Let \((a,b),(c,d)\) be ordered pairs of natural numbers. We consider them equivalent, if there exist a natural number \(h\) such that one ordered pair can be obtained from the other ordered pair by adding \(h\) to both natural numbers of that pair, formally

\[(a,b)\sim (c,d)\quad\Longleftrightarrow\quad\begin{cases}(a+h,b+h)=(c,d)& or\\(a,b)=(c+h,d+h).\end{cases}\]

The relation “\(\sim\)” defined above is an equivalence relation, i.e. for a given ordered pair \((a,b)\in\mathbb N\times\mathbb N\), we can consider a whole set of ordered pairs \((c,d)\in\mathbb N\times\mathbb N\) equivalent to \((a,b)\):

\[x:=\{(c,d)\in\mathbb N\times\mathbb N:\quad( c, d )\sim ( a, b )\}.\]

The set \(x\) is called an **integer**^{1}. We say that the ordered pair \((a,b)\in\mathbb N\times\mathbb N\) is **representing** the integer \(x\). The **set of all integers** is denoted by \(\mathbb Z\).

In order to make a difference in notation, we write \([a,b]\), instead of \((a,b)\), if we mean the integer represented by the ordered pair \((a,b)\) rather than the concrete ordered pair \((a,b)\). A more common (e.g. taught in the elementary school) notation is the notation of integers retrieved from the difference \(a-b\), however, the concept of building a difference is not introduced yet (in fact, we have not introduced the concept of negative integers yet^{2}). For the time being, we give a comparison of the different notations to make more clear:

Common integer notation | Alternative integer notations | Set of ordered pairs of natural numbers, each notation stands for |

\(\vdots\) | \(\vdots\) | \(\vdots\) |

\(-3\) | e.g. \([0,3],[1,4],\ldots\) | \(\begin{array}{llllll}\{(0,3),&(1,4),&(2,5),&\ldots,&(h,3+h),&~h\in\mathbb N\}\end{array}\) |

\(-2\) | e.g. \([0,2],[1,3],\ldots\) | \(\begin{array}{llllll}\{(0,2),&(1,3),&(2,4),&\ldots,&(h,2+h),&~h\in\mathbb N\}\end{array}\) |

\(-1\) | e.g. \([0,1],[1,2],\ldots\) | \(\begin{array}{llllll}\{(0,1),&(1,2),&(2,3),&\ldots,&(h,1+h),&~h\in\mathbb N\}\end{array}\) |

\(0\) | e.g. \([0,0],[1,1],\ldots\) | \(\begin{array}{llllll}\{(0,0),&(1,1),&(2,2),&\ldots,&(h,h),&~h\in\mathbb N\}\end{array}\) |

\(1\) | e.g. \([1,0],[2,1],\ldots\) | \(\begin{array}{llllll}\{(1,0),&(2,1),&(3,2),&\ldots,&(1+h,h),&~h\in\mathbb N\}\end{array}\) |

\(2\) | e.g. \([1,0],[3,1],\ldots\) | \(\begin{array}{llllll}\{(2,0),&(3,1),&(4,2),&\ldots,&(2+h,h),&~h\in\mathbb N\}\end{array}\) |

\(3\) | e.g. \([1,0],[4,1],\ldots\) | \(\begin{array}{llllll}\{(3,0),&(4,1),&(5,2),&\ldots,&(3+h,h),&~h\in\mathbb N\}\end{array}\) |

\(\vdots\) | \(\vdots\) | \(\vdots\) |

^{1} Please note that integers are in fact sets.

^{2} The concept of negative integers will be introduced in the discussion of order relation for integers.

| | | | | created: 2014-09-09 22:11:57 | modified: 2018-05-13 23:38:18 | by: *bookofproofs* | references: [696]

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[696] **Kramer Jürg, von Pippich, Anna-Maria**: “Von den natürlichen Zahlen zu den Quaternionen”, Springer-Spektrum, 2013