Codomain

In mathematics, the codomain or set of destination of a function is the set into which all of the output of the function is constrained to fall. It is the set Y in the notation f: XY. The term range is sometimes ambiguously used to refer to either the codomain or image of a function.

A codomain is part of a function f if f is defined as a triple (X, Y, G) where X is called the domain of f, Y its codomain, and G its graph.[1] The set of all elements of the form f(x), where x ranges over the elements of the domain X, is called the image of f. The image of a function is a subset of its codomain so it might not coincide with it. Namely, a function that is not surjective has elements y in its codomain for which the equation f(x) = y does not have a solution.

A codomain is not part of a function f if f is defined as just a graph.[2][3] For example in set theory it is desirable to permit the domain of a function to be a proper class X, in which case there is formally no such thing as a triple (X, Y, G). With such a definition functions do not have a codomain, although some authors still use it informally after introducing a function in the form f: XY.[4]

While f and g map a given x to the same number, they are not, in this view, the same function because they have different codomains. A third function h can be defined to demonstrate why:

Function composition therefore is a useful notion only when the codomain of the function on the right side of a composition (not its image, which is a consequence of the function and could be unknown at the level of the composition) is a subset of the domain of the function on the left side.

The codomain affects whether a function is a surjection, in that the function is surjective if and only if its codomain equals its image. In the example, g is a surjection while f is not. The codomain does not affect whether a function is an injection.