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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

English mathematics

If you aren't a native but still intend to study with the UK Open University you are in for some real surprises. Take Group Theory for example. ( MS221, M208 and M336 ).

According to GAP we have:

gap> (1,2,7,5)(3,8,4)*(1,3,6,7,5);

the Open University however, says otherwise:

gap> (1,2,7,5)(3,8,4)*(1,3,6,7,5);

GAP is THE leading, -state-of-the-art- Abstract Algebra package used by research mathematicians everywhere on the planet. ( If I am correct parts are or have been developed in Scotland, so they can adjust if required. )

The general consensus is that we evaluate from left to right. Not so in England, however. I even lost marks in MST121 because I was using commas and decimalpoints in the incorrect manner.

I am reading Representations and characters of groups, by Gordon James and Martin Liebeck published by Cambridge University Press. They consistently use xf, instead of f(x). The book is readable IF you consistenly translate their vgf to f(g*v) and so forth.

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