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In
mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in modern mathematics ...
, a structure is a set endowed with some additional features on the set (e.g. an
operation Operation or Operations may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media * ''Operation'' (game), a battery-operated board game that challenges dexterity * Operation (music), a term used in musical set theory * ''Operations'' (magazine), Multi-Ma ...
, relation,
metric Metric or metrical may refer to: * Metric system, an internationally adopted decimal system of measurement * An adjective indicating relation to measurement in general, or a noun describing a specific type of measurement Mathematics In mathema ...
, or
topology In mathematics, topology (from the Greek words , and ) is concerned with the properties of a geometric object that are preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching, twisting, crumpling, and bending; that is, without closing ...
). Often, the additional features are attached or related to the set, so as to provide it with some additional meaning or significance. A partial list of possible structures are measures,
algebraic structure In mathematics, an algebraic structure consists of a nonempty set ''A'' (called the underlying set, carrier set or domain), a collection of operations on ''A'' (typically binary operations such as addition and multiplication), and a finite set o ...
s ( groups, fields, etc.), topologies, metric structures ( geometries), orders,
events Event may refer to: Gatherings of people * Ceremony, an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion * Convention (meeting), a gathering of individuals engaged in some common interest * Event management, the organization of eve ...
,
equivalence relation In mathematics, an equivalence relation is a binary relation that is reflexive, symmetric and transitive. The equipollence relation between line segments in geometry is a common example of an equivalence relation. Each equivalence relation ...
s,
differential structure In mathematics, an ''n''- dimensional differential structure (or differentiable structure) on a set ''M'' makes ''M'' into an ''n''-dimensional differential manifold, which is a topological manifold with some additional structure that allows for di ...
s, and categories. Sometimes, a set is endowed with more than one feature simultaneously, which allows mathematicians to study the interaction between the different structures more richly. For example, an ordering imposes a rigid form, shape, or topology on the set, and if a set has both a topology feature and a group feature, such that these two features are related in a certain way, then the structure becomes a
topological group In mathematics, topological groups are logically the combination of groups and topological spaces, i.e. they are groups and topological spaces at the same time, such that the continuity condition for the group operations connects these two s ...
. Mappings between sets which preserve structures (i.e., structures in the domain are mapped to equivalent structures in the
codomain In mathematics, the codomain or set of destination of a function is the set into which all of the output of the function is constrained to fall. It is the set in the notation . The term range is sometimes ambiguously used to refer to either the ...
) are of special interest in many fields of mathematics. Examples are
homomorphism In algebra, a homomorphism is a structure-preserving map between two algebraic structures of the same type (such as two groups, two rings, or two vector spaces). The word ''homomorphism'' comes from the Ancient Greek language: () meaning "sam ...
s, which preserve algebraic structures;
homeomorphism In the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism, topological isomorphism, or bicontinuous function is a bijective and continuous function between topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorph ...
s, which preserve topological structures; and
diffeomorphism In mathematics, a diffeomorphism is an isomorphism of smooth manifolds. It is an invertible function that maps one differentiable manifold to another such that both the function and its inverse are differentiable. Definition Given two ...
s, which preserve differential structures.

# History

In 1939, the French group with the pseudonym
Nicolas Bourbaki Nicolas Bourbaki () is the collective pseudonym of a group of mathematicians, predominantly French alumni of the École normale supérieure - PSL (ENS). Founded in 1934–1935, the Bourbaki group originally intended to prepare a new textbook in ...
saw structures as the root of mathematics. They first mentioned them in their "Fascicule" of ''Theory of Sets'' and expanded it into Chapter IV of the 1957 edition. They identified three ''mother structures'': algebraic, topological, and order.

# Example: the real numbers

The set of
real number In mathematics, a real number is a number that can be used to measure a ''continuous'' one- dimensional quantity such as a distance, duration or temperature. Here, ''continuous'' means that values can have arbitrarily small variations. Every ...
s has several standard structures: *An order: each number is either less or more than any other number. *Algebraic structure: there are operations of multiplication and addition that make it into a field. *A measure:
intervals Interval may refer to: Mathematics and physics * Interval (mathematics), a range of numbers ** Partially ordered set#Intervals, its generalization from numbers to arbitrary partially ordered sets * A statistical level of measurement * Interval es ...
of the real line have a specific
length Length is a measure of distance. In the International System of Quantities, length is a quantity with dimension distance. In most systems of measurement a base unit for length is chosen, from which all other units are derived. In the Intern ...
, which can be extended to the
Lebesgue measure In measure theory, a branch of mathematics, the Lebesgue measure, named after French mathematician Henri Lebesgue, is the standard way of assigning a measure to subsets of ''n''-dimensional Euclidean space. For ''n'' = 1, 2, or 3, it coincides wit ...
on many of its
subset In mathematics, set ''A'' is a subset of a set ''B'' if all elements of ''A'' are also elements of ''B''; ''B'' is then a superset of ''A''. It is possible for ''A'' and ''B'' to be equal; if they are unequal, then ''A'' is a proper subset o ...
s. *A metric: there is a notion of
distance Distance is a numerical or occasionally qualitative measurement of how far apart objects or points are. In physics or everyday usage, distance may refer to a physical length or an estimation based on other criteria (e.g. "two counties over"). ...
between points. *A geometry: it is equipped with a
metric Metric or metrical may refer to: * Metric system, an internationally adopted decimal system of measurement * An adjective indicating relation to measurement in general, or a noun describing a specific type of measurement Mathematics In mathema ...
and is flat. *A topology: there is a notion of
open set In mathematics, open sets are a generalization of open intervals in the real line. In a metric space (a set along with a distance defined between any two points), open sets are the sets that, with every point , contain all points that are suff ...
s. There are interfaces among these: *Its order and, independently, its metric structure induce its topology. *Its order and algebraic structure make it into an ordered field. *Its algebraic structure and topology make it into a
Lie group In mathematics, a Lie group (pronounced ) is a group that is also a differentiable manifold. A manifold is a space that locally resembles Euclidean space, whereas groups define the abstract concept of a binary operation along with the additi ...
, a type of
topological group In mathematics, topological groups are logically the combination of groups and topological spaces, i.e. they are groups and topological spaces at the same time, such that the continuity condition for the group operations connects these two s ...
.

* Abstract structure *
Isomorphism In mathematics, an isomorphism is a structure-preserving mapping between two structures of the same type that can be reversed by an inverse mapping. Two mathematical structures are isomorphic if an isomorphism exists between them. The word i ...
* Equivalent definitions of mathematical structures *
Intuitionistic type theory Intuitionistic type theory (also known as constructive type theory, or Martin-Löf type theory) is a type theory and an alternative foundation of mathematics. Intuitionistic type theory was created by Per Martin-Löf, a Swedish mathematician and ...
*
Space (mathematics) In mathematics, a space is a set (sometimes called a universe) with some added structure. While modern mathematics uses many types of spaces, such as Euclidean spaces, linear spaces, topological spaces, Hilbert spaces, or probability spac ...