Category Archives: algebra

Fibonacci’s Problem of the Birds

I have been enjoying reading Keith Devlin’s new book, Finding Fibonacci. I’ll write more about the book later. For now, I just wanted to share a nice problem I learned about which Leonardo Pisano, aka Fibonacci, included in his book … Continue reading

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Sigma notation ninja tricks 2: splitting sums

[Previous posts in this series: jumping constants] Trick 2: splitting sums I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth spelling it out for completeness’ sake. If you have a sum of something which is itself a sum, like this: you … Continue reading

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Sigma notation ninja tricks 1: jumping constants

Almost exactly ten years ago, I wrote a page on this blog explaining big-sigma notation. Since then it’s consistently been one of the highest-traffic posts on my blog, and still gets occasional comments and questions. A few days ago, a … Continue reading

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MaBloWriMo 30: Cyclic subgroups

Today, to wrap things up, we will use Lagrange’s Theorem to prove that if is an element of the group , the order of evenly divides the order of . So we have a group and an element . In … Continue reading

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MaBloWriMo 29: Equivalence classes are cosets

Today will conclude the proof of Lagrange’s Theorem! Recall that we defined subgroups and left cosets, and defined a certain equivalence relation on a group in terms of a subgroup . Today we’re going to show that the equivalence classes … Continue reading

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MaBloWriMo 28: Equivalence relations are partitions

Today we’ll take a brief break from group theory to prove a fact about equivalence relations, namely, that they are the same as partitions. A partition is a pretty intuitive concept: you take a big set, and cut it up … Continue reading

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MaBloWriMo 27: From subgroups to equivalence relations

Again, let be a group and a subgroup of . Then we can define a binary relation on elements of , called , as follows: if and only if there is some such that . That is, for any two … Continue reading

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