In mathematics, a semigroup is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with an associative binary operation. The binary operation of a semigroup is most often denoted multiplicatively: x·y, or simply xy, denotes the result of applying the semigroup operation to the ordered pair (x, y). Associativity is formally expressed as that (x·y)·z = x·(y·z) for all x, y and z in the semigroup.