Monotone function

Let \(\langle P, \leq_P \rangle\) and \(\langle Q, \leq_Q \rangle\) be posets. Then a function \(\phi : P \rightarrow Q\) is said to be monotone (alternatively, order-preserving) if for all \(s, t \in P\), \(s \le_P t\) implies \(\phi(s) \le_Q \phi(t)\).

Positive example

comment: dot source:

digraph G { node = 0.1, height = 0.1 rankdir = BT; rank = same; compound = true; fontname=”MathJax_Main”;

subgraph cluster_P { node style=filled,color=white; edge = “none”; style = filled; color = lightgrey; fontcolor = black; label = “P”; labelloc = b; b → a; c → a;

} subgraph cluster_Q { node style=filled; edge = “none”; color = black; fontcolor = black; label= “Q”; labelloc = b; u → t; } edge = blue, style = dashed fontcolor = blue; label = “φ”;
labelloc = t; b → t = false; a → t = false; c → u = false; }

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Here is an example of a monotone map \(\phi\) from a poset \(P\) to another poset \(Q\). Since \(\le_P\) has two comparable pairs of elements, \((c,a)\) and \((b,a)\), there are two constraints that \(\phi\) must satisfy to be considered monotone. Since \(c \leq_P a\), we need \(\phi(c) = u \leq_Q t = \phi(a)\). This is, in fact, the case. Also, since \(b \leq_P a\), we need \(\phi(b) = t \leq_Q t = \phi(a)\). This is also true.

Negative example

comment: dot source:

digraph G { node = 0.1, height = 0.1 rankdir = BT; rank = same; compound = true; fontname=”MathJax_Main”;

subgraph cluster_P { node style=filled,color=white; edge = “none”; style = filled; color = lightgrey; fontcolor = black; label = “P”; labelloc = b; a → b; }

subgraph cluster_Q { node style=filled; edge = “none”; color = black; fontcolor = black; label= “Q”; labelloc = b; w → u; w → v; u → t; v → t; } edge = blue, style = dashed fontcolor = blue; label = “φ”;
labelloc = t; b → u = false; a → v = false; } <div>

Here is an example of another map \(\phi\) between two other posets \(P\) and \(Q\). This map is not monotone, because \(a \leq_P b\) while \(\phi(a) = v \parallel_Q u = \phi(b)\).

Additional material

For some examples of montone functions and their applications, see Monotone function: examples. To test your knowledge of monotone functions, head on over to Monotone function: exercises.

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  • Order theory

    The study of binary relations that are reflexive, transitive, and antisymmetic.