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domains as sets

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg95817] domains as sets
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 06:28:51 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • Reply-to: murray at

Mathematica has no built-in structure of "set". A list has an explicit
order. A reasonable thing to do is to decree a list S to be a set if it
has no duplicate elements, i.e.:

   setQ[S_]:= (ListQ[x] && (Sort[x] == Union[x])

That's OK for finite sets.

But I'm trying to set up some definitions that will allow me also to
treat at least some infinite sets in the same framework.  And I want to 
extend the available domains so as to include some other common ones, 
such as the set Naturals of natural numbers (i.e., nonnegative integers).

Here's a start:

   domainQ[dom_] :=
     MemberQ[{Naturals, Reals, Integers, Complexes, Algebraics, Primes,
              Rationals, Booleans}, dom]

   setQ[x_] := (ListQ[x] && (Sort[x] == Union[x])) ~Or~ domainQ[x]
   finiteQ[x_] := setQ[x] && ! domainQ[x]

Next, I want to allow ordinary elementhood, denoted by what in 
Mathematica would be typed as Esc elem Esc, to work for both finite sets 
and domains, including the newly introduced domains.  Here's what seems 
to be a way:


So far this all seems OK. But I want to proceed to subset inclusion, 
union, intersection, cartesian product, etc.  Do you see any obvious, or 
not-so-obvious snags for doing so that would be caused by the preceding 

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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