5

I'm not sure if this is a latex or math notation question.

I'm trying to define a set of sets,

B = {T_f = {t | condition of t's membership in T_f} | condition of t_f's membership in B}

Is this the correct notation, it looks confusing to read - is there a better way? The latex I am using currently looks like this

${B = \{T_f = \{t | t \text{ condition of t in T_f}\} | \text{ condition of T_f in B } b\}}$ 
  • Use \mid instead of only |. Also, inside \text{} you have to change to math mode again to type $T_f$. – Sigur Oct 26 '16 at 17:57
  • I am also not sure why you are enclosing everything in one set of braces: is there any reason to put a group there? // For ease of reading, it may help to use different sized braces to make the different levels more visually distinguishable. – Willie Wong Oct 26 '16 at 18:11
  • ...you are asking for an opinion here (sure there are better ways), which subjective (I don't find it confusing to read...) and could lead to possible closure... – Werner Oct 26 '16 at 18:13
10

Here are my suggestions:

  • Use \Set and \SET commands such that you cannot forget braces and the formatting is consistent. Both take two arguments, where \Set typesets the second argument in math mode and \SET in text mode.

  • Split the definition into two lines. It will be hard to read once you have inserted the proper conditions. It is particularly confusing to define T_f within the definition of B.

  • Explain the meaning of B and T_f also verbally.

Here is an example assigning phantasy meaning.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{mathtools}
\newcommand\Set[2]{\{\,#1\mid#2\,\}}
\newcommand\SET[2]{\Set{#1}{\text{#2}}}
\begin{document}
\noindent
The boundary, $B$, is the collection of trust sets for all green functions:
\begin{align*}
B  &\coloneqq \Set{T_f}{\operatorname{color}(f)=\operatorname{green}}\\
\intertext{where}
T_f&\coloneqq \SET{t}{$t$ satisfies some condition depending on $f$}
\end{align*}
is the set of trustworthy points of function~$f$.
\end{document}

enter image description here

  • 2
    A minor suggestion: Load the mathtool package and use the macro \coloneqq instead of typing :=. – Mico Oct 26 '16 at 20:05
  • 1
    +1! Another minor suggestion: perhaps “green” shouldn’t be an operator. – GuM Oct 26 '16 at 20:16
  • @GustavoMezzetti Well, it depends on whether green is a variable or a constant (=nullary operator), ... ;-) I don't know for sure, I'm no expert on green functions. – gernot says Reinstate Monica Oct 26 '16 at 21:10
  • mathtools is an extension of amsmath so there is no need til load both packages. – Svend Tveskæg Oct 26 '16 at 21:36
8

Same idea as @gernot’s, but following the guidelines given in Section 3.6 of the manual of the mathtools package:

\documentclass[a4paper]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{mathtools}
\usepackage{amssymb} % only because one of the examples uses "\mathbb"

% The portion between "\makeatletter" and "\makeatoyher" defines the abstract 
% command "\Set", together with some other ancillary commands (cf. the manual 
% of the `mathtools' package, p. 27).
\makeatletter

\newcommand*\SetSuchThat{\@ifstar\@SetSuchThat@star\@SetSuchThat@nostar}
\newcommand*\@SetSuchThat@star{%
    \mathrel{}%
    % \nobreak % superfluous inside "\left... ... \right..."
    \middle\vert
    \mathrel{}%
}
\newcommand*\@SetSuchThat@nostar[1][]{%
    \mathrel{#1\vert}%
}
\newcommand*\@SetSuchThat{}
\DeclarePairedDelimiterX \Set [2] {\lbrace}{\rbrace}
    {\nonscript\,#1\@SetSuchThat #2\nonscript\,}
\reDeclarePairedDelimiterInnerWrapper \Set {star} {%
    \mathopen{}%
    \mathclose\bgroup
    \def\@SetSuchThat{\SetSuchThat*}%
    #1#2\aftergroup\egroup #3
}
\reDeclarePairedDelimiterInnerWrapper \Set {nostar} {%
    \begingroup
        \def\@SetSuchThat{\SetSuchThat[\delimsize]}%
        \mathopen{#1}#2\mathclose{#3}%
    \endgroup
}

\makeatother



\begin{document}

Let us define:
\begin{equation}
    B = \Set % three arguments, the first is optional
            [\Big] % size specification for the delimiters
            {% typical set element; we nest onther "\Set" here
                T_{\!f} = \Set
                    % no optional argument: use ordinary-size delimiters
                    {t} % typical set element...
                    {\text{condition of $t$ in $T_{\!f}$}} % ...and its description
            }
            {\text{condition of $T_{\!f}$ in $B$}} % description for outer set
\end{equation}
In a in-line formula, though, I'd use smaller delimiters (\verb|\big| instead of
\verb|\Big|) for the outer set:
\(
    B = \Set % three arguments, the first is optional
            [\big] % size specification for the delimiters
            {% typical set element; we nest onther "\Set" here
                T_{\!f} = \Set
                    % no optional argument: use ordinary-size delimiters
                    {t} % typical set element...
                    {\text{condition of $t$ in $T_{\!f}$}} % ...and its description
            }
            {\text{condition of $T_{\!f}$ in $B$}} % description for outer set
\).
As you can see, however, the output is awful in any case!~(;-)

You can also replace the optional argument of the \verb|\Set| command with a
star~(\texttt{*}) for auto-sizing delimiters (that is,
\verb|\left\{|\,\ldots\verb+\middle|+\,\ldots\verb|\right\}|).  Example:
\begin{equation}
    A = \Set*
        {\frac{n}{n+1}}
        {n\in\mathbb{N}}
\end{equation}

\end{document}

After seeing the output

Output of the code

you should better appreciate the value of @gernot’s second suggestion, that is, split the definition into two separate pieces! :-)

Note: Personally, I insist on preferring a notation like

\Set{x}{\text{condition on $x$}}

over

\Set{x \given \text{condition on $x$}}

with appropriate definition of the \given command, as the manual of the mathtools package suggests (in other words, I prefer having two separate arguments for the typical element of the set and for the defining condition). Others don’t agree.

  • Hi, I was trying this command today and I happened upon two problems. First, Latex gave me the error "wrapper not found for \set and option nostar", which I solved by switching nostar for nostarnonscaled in the definition. You may wish to update this answer accordingly. Second, I can't find a way to use this to write simple sets such as ${1,2}$, which are easy enough to type on their own but for consistency's sake, is there a way to write them with a \Set command? – The Fourth Man Aug 23 at 17:22
  • @TheFourthMan: On the first point: Oh, sure, the change that has been made to mathtools in… 2017? (I think so, but I don’t remember now.) Thank you for bringing this outdated answer to my attention, I’ll correct it as soon as I have some spare time. On the second point: Well, the command is meant only for sets defined by a condition. :-) – GuM Aug 23 at 21:03

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