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In this paper, we show that the (co)chain complex associated with a decomposition of the computational domain, commonly called a mesh in computational science and engineering, can be represented by a block-bidiagonal matrix that we call the Hasse matrix. Moreover, we show that topology-preserving mesh refinements, produced by the action of (the simplest) Euler operators, can be reduced to multilinear transformations of the Hasse matrix representing the complex. Our main result is a new representation of the (co)chain complex underlying field computations, a representation that provides new insights into the transformations induced by local mesh refinements. Our approach is based on first principles and is general in that it applies to most representational domains that can be characterized as cell complexes, without any restrictions on their type, dimension, codimension, orientability, manifoldness, and connectedness.