The Mathematics Portal

Mathematics is the study of numbers, quantity, space, pattern, structure, and change. Mathematics is used throughout the world as an essential tool in many fields, including natural science, engineering, medicine, and the social sciences. It is used for calculation and considered as the most important subject. Applied mathematics, the branch of mathematics concerned with application of mathematical knowledge to other fields, inspires and makes use of new mathematical discoveries and sometimes leads to the development of entirely new mathematical disciplines, such as statistics and game theory. Mathematicians also engage in pure mathematics, or mathematics for its own sake, without having any application in mind. There is no clear line separating pure and applied mathematics, and practical applications for what began as pure mathematics are often discovered. (Full article...)

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A dodecahedron, one of the five Platonic solids
Image credit: User:DTR

A regular polytope is a geometric figure with a high degree of symmetry. Examples in two dimensions include the square, the regular pentagon and hexagon, and so on. In three dimensions the regular polytopes include the cube, the dodecahedron, and all other Platonic solids. Other Platonic solids include the tetrahedron, the octahedron, the icosahedron. Examples exist in higher dimensions also, such as the 5-dimensional hendecatope. Circles and spheres, although highly symmetric, are not considered polytopes because they do not have flat faces. The strong symmetry of the regular polytopes gives them an aesthetic quality that interests both non-mathematicians and mathematicians.

Many regular polytopes, at least in two and three dimensions, exist in nature and have been known since prehistory. The earliest surviving mathematical treatment of these objects comes to us from ancient Greek mathematicians such as Euclid. Indeed, Euclid wrote a systematic study of mathematics, publishing it under the title Elements, which built up a logical theory of geometry and number theory. His work concluded with mathematical descriptions of the five Platonic solids. (Full article...)

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This logic diagram of a full adder shows how logic gates can be used in a digital circuit to add two binary inputs (i.e., two input bits), along with a carry-input bit (typically the result of a previous addition), resulting in a final "sum" bit and a carry-output bit. This particular circuit is implemented with two XOR gates, two AND gates and one OR gate, although equivalent circuits may be composed of only NAND gates or certain combinations of other gates. To illustrate its operation, consider the inputs A = 1 and B = 1 with Cin = 0; this means we are adding 1 and 1, and so should get the number 2. The output of the first XOR gate (upper-left) is 0, since the two inputs do not differ (1 XOR 1 = 0). The second XOR gate acts on this result and the carry-input bit, 0, resulting in S = 0 (0 XOR 0 = 0). Meanwhile, the first AND gate (in the middle) acts on the output of the first gate, 0, and the carry-input bit, 0, resulting in 0 (0 AND 0 = 0); and the second AND gate (immediately below the other one) acts on the two original input bits, 1 and 1, resulting in 1 (1 AND 1 = 1). Finally, the OR gate at the lower-right corner acts on the outputs of the two AND gates and results in the carry-output bit Cout = 1 (0 OR 1 = 1). This means the final answer is "0-carry-1", or "10", which is the binary representation of the number 2. Multiple-bit adders (i.e., circuits that can add inputs of 4-bit length, 8-bit length, or any other desired length) can be implemented by chaining together simpler 1-bit adders such as this one. Adders are examples of the kinds of simple digital circuits that are combined in sophisticated ways inside computer CPUs to perform all of the functions necessary to operate a digital computer. The fact that simple electronic switches could implement logical operations—and thus simple arithmetic, as shown here—was realized by Charles Sanders Peirce in 1886, building on the mathematical work of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and George Boole, after whom Boolean algebra was named. The first modern electronic logic gates were produced in the 1920s, leading ultimately to the first digital, general-purpose (i.e., programmable) computers in the 1940s.

Did you know – view different entries

Did you know...
  • ...the Piphilology record (memorizing digits of Pi) is 70000 as of Mar 2015?
  • ...that people are significantly slower to identify the parity of zero than other whole numbers, regardless of age, language spoken, or whether the symbol or word for zero is used?
  • ...that Auction theory was successfully used in 1994 to sell FCC airwave spectrum, in a financial application of game theory?
  • ...properties of Pascal's triangle have application in many fields of mathematics including combinatorics, algebra, calculus and geometry?
  • ...work in artificial intelligence makes use of Swarm intelligence, which has foundations in the behavioral examples found in nature of ants, birds, bees, and fish among others?
  • ...that statistical properties dictated by Benford's Law are used in auditing of financial accounts as one means of detecting fraud?
  • ...that Modular arithmetic has application in at least ten different fields of study, including the arts, computer science, and chemistry in addition to mathematics?
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