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WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Disambiguation, an attempt to structure and organize all disambiguation pages on Wikipedia. If you wish to help, you can edit the page attached to this talk page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project or contribute to the discussion.

Doubt that "vector" means "memory location"; alternatives[edit]

(I can't draw parentheses big enuf to encompass the next couple dozen lines.) (Start of Jerzy's virtual parentheses)

This page has been returned to service as the talk page for the article Vector by removing a redirect directive that was its only line.

It's unclear how it got to the situation it was in, especially since it was redirected to


which redirects to


which redirects to


The last page's last 6 edits were on 3 consecutive days in early Aug, 2003, and one of them was commented "(I've been following the wacky page moves of the last two days with bemusement -- could someone step in and restore sanity please?)".

I arrive late on the scene, but i assume that only the most specialized and obscure points relating to the disamb. page Vector would be fruitful to take up there.

The links above will assist anyone who wants to visit any of those pages. --Jerzy 04:18, 11 Oct 2003 (UTC) (End of Jerzy's virtual parentheses)

But my comment is more prosaic:

The article says in part

Vector can mean: ... In computer science[:] ... In operating systems, a memory location

I am surprised at the idea of "vector" meaning "a memory location" in an operating system. In contrast, i would consider quite plausible either of two uses where discussion of operating system design, or trouble-shooting informed by awareness of OS internals, could refer via the term vector, to much more specific ways of using main-memory space, and refering to it by address:

  1. A 1-D array containing one address per array element can be called a "fault vector" on the following logic: the Nth element of the array contains the address of an error handling routine suitable to the occurence of an error of the category designated as "fault type" N. The array is a tuple of addresses, and a tuple in linear algebra is called a vector, so the array is a vector whose job is the handling of faults by the routines currently in effect for doing so.
  2. A single address-sized memory element could contain the address currently in effect for handling the error or errors of interest. This single memory element is a vector in the sense that vectors have direction, and this element points to the start of the error routine, so the single element is a "fault vector". --Jerzy 04:18, 11 Oct 2003 (UTC)

True disambiguation page[edit]

I'd like to move the definitions and discussions on Vector to their individual pages so it can be a true disambiguation page without incoming links. Skeetch —Preceding undated comment added 19:40, 10 November 2003

Yes, by all means fix the bad links. But creating a page which just says that a vector is an element of a vector space is not a useful thing to do. Mathematical articles need to link to vector (geometry), which already has that definition, and much more besides. (The disambiguation page does need improving, however. Column vectors and row vectors should be mentioned somewhere on vector (geometry), not on the disambiguation page. And we need to make it clearer that the mathematical information is to be found on vector (geometry) and Vector space.) --Zundark 21:19, 10 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Be careful: the point of vector (geometry) is to describe a very specific kind of vector space used in physics and engineering, not e.g. generic row/column vectors (which need not have anything to do with spatial directions). Steven G. Johnson —Preceding undated comment added 03:58, 11 November 2003‎
That's true, but vector (geometry) already gives the general definition of a vector, so I'm not sure it's inappropriate to mention row and column vectors there, especially as they are commonly used for the type of vector that the article is mainly concerned with. Or perhaps they should be mentioned in Vector space. But I don't really care if they stay on the disambiguation page, if that's where other people think they belong. --Zundark 09:56, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I would prefer to put examples of kinds of vector spaces under Vector space. vector (geometry) should mention the generalization, but only to explain how it relates. Steven G. Johnson 19:40, 11 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I'd prefer to make Vector a true disambiguation page by moving its article content to appropriate destination pages. By moving the generic vector concept material to something like Vector (mathematics), the Generalization paragraph in vector (geometry) could also point there. Currently many of the links pointing to vector (geometry) are using that paragraph as a proxy for the similar information in the disambiguation page. The problem, as Zundark has pointed out, is the generic vector information currently only consists of 3-4 sentences. Is that enough material to support further development on a separate page and allow Vector be pure disambiguation? Skeetch 17:56, Nov 11, 2003 (UTC)
What is the point of having a "pure disambiguation page" as opposed to the current Vector page? Steven G. Johnson —Preceding undated comment added 19:40, 11 November 2003‎
The point of a pure disambiguation page is clarity and ease of use for the reader. Because Vector has a significant number of substantial and distinct meanings, any information content will be irrelevant to a large number of readers directed here. We can avoid this by putting the actual content in appropriate destination pages and relocating all incoming links. Those links can go directly to the appropriate content and avoid a manual selection step here. A reader coming directly to Vector will still be able to choose from the list of available alternatives. Skeetch 19:51, Nov 12, 2003 (UTC)
I agree that things shouldn't link to vector (geometry) when what they want is a more general concept, but if people want to link to what you call "generic" vectors, they can link to Vector space (which should probably have an expanded introduction to make it more accessible). I don't see anything especially wrong with the current disambiguation page per se. —Steven G. Johnson —Preceding undated comment added 04:08, 13 November 2003‎

Vector Linux[edit]

There is a Linux distribution called vector Linux as well, I think that it is worthy of a mentioning. As, people call Debian GNU Linux as just Debian and Gentoo Linux as just Gentoo so it think that it is a good idea to add it onto this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 20:39, 7 September 2005‎ (talkcontribs)


In Lisp (I believe, I'm just learning Lisp) a vector is not a dynamic array, but is fixed size. If this is correct, it'd be nice to see it mentioned next to the dynamic array link under computer science. 05:00, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Vector qua ordered set[edit]

For an example of “vector” defined simply as ordered set, see Discrete Mathematical Structures by Kolman, Busby, and Ross. —SlamDiego←T 22:26, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

If you'll add that info and cite that source in some appropriate article, then you can make a proper disambig entry for it; see WP:MOSDAB. Dicklyon (talk) 03:06, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I find the claim rather doubtful. I know of no notable cases in which the term "vector" is defined to be a linearly ordered set. Looking in the Springer EOM, none of the articles on vectors mention the possibility that vector may mean an ordered set. Conversely, the article on ordered sets does not mention vectors. A bit of Googling, and checking the print books I have around also fails to turn up anything. I would like to see a quote from the source. I find it much more likely that a vector has been defined as an "ordered list" of components (probably numbers, although not necessarily). More formally, I'm sure a vector has been defined as a function from an ordinal to another set (e.g., of numbers). This is, however, completely different from being an ordered set. silly rabbit (talk) 03:32, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Here it is. It's about a computer data structure, not a mathematical use of the term, so you are correct, it can be better described as a mapping from an index set to some objects. Poor choice of terms on their part. Dicklyon (talk) 03:47, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
You are citing a different work! Nowhere do Kolman &alii define this as a term of computer science or otherwise limit it thereto. —SlamDiego←T 03:59, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Oh, sorry, I found a different book with similar title, and didn't check authors. What do your guys say? Dicklyon (talk) 04:03, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Just that it is an ordered set, with “set” being given an ordinary mathematical definition. (My reaction at the time was, in effect, “Oh, Chr_st! Another definition!”) BTW, Ross is a gal, not a guy. —SlamDiego←T 04:15, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
(e/c) Yes, it is clear that this reference doesn't mean that a vector is the same thing as a linearly ordered set. I suppose an "ordered set" in computer science must have some other meaning than in mathematics. But linking to linearly ordered set is obviously incorrect. Anyway, rather than try to put too fine a point on it, I do feel that there is a gap in Wikipedia's coverage of "component vectors". For instance, when the finance guys talk about "state price vectors", they mean a vector as a list of components (the prices). I know we already have an article on "coordinate vectors", but even this seems too geometrical. The point of view that a vector is nothing more than a list of numbers should be brought up somewhere more prominently. silly rabbit (talk) 04:05, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
  1. You have ignored the point that Dicklyon cited a different work.
  2. The mark-up isn't “[[linearly ordered set]]”; it is “[[Linear order|linearly ordered]] [[Set (mathematics)|set]]”.
  3. And whatever definition of “ordered set” might be most common in computer science, Kolman &alii produced a book of mathematics.
SlamDiego←T 04:15, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree that your guys got it "wrong" or "badly expressed", and that what we lack is a good generic description of a set of things put into correspondence with an index set, or "ordered". The vector [2, 1, 2], for example, is perfectly sensible, but there's no way it can be considered to be an "ordered set", since there's no relation that will put 2 both before and after 1. So tell us more about what your source says if you want anyone to help interpret that snippet of words. And please pay attention to WP:MOSDAB, since your funny linkage makes no sense as a disambig item. Dicklyon (talk) 04:21, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
No, that's simply not true. While indeed it might at best be confusing to claim that were an ordering of , the claim that is an ordering of a set is not the claim that it is an ordering of the set . You're confusing orderings of representations and representations of orderings. —SlamDiego←T 16:16, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
All I'm pointing out is that the notion of an "ordered set", which you linked to, is about a set of items with an ordering relationship between them. That's not the same thing as the vector; my example was meant to show the difference. There is no ordering relationship on the set 1,2,2 that can put it into the order of the vector. It's a different notion of ordering than the notion implied by "ordered set". Dicklyon (talk) 16:19, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
No. You're fine until the last sentence. We obviously don't want to say that was a linear ordering to (which is just written non-canonically), but the definition is question made no such claim. —SlamDiego←T 17:05, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, just look at the definition of linearly ordered set (or linearly ordered set, or however you want to parse the link). None of these has anything to do with a vector. For instance the sets {1,2,3} and {3,2,1}, with the linear order defined by the relation ≤ are in fact the same set. But the vectors [1,2,3] and [3,2,1] are different. The two mathematical concepts are simply not the same. Without providing better context for the "disambiguation", it doesn't belong here. silly rabbit (talk) 16:27, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
If you want to object that the link is misleading, then you may be correct. But, so far, you've been objecting that a vector is not a linearly ordered set, and that is mistaken. You should be able to see this from my remarks above to Dicklyon, but we can labor the isomorphisms if you need. (The original reason that I was concerned to refer to a vector as a linearly ordered set is that the underlying ordering of elements is not merely partial. I have no objection to instead referring to the set as indexed, though there may then be an eruption because the indices are typically not explicit.) —SlamDiego←T 17:05, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Please see my suggestion way up in the thread about introducing "component vectors" — for lack of a better term — to denote this other sort of vectors. I don't have any personal feeling about whether the index set needs to be explicit. But something needs to be made mathematically explicit, and I think perhaps a new article could be called for. Linearly ordered set isn't just misleading. It is wrong, at least in the sense employed by the linear order article (and the vast majority of the mathematics community). silly rabbit (talk) 17:15, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
A disambig page is basically not even the right place to be having this discussion. The content needs to be in an article first, then the disambig page can link to it. The content pointed to was not about vectors, which is why the added item was not a disambig item, which is why I took it out. Get the content written up, sourced, and debated, in an article, and then link it here. But be careful since as silly rabbit and I have pointed out, it is easy to take a few words and twist them to the wrong meaning. Dicklyon (talk) 17:35, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
No. There is no policy that an article must exist for each entry on a disambiguation page, and users would certainly not be best served by such a policy.
The content to which the definition point was indeed not itself about vectors, which is why (as noted before) the mark-up wasn't “[[linearly ordered set]]”.
Neither you nor silly rabbit pointed out that it were easy to take a few words and twist them to the wrong meaning; I pointed out that the two of you were doing this.
(You need to indent your replies addessed to me as such, rather than as replies to silly rabbit.) —SlamDiego←T 17:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I saw your earlier remarks. As written, they temselves neither seemed to embrace nor to reject a need to recognize the concept in general or as something belonging in the mathematical category.
I have no position on whether a new article might be warranted.
Again, a vector corresponds to a set which has a linear (rather than partial) ordering. The fact that “linearly ordered set” might typically call the wrong conception to mind doesn't change that fact, and thus doesn't change the fact that “linearly ordered set” is literally correct. I have no objection to attempts to describe these sets such that people will be less likely to go off the rails. I object first-and-foremost to a legitimate definition being simply deleted, and secondarily to an erroneous inferential leap from the description being confused with an error in the description itself. —SlamDiego←T 17:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Alternate expression[edit]

Okay, so here's the idea inefficiently expressed:

We're probably all familiar with the idea of a vector as “an ordered set of numbers”. That's a pretty sloppy expression because, for example, it doesn't rule-out things such as putting the numbers into something isomorphic to a figure-eight, but that's not what the expression is intended to describe. So bear in mind what it is intended to describe, and generalize that notion to one in which the elements might not be numbers. That is the notion underlying the controversy here.

So, I'm open to an unambiguous and unconfusing expression that is very different from “linearly ordered set”. But, however expressed, the definition should be included in the page. —SlamDiego←T 19:17, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

But “an ordered set of numbers” is a phrase that embodies that linguistic ambiguity that we are arguing about. It can either mean in numerical order (that is, a set that has an order relationship, so that whatever is in the set can be put in order), or it can mean an indexed sequence, that is, at first number, a second number, etc., up to an Nth number, for some finite N. That ambiguity is why we don't like the expression, and probably why it is rarely stated that way. So find a better way to say what you mean, write it up, reference this way of describing it as well, and then put in a disambig item to that writeup. No big deal. Dicklyon (talk) 22:51, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
You need to look again at the comment to which you are replying. I am requesting better wording, and you're replying to that by telling me that the wording ought to be better! —SlamDiego←T 23:03, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Some places to look: [1] [2] [3] [4]. Dicklyon (talk) 22:56, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Okay, but, in the meantime, do you have some specific ideas about how to express the idea? —SlamDiego←T 23:03, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm just saying to see how some of those books express it. If the word "ordered" is used, perhaps it doesn't just get paired with "set"? It's sometimes called an "indexed collection"; possibly a "homogeneous indexed collection" if all the objects are of a uniform type. These are data structure terms used in various computer languages that mean what your book meant by ordered set, I think. Dicklyon (talk) 05:07, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


An ordered list of numbers: a tuple.

...qed... silly rabbit (talk) 21:28, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Terms "Space-vector", "Spatial vector"?[edit]

Are there an abundance of reliable sources that call an element of a vector space a "space-vector" or "spatial vector", as opposed to "vector"? If so, what are these sources? Why isn't either term mentioned on the vector space page? In the meantime, I took out those terms. --Steve (talk) 20:10, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Merge disambiguation pages[edit]

There is another (possibly accidental) dab page that probably should be merged to this page. Please comment at Talk:Vector (biology)#Merge disambiguation pages. Johnuniq (talk) 02:28, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

The Unifying Factor?[edit]

This page would be much better if it included the etymology of the word and how it connects mathematical vectors to biological vectors, etc. JKeck (talk) 13:37, 24 June 2011 (UTC)


Hi, rookie - apologies, but this page/concept_definition seemed to be dramatically inadequate, suggest mal-think/action. Surely this concept deserves better than that :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jjalexand (talkcontribs) 14:05, 27 May 2012

Why is there nothing in the vector page related to the physics term "Vector"[edit]

As a physics student, i am very much aware that there is a term, "vector", which refers to units (such as velocity and displacement) which have both direction and magnitude. Why didn't this definition of vector have a spot in this page? Is it simply because no one thought to add it, or is it an error that needs correcting?

Many thanks to any replies, just wondering. :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Katehall101 (talkcontribs) 07:25, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Have a look to the top of the list. There is a section related to mathematics and physics with a link guiding to Vector (mathematics and physics) --JuergenKlueser (talk) 14:51, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Vector (skin) listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Vector (skin). Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MJL (talkcontribs) 18:11, 5 June 2019 (UTC)