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Ema Condori-Teves

May 3, 2017
Math III H
Summation Notation
Summation notation is also known as Sigma notation because of the capital greek letter sigma
that is used as an operator which sums the outputs of an expression. Summation provides a way
to precisely express any sum in a sequence of numbers when added up together. It is typically
expressed in this manner; where k represents the index variable or the index of summation, a
represents the starting value and b represents the ending value. f(k) or the function of k
describes each term in the sum for each value of k between a and b, f(k) will be some value
which gives one term in the sum. The basics of summation was discovered by Gauss. An
example of what he discovered is explained below.
If you were to add every number from 1-100 with each other you can find many patterns that will
help solve this summation with a few steps. One way this can be viewed is in pairs. The biggest
and smallest number can be added to equal a specific value. Then as long as the next smallest
and biggest number are paired until their is no more available pairs within this set; it will equal
the same value. So the idea of this is to multiply that value with the amount of pairs in the set of
numbers to find the sum of all these numbers.

The problem can also be viewed as finding the area of a rectangle. This might not sound like it's
related to finding the summation, but it is the same concept as above. A rectangle can be formed
when a visual of this set of numbers is made as shown below. When the width of this triangular
visual is split in half, and one half placed on top of the other, it pairs the numbers in the same
manner as the first explanation above. The height of this rectangle is the first value in the set
added with the last value in the set. The width is half of the total digits that are being
added.When you multiply the width by the height you find the area which is the same as the sum
of all these numbers.
A connection of summation to another topic that was discussed in class this year is the use of
summation or sigma notation to find area under the curve. The method to solve area under the
curve I will be describing is through splitting the width to equal sizes to form rectangles that will
give an area slightly larger than the actual answer. This is known as right end point rectangle
method. To find the different heights for each of these rectangles you will use summation
notation, to find the area under the curve you will multiple the width by each different height and
add each area together for the area under the curve. The more rectangles used, the less error. For
a more accurate result still using this method, you would do both left and right end point
rectangle methods and take the average from them. Another method that could be used is similar
to the area of the one rectangle used for summation. I will walk you through this application of
summation applied to area under the curve below.

The discovery of summation shows how a problem that seems to be time consuming, tedious,
and have the potential for many errors, was simply and accurately solved by Johann Carl
Friedrich Gauss during his elementary years as a student. Carl Gauss was a German
mathematician born 1777. As the story goes, despite no proof of being entirely accurate, Gauss
teacher gave his students a time consuming assignment to add all the numbers between 1 and
100, thinking he would be able to assign the student busy work and not have to worry about them
for a while. Well, Gauss turned in his slate first with only the answer written on the slate. And to
the teacher's surprise, this answer was correct. So how did Gauss find the method to accurately
find the answer so quickly with little work? He easily found a pattern that would work for all of
these summation type of problems. Each number had a pair, if the numbers were to be listed 1-
100 and then 100-1, the numbers would pair to equal 101 no matter what. So he took this number
and multiplied it by the number of pairs. He discovered this in elementary, and was able to find
out the equation for finding the sum in a sequence of numbers. It was even said that at the age of
3, Gauss had corrected his father's payroll calculation for his employees. He would get upset
when a mistake was made, and his father tested his hypothesis of whether his cries really came
from his mathematical errors, and made a mistake on purpose and sure enough Gauss got
upset.When Gauss was older, many mathematicians would present new discoveries they had
made, and Gauss would respond with a remark about discovering exactly what they had done
years ago. Although it might have sounded like a lie, after finding Gauss journal of notes,
(which was written between the years of 1796-1814) they found crammed pages of math that
actually proved he was the first to discover the solutions to not only summation, but many other
problems as well.