is instructive that an operation as common as minus is not associative. This means that the

parentheses are essential to ensure that the calculations are correct. Compared to the group

structure of addition, which needs no parentheses, minus is fiddly and error-prone.

It is surprising that minus does not have an identity element. At first sight one might expect 0 to

be an identity element, but if it did we’d have things 5 – 0 = 0 – 5. And without an identity

element there cannot be inverses.

Commutativity is a very strong condition in mathematics. There are many systems that are well

behaved, even if they are non-commutative. Minus is not one of them.

■

(i)

0 = (n + (–n)) (–m)

= (n (–m)) + ((–n) (–m))

Add (n m) to both sides of the equation:

(n m) = (n m) + (n (–m)) + ((–n) (–m))

By the distributive law

(n m) = ((n ((m) + (–m)) + ((–n) (–m))

giving, since ((m) + (–m)) = 0,

n m = (–n) (–m)

(ii) (–1) (–1) = 1 is a special case of this more general result, with n = 1 and m = 1.

■

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 29 of 31

SAQ 3. Show that the rational numbers without zero form an Abelian group under multiplication

(i) closure: a/c b/d = (a b)/(c d). Since a, b, c and d are non-negative integers, so are a b

and c d, and the produce has the required form of an integer divided by an integer.

(a c e)/( b d f) = (a (c e))/(b (d f )) = a/b (c e/d f) = a/b (c/d e/f).

(iii) The identity element for multiplication is 1/1: a/b 1/1 = (a1)/(b1) = a/b.

(iv) The inverse of p/q 0 is q/p since p/q q/p = pq/qp = pq/pq = 1.

■

SAQ 4

In road traffic systems, routes are totally ordered by travel times.

In machine vision pixels in monochrome images are totally ordered by their greyscale.

In human systems classes of people can be totally ordered by the age of the members.

In robotics, robots can be order by the size of an enclosing cuboid, with a robot being ‘smaller’

than another if its cuboid fits in another robot’s cuboid. This is a partial order.

In road traffic systems, the cost of travelling a route depends on travel time and monetary cost,

and a route could be superior to another if it cost less and took less time to travel. Costing less is

here a partial order.

In machine vision, a recognized classification could be better than another if was superior on all

criteria. Superiority would be a partial order

In human systems, a person might be assessed on a number of criteria such as skills, with one

person being better than another if they are better with respect to all criteria.

In human systems the management hierarchy is usually shown as a partial order with the big boss

at the top, with intermediate bosses reporting to the big boss, and under-managers reporting to

them. Non-comparable managers may engage in ‘turf wars’. However, very often these diagrams

have little to do with the way the organisation functions.

Generally any evaluation which includes more than two criteria will result in a partial order.

■

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 30 of 31

SAQ 5

(b) o h(b) = (x) = 24

(c) o h(c) = (v) = 22

(d) o h(d) = (y) = 25

(e) o h(e) = (z) = 26

(f) o h({ a, b, c, d, e}) = {22, 24, 25, 26}

■

SAQ 6

A windshield is part of a car g (windshield) = car

This shard was part of a windshield f(shard) = windshield

This shard was part of a car g f (shard) = car

Water is partly hydrogen f(Hydrogen) = Water

Hydrogen in part of the cooling systems (g f)(Hydrogen) = the cooling system

■

CSS - ASSYST Course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems. Lesson 2 Page 31 of 31

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