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*ax*2 +

*bx*+

*c*= 0}}, where {{mvar|a}} is not zero, in terms of its coefficients {{math|

*a*,

*b*}} and {{mvar|c}}.

**Algebra**(from Arabic

*"al-jabr"*, literally meaning "reunion of broken parts"WEB, algebra,weblink Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, ) is one of the broad parts of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and analysis. In its most general form, algebra is the study of mathematical symbols and the rules for manipulating these symbols;See {{harv|Herstein|1964}}, page 1: "An algebraic system can be described as a set of objects together with some operations for combining them". it is a unifying thread of almost all of mathematics.See {{harv|Herstein|1964}} , page 1: "...it also serves as the unifying thread which interlaces almost all of mathematics". It includes everything from elementary equation solving to the study of abstractions such as groups, rings, and fields. The more basic parts of algebra are called elementary algebra; the more abstract parts are called abstract algebra or modern algebra. Elementary algebra is generally considered to be essential for any study of mathematics, science, or engineering, as well as such applications as medicine and economics. Abstract algebra is a major area in advanced mathematics, studied primarily by professional mathematicians.Elementary algebra differs from arithmetic in the use of abstractions, such as using letters to stand for numbers that are either unknown or allowed to take on many values. For example, in x + 2 = 5 the letter x is unknown, but applying additive inverses can reveal its value: x=3. In {{math|1=

*E*=

*mc*{{smallsup|2}}}}, the letters E and m are variables, and the letter c is a constant, the speed of light in a vacuum. Algebra gives methods for writing formulas and solving equations that are much clearer and easier than the older method of writing everything out in words.The word

*algebra*is also used in certain specialized ways. A special kind of mathematical object in abstract algebra is called an "algebra", and the word is used, for example, in the phrases linear algebra and algebraic topology.A mathematician who does research in algebra is called an

**algebraist**.

## Etymology

File:Muá¸¥ammad ibn MÅ«sÄ al-KhwÄrizmÄ«.png|thumb|180px|The name of*algebra*comes from the title of a book by 978-0-19-988041-6}}.The word

*algebra*comes from the Arabic (

*{{transl|ar|al-jabr}}*lit. "the reunion of broken parts") from the title of the book

*Ilm al-jabr wa'l-muá¸³Äbala*by the Persian mathematician and astronomer al-Khwarizmi. The word entered the English language during the fifteenth century, from either Spanish, Italian, or Medieval Latin. It originally referred to the surgical procedure of setting broken or dislocated bones. The mathematical meaning was first recorded in the sixteenth century.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Algebra, T.F. Hoad, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003,weblink subscription, 10.1093/acref/9780192830982.001.0001, 978-0-19-283098-2,

## Different meanings of "algebra"

The word "algebra" has several related meanings in mathematics, as a single word or with qualifiers.- As a single word without an article, "algebra" names a broad part of mathematics.
- As a single word with an article or in plural, "an algebra" or "algebras" denotes a specific mathematical structure, whose precise definition depends on the author. Usually, the structure has an addition, multiplication, and a scalar multiplication (see Algebra over a field). When some authors use the term "algebra", they make a subset of the following additional assumptions: associative, commutative, unital, and/or finite-dimensional. In universal algebra, the word "algebra" refers to a generalization of the above concept, which allows for n-ary operations.
- With a qualifier, there is the same distinction:
- Without an article, it means a part of algebra, such as linear algebra, elementary algebra (the symbol-manipulation rules taught in elementary courses of mathematics as part of primary and secondary education), or abstract algebra (the study of the algebraic structures for themselves).
- With an article, it means an instance of some abstract structure, like a Lie algebra, an associative algebra, or a vertex operator algebra.
- Sometimes both meanings exist for the same qualifier, as in the sentence:
*Commutative algebra is the study of commutative rings, which are commutative algebras over the integers*.

## Algebra as a branch of mathematics

Algebra began with computations similar to those of arithmetic, with letters standing for numbers. This allowed proofs of properties that are true no matter which numbers are involved. For example, in the quadratic equation
ax^2+bx+c=0,

a, b, c can be any numbers whatsoever (except that a cannot be 0), and the quadratic formula can be used to quickly and easily find the values of the unknown quantity x which satisfy the equation. That is to say, to find all the solutions of the equation.Historically, and in current teaching, the study of algebra starts with the solving of equations such as the quadratic equation above. Then more general questions, such as "does an equation have a solution?", "how many solutions does an equation have?", "what can be said about the nature of the solutions?" are considered. These questions led extending algebra to non-numerical objects, such as permutations, vectors, matrices, and polynomials. The structural properties of these non-numerical objects were then abstracted into algebraic structures such as groups, rings, and fields.Before the 16th century, mathematics was divided into only two subfields, arithmetic and geometry. Even though some methods, which had been developed much earlier, may be considered nowadays as algebra, the emergence of algebra and, soon thereafter, of infinitesimal calculus as subfields of mathematics only dates from the 16th or 17th century. From the second half of 19th century on, many new fields of mathematics appeared, most of which made use of both arithmetic and geometry, and almost all of which used algebra.Today, algebra has grown until it includes many branches of mathematics, as can be seen in the Mathematics Subject ClassificationWEB,weblink 2010 Mathematics Subject Classification, 2014-10-05, where none of the first level areas (two digit entries) is called *algebra*. Today algebra includes section 08-General algebraic systems, 12-Field theory and polynomials, 13-Commutative algebra, 15-Linear and multilinear algebra; matrix theory, 16-Associative rings and algebras, 17-Nonassociative rings and algebras, 18-Category theory; homological algebra, 19-K-theory and 20-Group theory. Algebra is also used extensively in 11-Number theory and 14-Algebraic geometry.

## History

### Early history of algebra

File:Image-Al-KitÄb al-muá¸«taá¹£ar fÄ« á¸¥isÄb al-ÄŸabr wa-l-muqÄbala.jpg|thumb|A page from (:en:Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi|Al-KhwÄrizmÄ«)'s*al-KitÄb al-muá¸«taá¹£ar fÄ« á¸¥isÄb al-ÄŸabr wa-l-muqÄbala*]]The roots of algebra can be traced to the ancient Babylonians,BOOK, Struik, Dirk J., 1987, A Concise History of Mathematics, New York, Dover Publications, 978-0-486-60255-4, who developed an advanced arithmetical system with which they were able to do calculations in an algorithmic fashion. The Babylonians developed formulas to calculate solutions for problems typically solved today by using linear equations, quadratic equations, and indeterminate linear equations. By contrast, most Egyptians of this era, as well as Greek and Chinese mathematics in the 1st millennium BC, usually solved such equations by geometric methods, such as those described in the

*Rhind Mathematical Papyrus*, Euclid's

*Elements*, and

*The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art*. The geometric work of the Greeks, typified in the

*Elements*, provided the framework for generalizing formulae beyond the solution of particular problems into more general systems of stating and solving equations, although this would not be realized until mathematics developed in medieval Islam.See {{harv|Boyer|1991}}.By the time of Plato, Greek mathematics had undergone a drastic change. The Greeks created a geometric algebra where terms were represented by sides of geometric objects, usually lines, that had letters associated with them.See {{harv|Boyer|1991}},

*Europe in the Middle Ages*, p. 258: "In the arithmetical theorems in Euclid's

*Elements*VIIâ€“IX, numbers had been represented by line segments to which letters had been attached, and the geometric proofs in al-Khwarizmi's

*Algebra*made use of lettered diagrams; but all coefficients in the equations used in the

*Algebra*are specific numbers, whether represented by numerals or written out in words. The idea of generality is implied in al-Khwarizmi's exposition, but he had no scheme for expressing algebraically the general propositions that are so readily available in geometry." Diophantus (3rd century AD) was an Alexandrian Greek mathematician and the author of a series of books called

*Arithmetica*. These texts deal with solving algebraic equations,BOOK, Florian Cajori, Florian, Cajori, 2010,weblink A History of Elementary Mathematics â€“ With Hints on Methods of Teaching, 34, 978-1-4460-2221-4, and have led, in number theory to the modern notion of Diophantine equation.Earlier traditions discussed above had a direct influence on the Persian mathematician Muá¸¥ammad ibn MÅ«sÄ al-KhwÄrizmÄ« (c. 780â€“850). He later wrote

*The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing*, which established algebra as a mathematical discipline that is independent of geometry and arithmetic.BOOK, Al Khwarizmi: The Beginnings of Algebra, Roshdi Rashed, Saqi Books, November 2009, 978-0-86356-430-7, The Hellenistic mathematicians Hero of Alexandria and DiophantusWEB,weblink Diophantus, Father of Algebra, 2014-10-05, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20130727040815weblink">weblink 2013-07-27, as well as Indian mathematicians such as Brahmagupta continued the traditions of Egypt and Babylon, though Diophantus'

*Arithmetica*and Brahmagupta's

*BrÄhmasphuá¹asiddhÄnta*are on a higher level.WEB,weblink History of Algebra, 2014-10-05, {{Better source|date=October 2017}} For example, the first complete arithmetic solution (including zero and negative solutions) to quadratic equations was described by Brahmagupta in his book

*Brahmasphutasiddhanta*.{{citation needed|date=January 2018}} Later, Persian and Arabic mathematicians developed algebraic methods to a much higher degree of sophistication. Although Diophantus and the Babylonians used mostly special

*ad hoc*methods to solve equations, Al-Khwarizmi's contribution was fundamental. He solved linear and quadratic equations without algebraic symbolism, negative numbers or zero, thus he had to distinguish several types of equations.BOOK, Josef W., Meri, Medieval Islamic Civilization,weblink 2012-11-25, 2004, Psychology Press, 978-0-415-96690-0, 31, In the context where algebra is identified with the theory of equations, the Greek mathematician Diophantus has traditionally been known as the "father of algebra" and in context where it is identified with rules for manipulating and solving equations, Persian mathematician al-Khwarizmi is regarded as "the father of algebra".See {{harv|Boyer|1991}}, page 181: "If we think primarily of matter of notations, Diophantus has good claim to be known as the 'father of algebra', but in terms of motivation and concept, the claim is less appropriate. The Arithmetica is not a systematic exposition of the algebraic operations, or of algebraic functions or of the solution of algebraic equations".See {{harv|Boyer|1991}}, page 230: "The six cases of equations given above exhaust all possiblities for linear and quadratic equations...In this sense, then, al-Khwarizmi is entitled to be known as 'the father of algebra'".See {{harv|Boyer|1991}}, page 228: "Diophantus sometimes is called the father of algebra, but this title more appropriately belongs to al-Khowarizmi".See {{harv|Gandz|1936}}, page 263â€“277: "In a sense, al-Khwarizmi is more entitled to be called "the father of algebra" than Diophantus because al-Khwarizmi is the first to teach algebra in an elementary form and for its own sake, Diophantus is primarily concerned with the theory of numbers".JOURNAL, Christianidis, Jean, August 2007, The way of Diophantus: Some clarifications on Diophantus' method of solution, Historia Mathematica, 34, 3, 289â€“305, It is true that if one starts from a conception of algebra that emphasizes the solution of equations, as was generally the case with the Arab mathematicians from al-KhwÄrizmÄ« onward as well as with the Italian algebraists of the Renaissance, then the work of Diophantus appears indeed very different from the works of those algebraists, 10.1016/j.hm.2006.10.003, G.C., Cifoletti, La question de l'algÃ¨bre: MathÃ©matiques et rhÃ©torique des homes de droit dans la France du 16e siÃ¨cle, Annales de l'Ã‰cole des Hautes Ã‰tudes en Sciences Sociales, 50 (6), 1995, 1385â€“1416, Le travail des Arabes et de leurs successeurs a privilÃ©giÃ© la solution des problÃ¨mes.Arithmetica de Diophantine ont privilÃ©giÃ© la thÃ©orie des equations, A debate now exists whether who (in general sense) is more entitled to be known as "the father of algebra". Those who support Diophantus point to the fact that the algebra found in

*Al-Jabr*is slightly more elementary than the algebra found in

*Arithmetica*and that

*Arithmetica*is syncopated while

*Al-Jabr*is fully rhetorical.See {{harv|Boyer|1991}}, page 228. Those who support Al-Khwarizmi point to the fact that he introduced the methods of "reduction" and "balancing" (the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation, that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation) which the term

*al-jabr*originally referred to,See {{harv|Boyer|1991}},

*The Arabic Hegemony*, p. 229: "It is not certain just what the terms

*al-jabr*and

*muqabalah*mean, but the usual interpretation is similar to that implied in the translation above. The word

*al-jabr*presumably meant something like "restoration" or "completion" and seems to refer to the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation; the word

*muqabalah*is said to refer to "reduction" or "balancing" â€“ that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation". and that he gave an exhaustive explanation of solving quadratic equations,See {{harv|Boyer|1991}},

*The Arabic Hegemony*, p. 230: "The six cases of equations given above exhaust all possibilities for linear and quadratic equations having positive root. So systematic and exhaustive was al-Khwarizmi's exposition that his readers must have had little difficulty in mastering the solutions". supported by geometric proofs, while treating algebra as an independent discipline in its own right. His algebra was also no longer concerned "with a series of problems to be resolved, but an exposition which starts with primitive terms in which the combinations must give all possible prototypes for equations, which henceforward explicitly constitute the true object of study". He also studied an equation for its own sake and "in a generic manner, insofar as it does not simply emerge in the course of solving a problem, but is specifically called on to define an infinite class of problems".BOOK, Rashed, R., Armstrong, Angela, 1994, The Development of Arabic Mathematics, Springer Science+Business Media, Springer, 978-0-7923-2565-9, 29181926, 11â€“12, Another Persian mathematician Omar Khayyam is credited with identifying the foundations of algebraic geometry and found the general geometric solution of the cubic equation. His book

*Treatise on Demonstrations of Problems of Algebra*(1070), which laid down the principles of algebra, is part of the body of Persian mathematics that was eventually transmitted to Europe.MATHEMATICAL MASTERPIECES: FURTHER CHRONICLES BY THE EXPLORERS, 92, Yet another Persian mathematician, Sharaf al-DÄ«n al-TÅ«sÄ«, found algebraic and numerical solutions to various cases of cubic equations.{{MacTutor|id=Al-Tusi_Sharaf|title=Sharaf al-Din al-Muzaffar al-Tusi}} He also developed the concept of a function.JOURNAL, Victor J. Katz, Bill Barton, Stages in the History of Algebra with Implications for Teaching, Educational Studies in Mathematics, 66, 2, October 2007, 10.1007/s10649-006-9023-7, 185â€“201 [192], Barton, Bill, The Indian mathematicians Mahavira and Bhaskara II, the Persian mathematician Al-Karaji,See {{harv|Boyer|1991}},

*The Arabic Hegemony*, p. 239: "Abu'l Wefa was a capable algebraist as well as a trigonometer. ... His successor al-Karkhi evidently used this translation to become an Arabic disciple of Diophantus â€“ but without Diophantine analysis! ... In particular, to al-Karkhi is attributed the first numerical solution of equations of the form ax2n + bxn = c (only equations with positive roots were considered)," and the Chinese mathematician Zhu Shijie, solved various cases of cubic, quartic, quintic and higher-order polynomial equations using numerical methods. In the 13th century, the solution of a cubic equation by Fibonacci is representative of the beginning of a revival in European algebra. AbÅ« al-á¸¤asan ibn Ê¿AlÄ« al-Qalaá¹£ÄdÄ« (1412â€“1486) took "the first steps toward the introduction of algebraic symbolism". He also computed âˆ‘

*n*2, âˆ‘

*n*3 and used the method of successive approximation to determine square roots.WEB,weblink Al-Qalasadi biography, www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk, 2017-10-17,

### Modern history of algebra

File:Gerolamo Cardano (colour).jpg|thumb|200px|Italian mathematician Girolamo Cardano published the solutions to the cubic and quartic equations in his 1545 book*Ars magna*.]]FranÃ§ois ViÃ¨te's work on new algebra at the close of the 16th century was an important step towards modern algebra. In 1637, RenÃ© Descartes published

*La GÃ©omÃ©trie*, inventing analytic geometry and introducing modern algebraic notation. Another key event in the further development of algebra was the general algebraic solution of the cubic and quartic equations, developed in the mid-16th century. The idea of a determinant was developed by Japanese mathematician Seki KÅwa in the 17th century, followed independently by Gottfried Leibniz ten years later, for the purpose of solving systems of simultaneous linear equations using matrices. Gabriel Cramer also did some work on matrices and determinants in the 18th century. Permutations were studied by Joseph-Louis Lagrange in his 1770 paper

*RÃ©flexions sur la rÃ©solution algÃ©brique des Ã©quations*devoted to solutions of algebraic equations, in which he introduced Lagrange resolvents. Paolo Ruffini was the first person to develop the theory of permutation groups, and like his predecessors, also in the context of solving algebraic equations.Abstract algebra was developed in the 19th century, deriving from the interest in solving equations, initially focusing on what is now called Galois theory, and on constructibility issues."The Origins of Abstract Algebra". University of Hawaii Mathematics Department. George Peacock was the founder of axiomatic thinking in arithmetic and algebra. Augustus De Morgan discovered relation algebra in his

*Syllabus of a Proposed System of Logic*. Josiah Willard Gibbs developed an algebra of vectors in three-dimensional space, and Arthur Cayley developed an algebra of matrices (this is a noncommutative algebra)."The Collected Mathematical Papers".Cambridge University Press.

## Areas of mathematics with the word algebra in their name

Some areas of mathematics that fall under the classification abstract algebra have the word algebra in their name; linear algebra is one example. Others do not: group theory, ring theory, and field theory are examples. In this section, we list some areas of mathematics with the word "algebra" in the name.- Elementary algebra, the part of algebra that is usually taught in elementary courses of mathematics.
- Abstract algebra, in which algebraic structures such as groups, rings and fields are axiomatically defined and investigated.
- Linear algebra, in which the specific properties of linear equations, vector spaces and matrices are studied.
- Boolean algebra, a branch of algebra abstracting the computation with the truth values
*false*and*true*. - Commutative algebra, the study of commutative rings.
- Computer algebra, the implementation of algebraic methods as algorithms and computer programs.
- Homological algebra, the study of algebraic structures that are fundamental to study topological spaces.
- Universal algebra, in which properties common to all algebraic structures are studied.
- Algebraic number theory, in which the properties of numbers are studied from an algebraic point of view.
- Algebraic geometry, a branch of geometry, in its primitive form specifying curves and surfaces as solutions of polynomial equations.
- Algebraic combinatorics, in which algebraic methods are used to study combinatorial questions.
- Relational algebra: a set of finitary relations that is closed under certain operators.

**algebras**:

- Algebra over a field or more generally algebra over a ring.Many classes of algebras over a field or over a ring have a specific name:
- In measure theory,
- In category theory
- In logic,
- Relation algebra, a residuated Boolean algebra expanded with an involution called converse.
- Boolean algebra, a complemented distributive lattice.
- Heyting algebra

## Elementary algebra

(File:algebraic equation notation.svg|thumb|right|Algebraic expression notation: 1 â€“ power (exponent) 2 â€“ coefficient 3 â€“ term 4 â€“ operator 5 â€“ constant term*x*

*y*

*c*â€“ variables/constants)

**Elementary algebra**is the most basic form of algebra. It is taught to students who are presumed to have no knowledge of mathematics beyond the basic principles of arithmetic. In arithmetic, only numbers and their arithmetical operations (such as +, âˆ’, Ã—, Ã·) occur. In algebra, numbers are often represented by symbols called variables (such as

*a*,

*n*,

*x*,

*y*or

*z*). This is useful because:

- It allows the general formulation of arithmetical laws (such as
*a*+*b*=*b*+*a*for all*a*and*b*), and thus is the first step to a systematic exploration of the properties of the real number system. - It allows the reference to "unknown" numbers, the formulation of equations and the study of how to solve these. (For instance, "Find a number
*x*such that 3*x*+ 1 = 10" or going a bit further "Find a number*x*such that*ax*+*b*=*c*". This step leads to the conclusion that it is not the nature of the specific numbers that allows us to solve it, but that of the operations involved.) - It allows the formulation of functional relationships. (For instance, "If you sell
*x*tickets, then your profit will be 3*x*âˆ’ 10 dollars, or*f*(*x*) = 3*x*âˆ’ 10, where*f*is the function, and*x*is the number to which the function is applied".)

### Polynomials

File:Polynomialdeg3.svg|The graphgraphA**polynomial**is an expression that is the sum of a finite number of non-zero terms, each term consisting of the product of a constant and a finite number of variables raised to whole number powers. For example,

*x*2 + 2

*x*âˆ’ 3 is a polynomial in the single variable

*x*. A

**polynomial expression**is an expression that may be rewritten as a polynomial, by using commutativity, associativity and distributivity of addition and multiplication. For example, (

*x*âˆ’ 1)(

*x*+ 3) is a polynomial expression, that, properly speaking, is not a polynomial. A

**polynomial function**is a function that is defined by a polynomial, or, equivalently, by a polynomial expression. The two preceding examples define the same polynomial function.Two important and related problems in algebra are the factorization of polynomials, that is, expressing a given polynomial as a product of other polynomials that can not be factored any further, and the computation of polynomial greatest common divisors. The example polynomial above can be factored as (

*x*âˆ’ 1)(

*x*+ 3). A related class of problems is finding algebraic expressions for the roots of a polynomial in a single variable.

### Education

{{see also|Mathematics education}}It has been suggested that elementary algebra should be taught to students as young as eleven years old,WEB, Hull's Algebra, New York Times, July 16, 1904,weblink pdf, 2012-09-21, though in recent years it is more common for public lessons to begin at the eighth grade level (â‰ˆ 13 y.o. Â±) in the United States.WEB, Quaid, Libby, Kids misplaced in algebra, Associated Press, 2008-09-22,weblink Report, 2012-09-23, However, in some US schools, algebra is started in ninth grade.## Abstract algebra

**Abstract algebra**extends the familiar concepts found in elementary algebra and arithmetic of numbers to more general concepts. Here are listed fundamental concepts in abstract algebra.

**Sets**: Rather than just considering the different types of numbers, abstract algebra deals with the more general concept of

*sets*: a collection of all objects (called elements) selected by property specific for the set. All collections of the familiar types of numbers are sets. Other examples of sets include the set of all two-by-two matrices, the set of all second-degree polynomials (

*ax*2 +

*bx*+

*c*), the set of all two dimensional vectors in the plane, and the various finite groups such as the cyclic groups, which are the groups of integers modulo

*n*. Set theory is a branch of logic and not technically a branch of algebra.

**Binary operations**: The notion of addition (+) is abstracted to give a

*binary operation*, âˆ— say. The notion of binary operation is meaningless without the set on which the operation is defined. For two elements

*a*and

*b*in a set

*S*,

*a*âˆ—

*b*is another element in the set; this condition is called closure. Addition (+), subtraction (âˆ’), multiplication (Ã—), and division (Ã·) can be binary operations when defined on different sets, as are addition and multiplication of matrices, vectors, and polynomials.

**Identity elements**: The numbers zero and one are abstracted to give the notion of an

*identity element*for an operation. Zero is the identity element for addition and one is the identity element for multiplication. For a general binary operator âˆ— the identity element

*e*must satisfy

*a*âˆ—

*e*=

*a*and

*e*âˆ—

*a*=

*a*, and is necessarily unique, if it exists. This holds for addition as

*a*+ 0 =

*a*and 0 +

*a*=

*a*and multiplication

*a*Ã— 1 =

*a*and 1 Ã—

*a*=

*a*. Not all sets and operator combinations have an identity element; for example, the set of positive natural numbers (1, 2, 3, ...) has no identity element for addition.

**Inverse elements**: The negative numbers give rise to the concept of

*inverse elements*. For addition, the inverse of

*a*is written âˆ’

*a*, and for multiplication the inverse is written

*a*âˆ’1. A general two-sided inverse element

*a*âˆ’1 satisfies the property that

*a*âˆ—

*a*âˆ’1 =

*e*and

*a*âˆ’1 âˆ—

*a*=

*e*, where

*e*is the identity element.

**Associativity**: Addition of integers has a property called associativity. That is, the grouping of the numbers to be added does not affect the sum. For example: {{nowrap|1=(2 + 3) + 4 = 2 + (3 + 4)}}. In general, this becomes (

*a*âˆ—

*b*) âˆ—

*c*=

*a*âˆ— (

*b*âˆ—

*c*). This property is shared by most binary operations, but not subtraction or division or octonion multiplication.

**Commutativity**: Addition and multiplication of real numbers are both commutative. That is, the order of the numbers does not affect the result. For example: 2 + 3 = 3 + 2. In general, this becomes

*a*âˆ—

*b*=

*b*âˆ—

*a*. This property does not hold for all binary operations. For example, matrix multiplication and quaternion multiplication are both non-commutative.

### Groups

{{see also|Group theory|Examples of groups}}Combining the above concepts gives one of the most important structures in mathematics: a**group**. A group is a combination of a set

*S*and a single binary operation âˆ—, defined in any way you choose, but with the following properties:

- An identity element
*e*exists, such that for every member*a*of*S*,*e*âˆ—*a*and*a*âˆ—*e*are both identical to*a*. - Every element has an inverse: for every member
*a*of*S*, there exists a member*a*âˆ’1 such that*a*âˆ—*a*âˆ’1 and*a*âˆ’1 âˆ—*a*are both identical to the identity element. - The operation is associative: if
*a*,*b*and*c*are members of*S*, then (*a*âˆ—*b*) âˆ—*c*is identical to*a*âˆ— (*b*âˆ—*c*).

*a*and

*b*of

*S*,

*a*âˆ—

*b*is identical to

*b*âˆ—

*a*â€“ then the group is said to be abelian.For example, the set of integers under the operation of addition is a group. In this group, the identity element is 0 and the inverse of any element

*a*is its negation, âˆ’

*a*. The associativity requirement is met, because for any integers

*a*,

*b*and

*c*, (

*a*+

*b*) +

*c*=

*a*+ (

*b*+

*c*)The non-zero rational numbers form a group under multiplication. Here, the identity element is 1, since 1 Ã—

*a*=

*a*Ã— 1 =

*a*for any rational number

*a*. The inverse of

*a*is 1/

*a*, since

*a*Ã— 1/

*a*= 1.The integers under the multiplication operation, however, do not form a group. This is because, in general, the multiplicative inverse of an integer is not an integer. For example, 4 is an integer, but its multiplicative inverse is Â¼, which is not an integer.The theory of groups is studied in group theory. A major result in this theory is the classification of finite simple groups, mostly published between about 1955 and 1983, which separates the finite simple groups into roughly 30 basic types.Semi-groups, quasi-groups, and monoids are structures similar to groups, but more general. They comprise a set and a closed binary operation, but do not necessarily satisfy the other conditions. A semi-group has an

*associative*binary operation, but might not have an identity element. A monoid is a semi-group which does have an identity but might not have an inverse for every element. A quasi-group satisfies a requirement that any element can be turned into any other by either a unique left-multiplication or right-multiplication; however the binary operation might not be associative.All groups are monoids, and all monoids are semi-groups.{| class="wikitable"|+Examples!Set

Natural numbers N | Integers Z | Rational numbers Q (also Real numbers | R and Complex numbers>complex C numbers) | Integers modulo 3: Z3 = {0, 1, 2} |

*a*| N/A| âˆ’

*a*| N/A| 1/

*a*| N/A| 0, 2, 1, respectively| N/A, 1, 2, respectively

**Z**2)

### Rings and fields

{{see also|Ring theory|Glossary of ring theory|Field theory (mathematics)|Glossary of field theory}}Groups just have one binary operation. To fully explain the behaviour of the different types of numbers, structures with two operators need to be studied. The most important of these are rings, and fields.A**ring**has two binary operations (+) and (Ã—), with Ã— distributive over +. Under the first operator (+) it forms an

*abelian group*. Under the second operator (Ã—) it is associative, but it does not need to have identity, or inverse, so division is not required. The additive (+) identity element is written as 0 and the additive inverse of

*a*is written as âˆ’

*a*.

**Distributivity**generalises the

*distributive law*for numbers. For the integers {{nowrap|1=(

*a*+

*b*) Ã—

*c*=

*a*Ã—

*c*+

*b*Ã—

*c*}} and {{nowrap|1=

*c*Ã— (

*a*+

*b*) =

*c*Ã—

*a*+

*c*Ã—

*b*,}} and Ã— is said to be

*distributive*over +.The integers are an example of a ring. The integers have additional properties which make it an

**integral domain**.A

**field**is a

*ring*with the additional property that all the elements excluding 0 form an

*abelian group*under Ã—. The multiplicative (Ã—) identity is written as 1 and the multiplicative inverse of

*a*is written as

*a*âˆ’1.The rational numbers, the real numbers and the complex numbers are all examples of fields.

## See also

## References

{{reflist}}#### Works cited

- BOYER, Carl B., Carl Benjamin Boyer, A History of Mathematics, 2nd, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1991, 978-0-471-54397-8,
- GANDZ, S., The Sources of Al-KhowÄrizmÄ«'s Algebra, Osiris (journal), Osiris, 1, 1936, 263-277,
- HERSTEIN, I.N., Topics in Algebra, Ginn and Company, 1964, 0-471-02371-X,

## Further reading

- ALLENBY, R.B.J.T., Rings, Fields and Groups, 0-340-54440-6,
- BOOK, Asimov, Isaac, Realm of Algebra, 1961, Houghton Mifflin, Isaac Asimov,
- BOYER, Carl B., Carl Benjamin Boyer, A History of Mathematics, 2nd, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1991, 978-0-471-54397-8,
- EULER, Leonhard, Leonhard Euler,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110413234352weblink">weblink Elements of Algebra, 978-1-899618-73-6,
- HERSTEIN, I.N., Topics in Algebra, 0-471-02371-X,
- HILL, Donald R., Islamic Science and Engineering, Edinburgh University Press, 1994,
- JOSEPH, George Gheverghese, The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European Roots of Mathematics, Penguin Books, 2000,
- O'CONNOR, John J., Robertson, Edmund F.,weblink History Topics: Algebra Index., MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, 2005,
- SARDAR, Ziauddin, Ravetz, Jerry, Loon, Borin Van, Introducing Mathematics, Totem Books, 1999,

## External links

{{Wiktionary|algebra}}{{EB1911 poster|Algebra}}- Khan Academy: Conceptual videos and worked examples
- Khan Academy: Origins of Algebra, free online micro lectures
- Algebrarules.com: An open source resource for learning the fundamentals of Algebra
- weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20071004172100weblink">4000 Years of Algebra, lecture by Robin Wilson, at Gresham College, October 17, 2007 (available for MP3 and MP4 download, as well as a text file).
- SEP, algebra, Algebra, Pratt, Vaughan,

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