*Macmillan Science Library: Mathematics*. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.

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## Tools Used in Calculation

Let's compare two of the instruments of calculation widely used during the last 50 years of the twentieth century. The slide rule is a portable calculator once carried by engineers so that they could quickly perform complicated calculations. Compare the slide rule, now a collector's item, to the graphing calculator used by high school students taking basic algebra. The graphing calculator can be used to do much more—more accurately and more easily.

The use of powerful calculators and computers will be an integral part of the mathematical problems and questions investigated in the future. Some classic problems, such as those involved with **prime numbers**, the **geometry** of soap bubbles, and the four-color theorem about how many colors are needed to distinguish neighboring colors on a map, are being extended to more complex questions, some involving three or more dimensions. Other problems...

This section contains 697 words(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page) |