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You are on page 1of 4

Margaret M. Fleck

23 Feb 2009

1 Recap

Recall that a function f : A → B is one-to-one (injective) if

∀y ∈ B, ∃x ∈ A, f (x) = y

one correspondence.

Bijective functions are special for a variety of reasons, including the fact

that every bijection f has an inverse function f −1 .

Claim 1 Let f : Z → Z be defined by f (x) = 3x + 7. f is one-to-one.

f (y) → x = y.

So, let x and y be integers and suppose that f (x) = f (y). We

need to show that x = y.

1

We know that f (x) = f (y). So, substituting in our formula for f ,

3x + 7 = 3y + 7. So 3x = 3y and therefore x = y, by high school

algebra. This is what we needed to show.

When we pick x and y at the start of the proof, notice that we haven’t

specified whether they are the same number or not. Mathematical convention

leaves this vague, unlike normal English where the same statement would

strongly suggest that they were different.

You may have encountered the abbreviation QED at the end of a proof.

This stands for “quod erat demonstrandum” which is simply the Latin for

“this is what we needed to show.” Some people put a little box or a little

triangle of 3 dots at the end of the proof. It’s good style to have something

at the end of your proof which tells the reader that the proof is complete.

Now, consider this claim:

Claim 2 Define the function g from the integers to the integers by the for-

mula g(x) = x − 8. g is onto.

Proof: We need to show that for every integer y, there is an

integer x such that g(x) = y.

So, let y be some arbitrary integer. Choose x to be (y + 8).

x is an integer, since it’s the sum of two integers. But then

g(x) = (y + 8) − 8 = y, so we’ve found the required pre-image for

y and our proof is done.

Notice that our function f from the last section wasn’t onto. Suppose we

tried to build a proof that it was.

Proof: We need to show that for every integer y, there is an

integer x such that f (x) = y.

(y−7)

So, let y be some arbitrary integer. Choose x to be 3

. ...

If f was a function from the reals to the reals, we’d be ok at this point,

because x would be a good pre-image for y. However, f ’s inputs are declared

to be integers. For many values of y, (y−7)

3

isn’t an integer. So it won’t work

as an input value for f .

2

4 Composing two functions

Suppose that f : A → B and g : B → C are functions. Then g ◦ f is the

function from A to C defined by (g ◦ f )(x) = g(f (x)). Depending on the

author, this is either called the composition of f and g or the composition of

g and f . The idea is that you take input values from A, run them through

f , and then run the result of that through g to get the final output value.

Take-home message: when using function composition, look at the au-

thor’s shorthand notation rather than their mathematical English, to be

clear on which function gets applied first.

In this definition, notice that g came first in (g ◦ f )(x) and g also comes

first in g(f (x)). I.e. unlike f (g(x)) where f comes first. The trick for

remembering this definition is to remember that f and g are in the same

order on the two sides of the defining equation.

For example, if we use our functions f and g defined above, the domains

and co-domains of both functions are the integers. So we can compose the

two functions in both orders.

Notice that the order matters to the output value!

Frequently, the declared domains and co-domains of the two functions

aren’t all the same, so often you can only compose in one order. For example,

consider the function h : {strings} → Z which maps a string x onto its length

in characters. (E.g. h(Margaret) = 8.) Then f ◦ h exists but (h ◦ f ) doesn’t

exist because f produces numbers and the inputs to h are supposed to be

strings.

Consider this claim:

Claim 3 For any sets A, B, and C and for any functions f : A → B and

g : B → C, if f and g are injective, then g ◦ f is also injective.

3

We can prove this with a direct proof, by being systematic about using our

definitions and standard proof outlines. First, let’s pick some representative

objects of the right types and assume everything in our hypothesis.

be functions. Suppose that f and g are injective.

We need to show that g ◦ f is injective.

its domain, assume that their output values are equal, and then show that

x and y must themselves be equal. Let’s splice this into our draft proof.

Remember that the domain of g ◦ f is A and its co-domain is C.

be functions. Suppose that f and g are injective.

We need to show that g ◦ f is injective. So, choose x and y in A

and suppose that (g ◦ f )(x) = (g ◦ f )(y)

We need to show that x = y.

Now, we need to apply the definition of function composition and the fact

that f and g are each injective:

be functions. Suppose that f and g are injective.

We need to show that g ◦ f is injective. So, choose x and y in A

and suppose that (g ◦ f )(x) = (g ◦ f )(y)

Using the definition of function composition, we can rewrite this

as g(f (x)) = g(f (y)). Combining this with the fact that g is

injective, we find that f (x) = f (y). But, since f is injective, this

implies that x = y, which is what we needed to show.

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