[TYPES] What algebra am I thinking of?

Eugenio Moggi moggi at disi.unige.it
Tue Mar 27 07:38:41 EDT 2018

> Consider a blockchain managing several different resources. Over time, new
> resources may be added or deleted. Each input to or output from a
> transaction is associated with a value, where each value consists of
> associating zero or more resources with amounts, where the amounts are
> natural numbers (that is, integers greater than or equal to zero).
> What kind of algebra do values correspond to? It seems similar to vector
> spaces, except:
>   (a) adding or deleting resources increases or decreases the number of
> dimensions in the vector space
>   (b) the scalars in the vector space are natural numbers rather than reals
> What algebra am I thinking of? Cheers, -- P

Dear Phil, regarding the issue (b) you want to replace the FIELD of the real
numbers with the SEMI-RING of natural numbers (N,+,*,0,1).

As suggested by Meola the structure should be a module over a RIG, see
More precisely
- a rig (F,*,+,1,0) for the scalars
- a commutative monoid (V,+,0) for the vectors
- an action *:FxV->V satisfying certain properties, in particular 0*v=0=f*0

When F is a field, one recovers the usual notion of vector space.

A vector space V can be infinite dimensional. In the case of a module over a
RIG, the definition of base B should be the usual one, namely a subset of B is a
base for V iff

- every finite subset of B is linearly independent
- every element of V is the linear combination of a finite subset of B

but the definition of LINEARLY INDEPENDENT has to be revised, to avoid the use
of "negative".  A finite subset {v_i|i:n} of V is lineraly independent <=>
for every a,b:F^n if Sum_i a_i*v_i = Sum_i b_i*v_i, then a=b.

In the module of over N proposed by Meola, ie the maps from the set of resourses
to the rig N that have finite support, the base is unique, and there is an
obvious definition of inner product, but I doubt you can do much with it.

However, there are modules over N that have no base.  For instance, the module Z
over N, {1} is too small to be a base, and {1,-1} is too big.

Best Regards
Eugenio Moggi

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