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MATH-M499 - Senior Seminar

Spring 2016
Modern Algebra
Steven Fowler
February 28, 2016

Modern Algebra


Sets, Relations, and Functions

One of the most fundamental pieces that is required to understand mathematics

is the concept of a set. It is a very elementary idea that leads to many of the
more advanced theories. The most basic definition of a set would be to define it
as a well-defined collection of objects. [1] gives some further assumptions as
to extend this definition:
A set S is made up of elements, and if a is one of these , we shall denote
this fact by a S.
There is exactly one set with no elements, the empty set notated by .
Sets themselves are noted mathematically by the notation {x|P (x)}, which
is read the set of all x such that P(x) is true.
This last part extends the definition of well defined. This property states
that either a element is either definitely in a set or it definitely is not in
the set.
One very common operation that we do on sets to define broader sets is
something called the Cartesian Product.
Definition 1.1. Let A and B be sets. The set AB = {(a, b|a A and b B)}
is the Cartesian product of A and B.
Example 1.2. If A = {1, 2, 3} and B = {3, 4}, then we have
A B = {(1, 3), (1, 4), (2, 3), (2, 4), (3, 3), (3, 4)}
Using this definition of the Cartesian Product we can keep going down this
rabbit hole and define a special subset of two groups, called a relation.
Definition 1.3. A ralation between sets A and B is a subset R of A B. We
read (a, b) R as a is related to B and write aRb
And lastly we finish this section with how we finally come to define a function.
It is clear that the function is probably one of the most fundamental and most
commonly studied concept in undergraduate mathematics. The definition is as

Definition 1.4. A f unction mapping X into Y is a relation between X and

Y with the property that each x X appears as the first member of exactly one
ordered pair (x,y) in . Such a function is also called a map or mapping of X
into Y. We write : X Y and express (x, y) by (x) = y. The domain
of is the set X and the set Y is the codomain of . The range of is
[X] = {(x)|x X}.


Groups and Isomorphisms of Groups

To being the conversation about Groups and their definition and purpose, we
need to discuss the concept of a binary operator. A binary operator is a way
to combine two numbers, in some way, to produce an additional third value,
obvious examples being adding and multiplication.
Definition 1.5. A binary operator on a set S is a function mapping S S
into S. For each (a, b) S S, we will denote the element ((a, b)) of S by a b.
The purpose of bringing this concept up is the desire to make this idea much
more abstract then we are familiar with in lower level mathematics. The binary
operator can be defined in any way that you would like to. An elementary
example would be to define a binary operation on Z such that a b equals the
smaller of a and b. That leads to 2 11 = 2 or 15 10 = 10. Again, this leads to
the definition of a group, which is one of the most important pieces of the first
semester of Modern Algebra studies.
Definition 1.6. A group < G, > is a set G, closed under a binary operation
, such that the following axioms are satisfied:
G1 : For all a, b, c G, we have
(a b) c = a (b c)
G2 : There is an element e in G such that for all x G,
e x = x e = x.
G3 : Corresponding to each a G, there is an element a0 in G such that
a a0 = a0 a = e
Some examples that utilize this definition would be to look at some of the
following sets. Looking at Z+ under addition, we can see that this is not a
group. The second requirement of a group in the definition above required an
identity element e. That value does not exist in Z+ . If we extend this group to
include 0, it remains not a group. Although it includes an identity, which is 0,
it does not have inverses.
One of the most important proofs in this introduction of groups is the fact
that the identity element and inverses are unique. Here is the proof:

Theorem 1.7. In a group G with binary operation , there is only one element
e in G such that
for all x G. Likewise, for each a G, there is only one element a0 in G such
a0 a = a a0 = e
Proof. We start by supposing that both e and e0 are both elements of G, both
serving as identity elements. Because e is an identity element, we must have
e e0 = e0 . However, becuase e0 is an identity element, we much have e e0 = e.
Therefore, e = e0 , showing that the identity element must be unique.
Now to the inverses, suppose that a G has two inverses, namely a0 and a00 .
It follows that a0 a = a a0 = e and a00 a = a a00 = e. Then,
a a00 = a a0 = e
. Which by cancellation laws gives,
a00 = a0
, showing that the inverse of a in a group is unique.


Cyclic Groups

Cyclic groups are a concept that emerged when trying to find the smalled subgroups that contain a certain element. For example, lets take Z1 2, and lets
find the smallest subgroup that contains the element 3. So starting, we need
to include 0, as it is the identity in the group, and 3. It follows that we would
also need to include 3+3 = 6 and 6+3=9 to make the subgroup closed under
addition. We also note that all inverses are accounted for as the inverse of 9 is 3
and the inverse of 6 is 6. Therefore, {0, 3, 6, 9} is the smallest subgroup of Z1 2
that includes 3. This leads to the following definition:
Definition 1.8. Let G be a group and let a G. Then the subgroup {an |n Z}
of G is called the cyclic subgroup of G generated by a, denoted by < a >.
One of the most interesting things that arise from the study of cyclic groups
is the fact that they are all isomorphic to < Z, + >, or that the algebraic
structures of the two groups are similar enough to preserve the relations between
the elements. The following proof is pretty dense, but I really find it interesting
and not intuitive. This proof is from [1]:

Case 1
For all positive integers m, am 6= e. In this case we claim that no two distinct
exponents h and k can give equal elements ah and ak of G. Suppose that ah = ak
and say h > k then
ah ak = ahk = e
contrary to our Case I assumptions. Hence every element of G can be expressed
as am for a unique m Z. The map : G Z given by (ai ) = i is thus well
defined, one to one, and onto Z. Also,
(ai aj ) = (ai+j ) = i + j = (ai ) + (aj )
which satisfies the homomorphism property and thus is an isomorphism.
Case 2
am = e for some positive integer m. Let n be the smallest positive integer
such that an = e. If s Z and s=nq+r for 0 r < n, then as = anq+r =
(an )q ar = eq ar = ar . As in Case 1, if 0 < k < h < n and ah = ak , then
ahk = e and 0 < h k < n, contradiction out choice of n. Thus the elements
a0 = e, a, a2 , a3 , . . . , an1
are all distinct and comprise all elements of G. The map : G Zn given by
(ai ) = i for i = 0, 1, 2, . . . , n 1 is thus well defined, one to one, and onto Zn .
Because an = e, we see that ai aj = ak where k=i+j. Thus,
(ai aj ) = (ai+j ) = i + j = (ai ) + (aj )
which satisfies the homomorphism property and thus is an isomorphism.



Up to this point in the course, all work has been concerned with sets on which
a single binary operation is defined on. Its clear that just about all mathematical studies in grade school and undergraduate focus on the algebra of two
operations, primarily addition and multiplication. This leads to the definition
of a ring:
Definition 1.9. A ring < R, +, > is a set R together with two binary operations + and , which we call addition and multiplication, defined on R such
that the following axioms are satisfied:
R1 : < R, + > is an abelian group.
R2 : Multiplication is associative.
R3 : For all a, b, c R, the left distributive law, a (b + c) = (a b) + (a c)
and the right distributive law (a + b) c = (a c) + (b c) hold.

[1] JB Fraleigh. A First Course in Abstract Algebra. 2003.