13
$\begingroup$

So I've been looking for a general name of this type of mathematics notation (google hasn't been very useful) so that I can learn more about it. Basically, the symbols are in the form of functions and the numbers are the inputs to the function. + is the function taking 4 and 5, outputting 9 so, (+4 5) = 9. Formulaic (* a b ) = a * b. Where ' * ' can be any basic math symbol. More complicated forms are: (+ 4 (+ 5 1)) = 4 + (5+1) = 10. 4 being input for 'a' and (5+1) being 'b' in (* a b ).

Hope it makes sense.

$\endgroup$
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ AFAIK this is looks like the LISP programming language. $\endgroup$ – user258700 Apr 4 '16 at 19:15
  • 21
    $\begingroup$ Looks like arithmetics in Polish Notation, except the Polish Notation does not need - and does not use - parentheses. $\endgroup$ – CiaPan Apr 4 '16 at 19:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JeanMarie I know what Lisp is (some time ago I knew some dialect of Lisp), but the question was 'for a general name of this type of mathematics', not about the name of a programming language which uses this type of maths. $\endgroup$ – CiaPan Apr 4 '16 at 20:07
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ It's not a "type of mathematics". It's just a trivial variation on notation. Good notations are important in mathematics, but a different notation does not make a different mathematics. $\endgroup$ – Michael Kay Apr 4 '16 at 21:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Lisp uses parentheses because (among other reasons) + and * are actually sum and product functions on an arbitrary number of operands, rather than binary operators. $\endgroup$ – Random832 Apr 5 '16 at 4:35
43
$\begingroup$

It is normal Polish notation or prefix notation.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot, it was very helpful to me $\endgroup$ – tariqebadi Apr 4 '16 at 19:21
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ And because nobody noted it yet, 4 5 + 6 7 * - (like Forth) is known as Postfix notation or Reverse Polish Notation. $\endgroup$ – cat Apr 4 '16 at 22:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @cat and the only proper way to use a calculator $\endgroup$ – casey Apr 5 '16 at 2:35
  • $\begingroup$ @casey I agree! I find Forth and Factor much easier than remembering all this order-of-operations junk, and so they're what I use as a desktop calculator :) I never got the chance to own one of those RPN HP calculators, unfortunately $\endgroup$ – cat Apr 5 '16 at 2:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @cat If you use iOS or a Mac, PCalc is pretty cheap and works extremely well. It even has HP-esque programming (think keystroke, but nicer). $\endgroup$ – bb010g Apr 5 '16 at 4:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.