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On the notions of upper and lower density

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2019

Paolo Leonetti
Department of Statistics, Università Luigi Bocconi, via Sarfatti 25, 20136 Milano, Italy (
Salvatore Tringali
Department of Mathematics, Texas A & M University at Qatar, PO Box 23874 Doha, Qatar (


Let $\mathcal {P}(\mathbf{N})$ be the power set of N. We say that a function $\mu ^\ast : \mathcal {P}(\mathbf{N}) \to \mathbf{R}$ is an upper density if, for all X, YN and h, kN+, the following hold: (f1) $\mu ^\ast (\mathbf{N}) = 1$; (f2) $\mu ^\ast (X) \le \mu ^\ast (Y)$ if XY; (f3) $\mu ^\ast (X \cup Y) \le \mu ^\ast (X) + \mu ^\ast (Y)$; (f4) $\mu ^\ast (k\cdot X) = ({1}/{k}) \mu ^\ast (X)$, where k · X : = {kx: xX}; and (f5) $\mu ^\ast (X + h) = \mu ^\ast (X)$. We show that the upper asymptotic, upper logarithmic, upper Banach, upper Buck, upper Pólya and upper analytic densities, together with all upper α-densities (with α a real parameter ≥ −1), are upper densities in the sense of our definition. Moreover, we establish the mutual independence of axioms (f1)–(f5), and we investigate various properties of upper densities (and related functions) under the assumption that (f2) is replaced by the weaker condition that $\mu ^\ast (X)\le 1$ for every XN. Overall, this allows us to extend and generalize results so far independently derived for some of the classical upper densities mentioned above, thus introducing a certain amount of unification into the theory.

Research Article
Copyright © Edinburgh Mathematical Society 2019

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Current address: Institute of Analysis and Number Theory, Graz University of Technology, Kopernikusgasse 24/II, 8010 Graz, Austria.

Current address: College of Mathematics and Information Science, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province 050000, China.


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