Archive for August 9, 2012

The Fifth Edition of one of the standard works on number theory, written by internationally-recognized mathematicians. Chapters are relatively self-contained for greater flexibility. New features include expanded treatment of the binomial theorem, techniques of numerical calculation and a section on public key cryptography. Contains an outstanding set of problems.

Michael Steele describes the fundamental topics in mathematical inequalities and their uses. Using the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality as a guide, Steele presents a fascinating collection of problems related to inequalities and coaches readers through solutions, in a style reminiscent of George Polya, by teaching basic concepts and sharpening problem solving skills at the same time. Undergraduate and beginning graduate students in mathematics, theoretical computer science, statistics, engineering, and economics will find the book appropriate for self-study.

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This unique approach to combinatorics is centered around unconventional, essay-type combinatorial examples, followed by a number of carefully selected, challenging problems and extensive discussions of their solutions. Topics encompass permutations and combinations, binomial coefficients and their applications, bijections, inclusions and exclusions, and generating functions.  Each chapter features fully-worked problems, including many from Olympiads and other competitions, as well as a number of problems original to the authors; at the end of each chapter are further exercises to reinforce understanding, encourage creativity, and build a repertory of problem-solving techniques.  The authors’ previous text, “102 Combinatorial Problems,” makes a fine companion volume to the present work, which is ideal for Olympiad participants and coaches, advanced high school students, undergraduates, and college instructors.  The book’s unusual problems and examples will interest seasoned mathematicians as well.  “A Path to Combinatorics for Undergraduates” is a lively introduction not only to combinatorics, but to mathematical ingenuity, rigor, and the joy of solving puzzles.