Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...
, a function
In mathematics, a function associates one quantity, the argument of the function, also known as the input, with another quantity, the value of the function, also known as the output. A function assigns exactly one output to each input. The argument and the value may be real numbers, but they can...
f defined on some set X with real
In mathematics, a real number is a value that represents a quantity along a continuum, such as -5 , 4/3 , 8.6 , √2 and π...
A complex number is a number consisting of a real part and an imaginary part. Complex numbers extend the idea of the one-dimensional number line to the two-dimensional complex plane by using the number line for the real part and adding a vertical axis to plot the imaginary part...
values is called bounded, if the set of its values is bounded
In mathematical analysis and related areas of mathematics, a set is called bounded, if it is, in a certain sense, of finite size. Conversely, a set which is not bounded is called unbounded...
. In other words, there exists a real number M < ∞ such that
for all x in X.
Sometimes, if for all x in X, then the function is said to be bounded above by A. On the other hand, if for all x in X, then the function is said to be bounded below by B.
The concept should not be confused with that of a bounded operator
In functional analysis, a branch of mathematics, a bounded linear operator is a linear transformation L between normed vector spaces X and Y for which the ratio of the norm of L to that of v is bounded by the same number, over all non-zero vectors v in X...
An important special case is a bounded sequence, where X is taken to be the set N of natural number
In mathematics, the natural numbers are the ordinary whole numbers used for counting and ordering . These purposes are related to the linguistic notions of cardinal and ordinal numbers, respectively...
s. Thus a sequence
In mathematics, a sequence is an ordered list of objects . Like a set, it contains members , and the number of terms is called the length of the sequence. Unlike a set, order matters, and exactly the same elements can appear multiple times at different positions in the sequence...
a2, ... )
is bounded if there exists a real number M < ∞ such that
- |an| ≤ M
for every natural number n. The set of all bounded sequences, equipped with a vector space
A vector space is a mathematical structure formed by a collection of vectors: objects that may be added together and multiplied by numbers, called scalars in this context. Scalars are often taken to be real numbers, but one may also consider vector spaces with scalar multiplication by complex...
structure, forms a sequence space
In functional analysis and related areas of mathematics, a sequence space is a vector space whose elements are infinite sequences of real or complex numbers. Equivalently, it is a function space whose elements are functions from the natural numbers to the field K of real or complex numbers...
This definition can be extended to functions taking values in a metric space
In mathematics, a metric space is a set where a notion of distance between elements of the set is defined.The metric space which most closely corresponds to our intuitive understanding of space is the 3-dimensional Euclidean space...
Y. Such a function f defined on some set X is called bounded if for some a in Y there exists a real number M < ∞ such that its distance function d ("distance") is less than M, i.e.
for all x in X.
If this is the case, there is also such an M for each other a.
- The function f:R → R defined by f (x)=sin x is bounded. The sineSineIn mathematics, the sine function is a function of an angle. In a right triangle, sine gives the ratio of the length of the side opposite to an angle to the length of the hypotenuse.Sine is usually listed first amongst the trigonometric functions....
function is no longer bounded if it is defined over the set of all complex numbers
- The function
defined for all real x which do not equal −1 or 1 is not bounded. As x gets closer to −1 or to 1, the values of this function get larger and larger in magnitude. This function can be made bounded if one considers its domain to be, for example,
- The function
defined for all real x is bounded.
- Every continuous functionContinuous functionIn mathematics, a continuous function is a function for which, intuitively, "small" changes in the input result in "small" changes in the output. Otherwise, a function is said to be "discontinuous". A continuous function with a continuous inverse function is called "bicontinuous".Continuity of...
f:[0,1] → R is bounded. This is really a special case of a more general fact: Every continuous function from a compact spaceCompact spaceIn mathematics, specifically general topology and metric topology, a compact space is an abstract mathematical space whose topology has the compactness property, which has many important implications not valid in general spaces...
into a metric space is bounded.
- The function f which takes the value 0 for x rational numberRational numberIn mathematics, a rational number is any number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction a/b of two integers, with the denominator b not equal to zero. Since b may be equal to 1, every integer is a rational number...
and 1 for x irrational numberIrrational numberIn mathematics, an irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, where a and b are integers, with b non-zero, and is therefore not a rational number....
is bounded. Thus, a function does not need to be "nice" in order to be bounded. The set of all bounded functions defined on [0,1] is much bigger than the set of continuous functionContinuous functionIn mathematics, a continuous function is a function for which, intuitively, "small" changes in the input result in "small" changes in the output. Otherwise, a function is said to be "discontinuous". A continuous function with a continuous inverse function is called "bicontinuous".Continuity of...
s on that interval.