In mathematics, the associative property is a property of some binary operations. In propositional logic, associativity is a rule of replacement for expressions in logical proofs. That is, rearranging the parentheses in such an expression will not change its value, consider the following equations, +4 =2 + =92 × = ×4 =24. Even though the parentheses were rearranged on each line, the values of the expressions were not altered, since this holds true when performing addition and multiplication on any real numbers, it can be said that addition and multiplication of real numbers are associative operations. Associativity is not to be confused with commutativity, which addresses whether or not the order of two operands changes the result. For example, the order doesnt matter in the multiplication of numbers, that is. Associative operations are abundant in mathematics, in fact, many algebraic structures explicitly require their binary operations to be associative, however, many important and interesting operations are non-associative, some examples include subtraction, exponentiation and the vector cross product. Z = x = xyz for all x, y, z in S, the associative law can also be expressed in functional notation thus, f = f. If a binary operation is associative, repeated application of the produces the same result regardless how valid pairs of parenthesis are inserted in the expression. This is called the generalized associative law, thus the product can be written unambiguously as abcd. As the number of elements increases, the number of ways to insert parentheses grows quickly. Some examples of associative operations include the following, the two methods produce the same result, string concatenation is associative. In arithmetic, addition and multiplication of numbers are associative, i. e. + z = x + = x + y + z z = x = x y z } for all x, y, z ∈ R. x, y, z\in \mathbb. }Because of associativity. Addition and multiplication of numbers and quaternions are associative. Addition of octonions is also associative, but multiplication of octonions is non-associative, the greatest common divisor and least common multiple functions act associatively. Gcd = gcd = gcd lcm = lcm = lcm } for all x, y, z ∈ Z. x, y, z\in \mathbb. }Taking the intersection or the union of sets, ∩ C = A ∩ = A ∩ B ∩ C ∪ C = A ∪ = A ∪ B ∪ C } for all sets A, B, C. Slightly more generally, given four sets M, N, P and Q, with h, M to N, g, N to P, in short, composition of maps is always associative. Consider a set with three elements, A, B, and C, thus, for example, A=C = A
A binary operation ∗ on the set S is associative when this diagram commutes. That is, when the two paths from S×S×S to S compose to the same function from S×S×S to S.
In the absence of the associative property, five factors a, b, c, d, e result in a Tamari lattice of order four, possibly different products.
The addition of real numbers is associative.
Image: Associativity of binary operations (without question marks)