union (set theory)

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union (set theory)
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(File:Venn0111.svg|thumb|200px|Union of two sets:~A cup B)(File:Venn 0111 1111.svg|thumb|200px|Union of three sets:~A cup B cup C)(File:Example of a non pairwise disjoint family of sets.svg|200px|thumb|The union of A, B, C, D, and E is everything except the white area.)In set theory, the union (denoted by ∪) of a collection of sets is the set of all elements in the collection.WEB,weblink Union, Weisstein, Eric W, Wolfram's Mathworld, 2009-07-14, no,weblink" title="">weblink 2009-02-07, It is one of the fundamental operations through which sets can be combined and related to each other.For explanation of the symbols used in this article, refer to the table of mathematical symbols.

Union of two sets

The union of two sets A and B is the set of elements which are in A, in B, or in both A and B. In symbols,
A cup B = { x: x in A text{ or } x in B}.BOOK,weblink Basic Set Theory, Vereshchagin, Nikolai Konstantinovich, Shen, Alexander, 2002-01-01, American Mathematical Soc., 9780821827314, en,
For example, if A = {1, 3, 5, 7} and B = {1, 2, 4, 6} then A ∪ B = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}. A more elaborate example (involving two infinite sets) is:
A = {x is an even integer larger than 1} B = {x is an odd integer larger than 1} A cup B = {2,3,4,5,6, dots}
As another example, the number 9 is not contained in the union of the set of prime numbers {2, 3, 5, 7, 11, …} and the set of even numbers {2, 4, 6, 8, 10, …}, because 9 is neither prime nor even.Sets cannot have duplicate elements,BOOK,weblink Applied Mathematics for Database Professionals, deHaan, Lex, Koppelaars, Toon, 2007-10-25, Apress, 9781430203483, en, so the union of the sets {1, 2, 3} and {2, 3, 4} is {1, 2, 3, 4}. Multiple occurrences of identical elements have no effect on the cardinality of a set or its contents.

Algebraic properties

Binary union is an associative operation; that is, for any sets A, B, and C,
A cup (B cup C) = (A cup B) cup C.
The operations can be performed in any order, and the parentheses may be omitted without ambiguity (i.e., either of the above can be expressed equivalently as A ∪ B ∪ C). Similarly, union is commutative, so the sets can be written in any order.BOOK,weblink Naive Set Theory, Halmos, P. R., 2013-11-27, Springer Science & Business Media, 9781475716450, en, The empty set is an identity element for the operation of union. That is, A ∪ ∅ = A, for any set A. This follows from analogous facts about logical disjunction.Since sets with unions and intersections form a Boolean algebra, intersection distributes over union
A cap (B cup C) = (A cap B)cup(A cap C)
and union distributes over intersection
A cup (B cap C) = (A cup B) cap (A cup C) .
Within a given universal set, union can be written in terms of the operations of intersection and complement as
A cup B = left(A^C cap B^C right)^C
where the superscript C denotes the complement with respect to the universal set.

Finite unions

One can take the union of several sets simultaneously. For example, the union of three sets A, B, and C contains all elements of A, all elements of B, and all elements of C, and nothing else. Thus, x is an element of A ∪ B ∪ C if and only if x is in at least one of A, B, and C.A finite union is the union of a finite number of sets; the phrase does not imply that the union set is a finite set.BOOK,weblink Set Theory: With an Introduction to Real Point Sets, Dasgupta, Abhijit, 2013-12-11, Springer Science & Business Media, 9781461488545, en, WEB,weblink Finite Union of Finite Sets is Finite - ProofWiki,, 29 April 2018, no,weblink 11 September 2014,

Arbitrary unions

The most general notion is the union of an arbitrary collection of sets, sometimes called an infinitary union. If M is a set or class whose elements are sets, then x is an element of the union of M if and only if there is at least one element A of M such that x is an element of A.BOOK,weblink A Transition to Advanced Mathematics, Smith, Douglas, Eggen, Maurice, Andre, Richard St, 2014-08-01, Cengage Learning, 9781285463261, en, In symbols:
x in bigcup mathbf{M} iff exists A in mathbf{M}, x in A.
This idea subsumes the preceding sections—for example, A ∪ B ∪ C is the union of the collection {A, B, C}. Also, if M is the empty collection, then the union of M is the empty set.


The notation for the general concept can vary considerably. For a finite union of sets S_1, S_2, S_3, dots , S_n one often writes S_1 cup S_2 cup S_3 cup dots cup S_n or bigcup_{i=1}^n S_i. Various common notations for arbitrary unions include bigcup mathbf{M}, bigcup_{Ainmathbf{M}} A, and bigcup_{iin I} A_{i}, the last of which refers to the union of the collection left{A_i : i in Iright} where I is an index set and A_i is a set for every i in I. In the case that the index set I is the set of natural numbers, one uses a notation bigcup_{i=1}^{infty} A_{i} analogous to that of the infinite series.When the symbol "∪" is placed before other symbols instead of between them, it is usually rendered as a larger size.

See also


External links

{{commons category}} {{Set theory}}

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