# Semigroup  Main Article Discussion Related Articles  [?] Bibliography  [?] External Links  [?] Citable Version  [?] This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer. [edit intro]

In algebra, a semigroup is a set equipped with a binary operation satisfying certain properties similar to but less stringent than those of a group. A motivating example of a semigroup is the set of positive integers with multiplication as the operation.

Formally, a semigroup is a set S with a binary operation $\star$ satisfying the following conditions:

• S is closed under $\star$ ;
• The operation $\star$ is associative.

A commutative semigroup is one which satisfies the further property that $x\star y=y\star x$ for all x and y in S. Commutative semigroups are often written additively.

A subsemigroup of S is a subset T of S which is closed under the binary operation and hence is again a semigroup.

A semigroup homomorphism f from semigroup $(S,{\star })$ to $(T,{\circ })$ is a map from S to T satisfying

$f(x\star y)=f(x)\circ f(y).\,$ ## Examples

• The positive integers under addition form a commutative semigroup.
• The positive integers under multiplication form a commutative semigroup.
• Square matrices under matrix multiplication form a semigroup, not in general commutative.
• Every monoid is a semigroup, by "forgetting" the identity element.
• Every group is a semigroup, by "forgetting" the identity element and inverse operation.

## Congruences

A congruence on a semigroup S is an equivalence relation $\sim \,$ which respects the binary operation:

$a\sim b{\hbox{ and }}c\sim d\Rightarrow a\star c\sim b\star d.\,$ The equivalence classes under a congruence can be given a semigroup structure

$[x]\circ [y]=[x\star y]\,$ and this defines the quotient semigroup $S/\sim \,$ .

## Cancellation property

A semigroup satisfies the cancellation property if

$xz=yz\Rightarrow x=y\,$ and
$zx=zy\Rightarrow x=y.\,$ A semigroup is a subsemigroup of a group if and only if it satisfies the cancellation property.

## Free semigroup

The free semigroup on a set G of generators is the set of all words on G, the finite sequences of elements of G, with the binary operation being concatenation (juxtaposition). The free semigroup on one generator g may be identified with the semigroup of positive integers under addition

$n\leftrightarrow g^{n}=gg\cdots g.\,$ Every semigroup may be expressed as a quotient of a free semigroup.