Definition: Cartesian Product

Defintion:  Let A and B be sets.  The Cartesian Product of A and B, which is often denoted by A \times B, is the set of pairs of elements (a, b) such that a\in A and b\in B.  In symbols, we have A\times B=\{(a,b)|a\in A \mathrm{\ and\ } b\in B\}.//

First off, if the notation in the last line of the definition is unfamiliar, refer to about half-way down lesson 16 for a reminder of what that all means.  The important thing to note about this definition is that we have created new elements from the elements that A and B already contained.  We can think of these new elements as “ways of picking exactly one element from A and one element from B”, so that it doesn’t really matter how we write these elements down.  In other words, if we wrote the elements as [[[a]]][[[b]]] or as \{(a, b>], or in any other crazy way, then we’d obviously have, in some sense, the same information as we do when we write them as (a,b).  For more on this construction, take a look at lesson 17 where we explain this definition a lot more thoroughly.

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