Definition:Max Operation

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Let $\struct {S, \preceq}$ be a totally ordered set.

The max operation is the binary operation on $\struct {S, \preceq}$ defined as:

$\forall x, y \in S: \map \max {x, y} = \begin{cases}

y & : x \preceq y \\ x & : y \preceq x \end{cases}$

General Definition

Let $S^n$ be the cartesian $n$th power of $S$.

The max operation is the $n$-ary operation on $\struct {S, \preceq}$ defined recursively as:

$\forall x := \family {x_i}_{1 \mathop \le i \mathop \le n} \in S^n: \map \max x = \begin{cases}

x_1 & : n = 1 \\ \map \max {x_1, x_2} & : n = 2 \\ \map \max {\map \max {x_1, \ldots, x_{n - 1} }, x_n} & : n > 2 \\ \end{cases}$

where $\map \max {x, y}$ is the binary max operation on $S^2$.


The notation $\max \set {x, y}$ is frequently seen for $\map \max {x, y}$.

This emphasises that the operands of the max operation are undifferentiated as to order.

Some sources use the notation $x \vee y$ for $\map \max {x, y}$.

Also see

  • Results about the max operation can be found here.