Questions on the usage and meaning of words in mathematics, the names for mathematical entities, and other such questions.

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29
votes
15answers
2k views

What exactly is a number?

We've just been learning about complex numbers in class, and I don't really see why they're called numbers. Originally, a number used to be a means of counting (natural numbers). Then we extend ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

A simple, yet non-superficial explanation of what “paramodulation” means in the context of automated theorem proving?

Modern automated theorem provers seem to be paramodulation-based. I only have a superficial understanding of what this means: we derive a proposition whose truth is implied from the truth of [two?] ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

How to call a tree with a single branch?

How do you call a tree with only one branch (in other words, where every vertex has maximum one direct successor)?
2
votes
2answers
265 views

probability terminology for parameter in a Markov process

Suppose $$P(\text{feature present at time} \ t \ \text{and} \ t+\Delta t) = \beta^{2}+\beta(1-\beta) \exp(\Delta t/\tau)$$ where $\tau = 1/(\pi_{01}+\pi_{10})$. What is $\tau$?
0
votes
1answer
27 views

Mean squared [X] or Mean [X] squared?

If I have two functions, as below, which one is "Mean [X] squared" and which is "Mean squared [X]"? Would I be correct in saying the former is number 1 and the latter is number 2? Thanks in advance ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

What do we call those functions that can be obtained from term operations by partial evaluation?

Let $T$ denote an algebraic theory and suppose $X$ is a $T$-algebra. Then a term operation of $X$ is a function $f : X^n \rightarrow X$ that is definable by an expression in the language of $T$. ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why the name 'FACTORIAL'?

Factorial is defined as $n! = n(n-1)(n-2)\cdots 1$ But why mathematicians named this thing as FACTORIAL? Has it got something to do with factors?
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Linear w.r.t. any measure

Let $X$ be a Banach space endowed with a Borel $\sigma$-algebra. How do we call a real-valued Borel function $f$ that satisfies for any Borel probability measure $\mu$ the following formula $$ ...
1
vote
2answers
248 views

Why is a random variable called so despite being a function?

According to my knowledge, its a function $P(X)$ which includes all the possible outcomes a random event.
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Is it “group axiom” or “group definition”?

Some text books of group theory use "group definitions" when introducing group, and some other text books use "group axioms". But it is obvious that terms "definition" and "axiom" are different. Which ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What does a “convention” mean in mathematics?

We all know that $0!=1$, the degree of the zero polynomial equals $-\infty$, the interval$[a,a)=(a,a]=(a,a)=\emptyset$ ... and so on, are conventions in mathematics. So is a convention something that ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

What is the difference between field theory and Galois theory

I am about to finish the book Galois theory by Harold Edwards. I am planning to study Galois theory at a more advanced level or field theory. I am unable to decide because I don't know the difference ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Definition of null space

I have two definitions of null space. One by Serge Lang Suppose that for every element $u$ of $V$ we have $\langle u,u\rangle=O$. The scalar product is then said to be null, and $V$ is called a ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

In arbitrary commutative rings, what is the accepted definition of “associates”?

In an integral domain, the following are equivalent: $r \mid s$ and $s \mid r$ $r=us$ for some unit $u$ However in arbitrary commutative rings this is no longer the case; in particular, (2) ...
4
votes
3answers
170 views

Does this generalisation of Latin squares have a name?

I am interested in looking at $n\times n$ tableaux (or matrices) in which (WLOG) each integer in $\{ 1, 2, \ldots, n \}$ occurs exactly $n$ times. This is a generalisation of a Latin (or even ...
1
vote
0answers
20 views

What's the name for a polygon with exactly two sets of side lengths?

Is there a name for the shape similar to a regular polygon, but using exactly $2$ side lengths (or $n$ side lengths) instead of one side length?
4
votes
5answers
642 views

Dictionaries and resources for translation of mathematical terminology

Nowadays English seems to be the most frequently used language in mathematics. (Although plenty of papers and books are published in other languages, e.g., Russian, French, German and Chinese.) ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

What is an instance of a mousetrap proof?

A part of the first chapter of the book The spirit and the uses of the mathematical sciences talks about the beauty of mathematics. The author quotes from a lecture of Hasse and introduces the notion ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

LambertW: $ x=W(x\cdot e^{x}) $ for $ x \ge -1$ but not for $x \lt-1$. How do I express my formula/my text?

I just found by numerical heuristics for some systematic numbers $q(x)_\text{heuristical}$ depending on $x=1,2,3,4,\ldots$ using WolframAlpha the suggested interpretation in terms of the ...
3
votes
0answers
45 views

Objects without extensions

How do you call an object $X$ for which every monomorphism $i : X \hookrightarrow Y$ has a retract (i.e.\ a morphism $r : Y \rightarrow X$ such that $r \cdot i = 1_X$)? I think of Y as an extension ...
2
votes
4answers
97 views

When we talk of e.g. the natural numbers equipped with a non-standard order , what does “equipped” mean?

A question for "real" mathematicians who have become better acculturated to math-speak than this philosopher! If you read a phrase like ... the natural numbers equipped with the ...
4
votes
2answers
45 views

Why are stochastic processes with decreasing expected value called supermartingales?

I am curious to know why a process which has decreasing expected value is called a supermartingale. From a beginners perspective it would seem reasonable to have the following picture: ...
7
votes
1answer
63 views

Is there a name for those commutative monoids in which the divisibility order is antisymmetric?

Every commutative monoid $M$ is naturally equipped with its divisibility preorder, defined as follows. $$x \mid y \leftrightarrow \exists a(ax=y)$$ Is there a name for those commutative monoids such ...
2
votes
0answers
150 views

Constructing a semigroup from a small category

The following was given as an example for a semigroup without an identity: Finite sets of matrices of varying dimensions, where the product A*B={PQ|P in A & Q in B & dim(Q)=codim(P)}, and ...
-1
votes
0answers
22 views

What does it mean to say “Resolving intersections”

Consider a surface (with boundary) $S$ with marked points on the boundary such that we may may triangulate the surface. Call a line joining two marked points in a triangulation an arc. Consider a ...
20
votes
3answers
642 views

Who named “Quotient groups”?

Who decided to call quotient groups quotient groups, and why did they choose that name? A lot of identities such as $$\frac{G/A}{B/A}\cong \frac{G}{B}$$ suggest that whoever invented the notation ...
2
votes
2answers
41 views

What are a geometric system and a finite geometry?

Wikipedia says A finite geometry is any geometric system that has only a finite number of points. I wonder what a geometric system is? Is it some set system $(E, F)$, where $E$ is a set and $F ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

Additive non-abelian group?

Sometimes I see in books the term "additive abelian groups". In my opinion, when we use addition to represent the group operation, we already have in mind that the operation is commutative. So ...
6
votes
1answer
61 views

Name of a shape that is intersected once by each ray that starts at a given point

Is there a particular name for a shape that is intersected exactly once by each ray that starts at a given point? To illustrate: I'm looking for a name for shapes like the left one in this image: ...
1
vote
2answers
242 views

*Presume* and *Imply*

I am not sure about the usage of the word presume. For example, is the sentence differentiability implies continuity equivalent to differentiability presumes continuity or to continuity presumes ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

Matrices with the same characteristic polynomial

For all the $n \times n$ matrices, let's define an equivalent relation that two matrices are in the relation iff they have the same characteristic polynomial. How can we characterize the matrices ...
1
vote
1answer
21 views

In a set, what is the term to describe the number of unique values divided by the total number of values?

The closest word I can think of would be "uniqueness" although I know there is a more specific mathematical term. Say we have a set/table of data with two columns that describes cars. One column is ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Soft question (Etymology - Flatness)

Why where flat modules named "flat"? Is it because they are necessarily torsion free so in a "not convoluted" or circular like $\mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z}$ is as a $\mathbb{Z}$-module?
2
votes
1answer
36 views

Is there a phrase to describe those objects of $\mathbf{C}$ that can be expressed as quotients of the algebra freely generated by $X$?

Let $\mathbf{C}$ denote the category of models of an algebraic theory in $\mathbf{Set}.$ Now suppose $X$ is an object of $\mathbf{Set}$. Is there a traditional phrase used to describe those objects of ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Simplicial cones and simplex cones

In Ewald's book Combinatorial Convexity and Algebraic Geometry, we find the following definition. 1.8 Definition. A cone $\sigma=\operatorname{pos}\{x_1,\dots,x_k\}$ is called simple or a simplex ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

theorems that depend on the embedding of an affine variety into the affine space

Let $\mathcal{T}$ be a theorem regarding an affine variety $Y$ of $\mathbb{A}^n$. Question 1: What does the phrase "$\mathcal{T}$ does not depend on the embedding of $Y$ in $\mathbb{A}^n$" mean? ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

What do I not understand about one-to-one functions?

Firstly, a definition: Definition 1: A function $\phi : X \rightarrow Y$ is one-to-one if $\phi(x_1) = \phi(x_2)$ only when $x_1 = x_2$. Now the question: Students often misunderstand the ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

Why is it called “elliptic” curve?

One of my favourite and most studied algebraic curve is the elliptic curve. But something that I have never asked myself is: Why do they call this nonsingular cubic curve an "elliptic" curve? ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Name of an aglebraic structures $(A,*,\cdot)$ weaker than semirings.

I have a set $A$ with two binary operations on it $(A,*,\cdot)$ STRUCTURE A $(A,*)$ is not commutative, is not associative, it has not an identity $(A,\cdot)$ is a commutative group $(a*b)\cdot ...
3
votes
4answers
50k views

What is the formula for calculating Profit Percentage?

Let cost price of an item be $C$, selling price be $S$. Assume the seller gets benefited. Then, Profit, $P = S - C$. Now, What is formula for calculating Profit Percent? $P \% = \dfrac{P}{C} ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

If $X$ is distributed normally with mean $0$, is it correct to say $X$ and $-X$ “have the same distribution”?

Q: If $X$ is distributed normally with mean $0$, is it correct to say $X$ and $-X$ have the same distribution? In a way, this seems correct: both $X$ and $-X$ have the same probability density ...
8
votes
6answers
29k views

What does it mean to have a determinant equal to zero?

After looking in my book for a couple of hours, I'm still confused about what it means for a $(n\times n)$-matrix $A$ to have a determinant equal to zero, $\det(A)=0$. I hope someone can explain this ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

In Group theory proofs what is meant by “well defined”

What is exactly meant or required for a mapping to be well defined. I was reading the first Homomorphism theorem (link) and the first thing the proof does is define a map and find it if its well ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Axiom of extension

I am learning Set Theory from the book Naive Set Theory by Halmos as part of my course. The first chapter is on the Axiom of Extension. I understand what it is but what I don't understand is why it ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

When is a binary operation bipotent?

I learnt that $\max(-,-)$ is a bipotent binary operation but I'm not able to find a definition of bipotent operation. QUESTION A binary operation $*:M\times M \rightarrow M$ is bipotent if ...
2
votes
3answers
53 views

What's the name of the set of products of equal to a given value?

Suppose we have the * operator on a set $A$ such that * is associative but not commutative. Given $a$, $b$, $c \in A$, \begin{align*} abc &= (abc) \\ &= (a)(bc) \\ &= (ab)(c) \\ &= ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

What is the name of a graph made of k copies of a 4-cycle connected end to end in a chain, possibly with leaves?

Do graphs of the following sort have a specific name? We've been calling them Cactapillars, as they're cacti that look a little like caterpillars (and the name Caterpillar already refers to a ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

Name for a generalized relation to be a multiset?

A relation between two sets $A$ and $B$ is a subset of $A \times B$. If taking a multiset subset of $A \times B$, e.g. allowing $(a,b)$ appears twice in the subset, is there a name for such a ...
2
votes
3answers
140 views

Name the property $f(x) \ge x$

It's a really one of the simplest properties you could imagine for a function. But I haven't been able to find a name for it. What do you call a function $f$ with the following property: $$f(x) \ge ...
2
votes
3answers
132 views

Are the pre-image and the domain the same, or not?

Throughout school I thought that the pre-image was a subset of the domain, not that they were necessarily the same. When I spoke of a function f:R->R, I didn't think that this meant that f was defined ...