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My high school curriculum here in New Zealand seemed to just skip out on this aspect of maths. I'm trying to get a better foundation in this area, and I've been looking through the libraries at university and on the internet. However, I'm not sure which branch of maths sigma notation falls into? Is it algebra? Any help would be great, cause I'm struggling looking up this specific topic in larger maths textbooks.

P.S. I don't think I got the tags correct..

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If you mean this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summation#Capital-sigma_notation then it can be absolutely any branch. If you want to learn how to solve summation and/or integration problems, I'd recommend to start with Chapter 2 of Concrete Mathematics –  Alex Oct 29 '12 at 10:40
    
Sigma notation doesn't fall into a "branch" of mathematics in the traditional sense of the term, but it is frequently introduced in the class before calculus (or if that class is purely trigonometry, the one before it). I know it as "Precalculus", but that's definitely not a worldwide convention, so whatever is the appropriate analogue. –  Eric Stucky Oct 29 '12 at 10:40
    
@Alex When you say Concrete Mathematics, is that the book by D. Knuth et al? If so, I will definitely get access to this book. –  yoonsi Oct 29 '12 at 10:56
    
@yoonsi: Yes, this is what I meant. –  Alex Oct 29 '12 at 20:32

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sigma notation does not belong to any branch of mathematics per se. It is simply a notation, in the same way $+$ is used to denote addition and $-$ subtraction. When we use the notation $\sum_{k=m}^{k=n} f(k)$ for example, we simply mean the sum obtained by adding $f(m),f(m+1),...,f(n)$. This notation can then be used anywhere in mathematics.

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