Idempotents, semi-group of

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idempotent semi-group

A semi-group each element of which is an idempotent. An idempotent semi-group is also called a band (this is consistent with the concept of a band of semi-groups: An idempotent semi-group is a band of one-element semi-groups). A commutative idempotent semi-group is called a semi-lattice; this term is consistent with its use in the theory of partially ordered sets: If a commutative idempotent semi-group is considered with respect to its natural partial order, then is the greatest lower bound of the elements . Every semi-lattice is a subdirect product of two-element semi-lattices. A semi-group is said to be singular if satisfies one of the identities , ; in the first case is said to be left-singular, or to be a semi-group of left zeros, in the second case it is called right-singular, or a semi-group of right zeros. A semi-group is said to be rectangular if it satisfies the identity (this term is sometimes used in a wider sense, see [1]). The following conditions are equivalent for a semi-group : 1) is rectangular; 2) is an ideally-simple idempotent semi-group (see Simple semi-group); 3) is a completely-simple semi-group of idempotents; and 4) is isomorphic to a direct product , where is a left-singular and is a right-singular semi-group. Every idempotent semi-group is a Clifford semi-group and splits into a semi-lattice of rectangular semi-groups (see Band of semi-groups). This splitting is the starting point for the study of many properties of idempotent semi-groups. Every idempotent semi-group is locally finite.

Idempotent semi-groups have been studied from various points of view, including that of the theory of varieties. The lattice of all subvarieties of the variety of all idempotent semi-groups has been described completely in [4][6]; it is countable and distributive, and every subvariety of is defined by one identity. See the figure for the diagram of this lattice; also indicated in this figure are the identities giving in the varieties on some of the lower "floors" .

Figure: i050090a


[1] A.H. Clifford, G.B. Preston, "Algebraic theory of semi-groups" , 1–2 , Amer. Math. Soc. (1961–1967)
[2] A.D. McLean, "Idempotent semigroups" Amer. Math. Monthly , 61 : 2 (1954) pp. 110–113
[3] N. Kimura, "The structure of idempotent semigroups" Pacific J. Math. , 8 (1958) pp. 257–275
[4] A.P. Biryukov, "Varieties of idempotent semigroups" Algebra and Logic , 9 : 3 (1970) pp. 153–164 Algebra i Logika , 9 : 3 (1970) pp. 255–273
[5] J. Gerhard, "The lattice of equational classes of idempotent semigroups" J. of Algebra , 15 : 2 (1970) pp. 195–224
[6] C. Fennemore, "All varieties of bands I, II" Math. Nachr. , 48 : 1–6 (1971) pp. 237–252; 253–262
How to Cite This Entry:
Idempotents, semi-group of. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:,_semi-group_of&oldid=16549
This article was adapted from an original article by L.N. Shevrin (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article