George Cantor (1845—1918), the creator of the set theory, made considerable contributions to the development of the theory of real sequences. He found a firm base for most of the fundamental concepts of real analysis in the sequences of rational numbers. Though his layouts are not convenient in the initial stages, they are quite advantageous while making advanced investigations. The study of many important and advanced concepts becomes easy if the notion of sequences is employed.
A sequence is a function whose domain set is the set , whereas the range set may be any set. Now onwards, we shall deal with those specific sequences whose range sets sub-sets of . Such sequences are called real sequences. Thus, the function is a real sequence.
A function whose domain is the set of natural numbers and ranges a subset of is a real sequence or simply a sequence. Symbolically, if then is a sequence. As in the case of functions, we denote a sequence in a number of ways. Usually a sequence is denoted by its images. For a sequence , the image corresponding to is denoted by or is called the nth term (or member or element) of the sequence .
The set of all distinct terms of a sequence is called the range set of that sequence; we shall denote the range set of a sequence by or by .
Since the domain set for a sequence is always , if we could characterize the nth term of a sequence then it evidently fully defines the sequence. Thus we shall denote a sequence, , by any one of , or simply by where the nth term is supposed to be known. The nth term , is either directly known or it is given by specifying some relations from which it could be determined for each . For example, if and are given then the recurrence relation
specifies (since in succession could be determined). Thus the sequence is fully prescribed.
Note that for writing the general terms of a given sequence, one can start from any stage from where u appears to be generated correspondingly. For example, for the sequence
one can take the general term as . Here for we get 3rd, 4th, 5th... terms respectively.
A sequence defined by is called a constant sequence. When there is no ambiguity the number is itself used to signify this constant sequence .