Early Algebraic Language and the Algorithm: Preparing an Art of Thinking for People and Machines

22 Nov 2019
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

442 Stephens Hall

Event Type
Lunch Discussion

Giovanna Cifoletti
Professor at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Research (EHESS)

Please join us on Friday, November 22nd at 12:00 pm in 442 Stephens Hall for a presentation and luncheon with Giovanna Cifoletti. Al Kwarizmi, the name at the origin of the word algorithm, was a very productive Persian mathematician of the early ninth-century. He wrote two crucial books, one on arithmetic and one on algebra. The first became the basis of a genre of books (in Arabic, Hebrew and later Latin) called algorismus and teaching how to calculate the four operations with Indo-Arabic digits instead of the abacus. The second was the first book of algebra articulated into a discipline, with a systematic presentation of solution procedures expressed on numbers, and geometrical proofs. Arabic algebraic notation became stable with the works of the Berberian mathematician Al Qalasadi (1312-1486): algorismus and algebraic notation combined to a plan of connecting all mathematical sciences and arts of the time became the ambitious program of « solving all problems », as Viète would say in 1591. Algorithm was born, and started its process of development until the twenty-first century. Of this long development I shall choose a moment at the culminating period of the printing press in Venice, from Luca Pacioli (1594) to Niccolo’ Tartaglia (1557). These mathematicians have been particularly influential and also quite explicit in their mathematical projects of identifying algebra with an art based on a common language to express all sorts of problems and solutions in mathematics.


Please RSVP by Wednesday Morning, November 20th to receive the reading and sign up for lunch.

*Please note the time and location of this event has been changed

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  CSTMS

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