*World of Mathematics*. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.

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## Algebra

Algebra is often referred to as a generalization of **arithmetic**. As such, it is a collection of rules: rules for translating words into the symbolic notation of mathematics, rules for formulating mathematical statements using symbolic notation, and rules for rewriting mathematical statements in a manner that leaves their **truth** unchanged.

The power of elementary algebra, which grew out of a desire to solve problems in arithmetic, stems from its use of variables to represent numbers. This allows the generalization of rules to whole **sets** of numbers. For example, the solution to a problem may be the **variable** x or a rule such as ab=ba can be stated for all numbers represented by the variables a and b.

Elementary algebra is concerned with expressing problems in terms of **mathematical symbols** and establishing general rules for the combination and manipulation of those symbols. There is another type of algebra...

This section contains 2,437 words(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page) |