Noetherianness is about making sure small modules don’t have big parts. But how do you measure how big a module is? Remember that while every vector space has a dimension—the size of a basis—most modules don’t have a basis. We can still talk about a *generating set* for an -module , though, like for the -module : a subset of for which every element can be written as an -linear combination of those generating elements.

Question: For a vector space, its dimension is its minimum number of generators. Can we use the minimum number of generators as a measure of the size of a module in general?