By Lam Lay Yong, Ang Tian Se

The Hindu–Arabic numeral process (1, 2, 3,...) is certainly one of mankind’s maximum achievements and considered one of its most typically used innovations. How did it originate? those that have written concerning the numeral process have hypothesized that it originated in India; in spite of the fact that, there's little proof to aid this declare.

This publication offers substantial proof to teach that the Hindu–Arabic numeral procedure, regardless of its in general authorised identify, has its origins within the chinese language rod numeral procedure. the program was once commonly used in China from antiquity until the sixteenth century. It used to be utilized by officers, astronomers, investors and others to accomplish addition, subtraction, multiplication, department and different mathematics operations, and in addition utilized by mathematicians to enhance mathematics and algebra. in accordance with the program, a number of mathematical treatises have been written.

Sun Zi suanjing (The Mathematical vintage of sunlight Zi), written round four hundred advert, is the earliest current paintings to have an outline of the rod numerals and their operations. With this treatise as a imperative reference, the 1st a part of the e-book discusses the advance of mathematics and the beginnings of algebra in old China and, at the foundation of this data, advances the thesis that the Hindu–Arabic numeral process has its origins within the rod numeral process. half supplies an entire translation of sunlight Zi suanjing.

In this revised version, Lam Lay Yong has integrated an edited textual content of her plenary lecture entitled "Ancient chinese language arithmetic and Its impact on international Mathematics", which was once introduced on the foreign Congress of Mathematicians, Beijing 2002, after she got the celebrated Kenneth O. may well Medal conferred through the foreign fee at the historical past of arithmetic. this could function an invaluable and easy-to-comprehend advent to the publication.

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**Additional info for Fleeting Footsteps: Tracing the Concepti: Tracing the Conception of Arithmetic and Algebra in Ancient China**

**Sample text**

The method of division is the same as the simple example I showed you earlier: 100 divided by 6. Similar to that example, the divisor here is placed in the third row and is shifted to the right in stages until the answer, 729, is obtained. There is no remainder here. Method: First set 6,561 in the middle position to be the shi (dividend). Below it, set 9 persons to be the fa (divisor) [i]. Put down 700 in the upper position [ii]. The upper 7 calls the lower 9: seven nines are 63, so remove 6,300 from the numeral in the middle position [iii].

8 There are now only three problems of Sun Zi suanjing in the existing fragments of the Yongle dadian. These are Ch. 2, Probs. 19 & 20 and Ch. 3, Prob. 14 in Yongle dadian [Ch. 16344, pp. 10b & 15a; Ch. 16343, p. 17a]. p65 30 12/31/03, 12:02 PM The Sun Zi Suanjing 31 Fig. 2 The opening lines of Chapter One of Sun Zi suanjing. The first and third seals below the title belongs to Zhang Dunren . p65 31 12/31/03, 12:02 PM 32 Fleeting Footsteps In 1773 when Dai Zhen assumed the editing work for the Siku quanshu collection, he extracted and collated the text of Sun Zi suanjing from the Yongle dadian for inclusion in the encyclopedia compiled between 1773 and 1782 under the patronage of Emperor Qianlong .

489] said that it could not have been written earlier than 280 AD and later than 473 AD. This was because the taxation method by family units (hu diao ) in terms of silk floss (mian ) (Ch. 3, Prob. 9) was established in 280 AD; as for the later date, that was the time when the mensuration scale between chi and duan was changed, and Sun Zi followed the old scale (see also [Needham 1959, p. 33]). 3 Existing versions When a department of mathematics was instituted in the National Academy in 656, mathematics was included as a subject in the official examinations.