polynomial time in?

Related to exponential in terms of? (nonetheless different from it): Assume that you have an algorithm (producing gizmos) whose inputs are three numbers t, d, and h, which are interpreted by a human as the number of thingums, doodahs, and hickeys. Suppose the running time of the algorithm is the function g, which depends on … Read more

“… is called Minkowski space” or “is called the Minkowski space” and WHY?

I met both constructions in quite respectable texts. Is it a matter of taste, or of a shade of meaning? Answer There is a shade of meaning. Minkowski space is a mathematical entity that can be studied and applied to several different cases, but there is one specific case which stands out, as this entity … Read more

“Minus” a logarithm

I have to explain in words this formula: A = -log(X) My guesses would be either: A is the minus logarithm of X A is minus the logarithm of X Is one of these expressions, or yet another one, correct? Answer After a long debate, it’s clear that almost everyone normally writes in words A … Read more

How would people use “cherry-pick”?

I found an example using the word, “cherry-pick”: In this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire. Is it a positive term? Is it idiomatical? How would people use it? Could I use it in conversation? Answer In this context, “cherry-picking” is a very negative term. … Read more

What is a third of a circle or a third of a plane called?

There is a word for a quarter of a circle or a plane: “quadrant”. What is the corresponding word for a third of a circle? “tridrant” or “terdrant” or something different? Answer There’s no word that I’m aware of that means a third of a circle. We have quadrant (1/4), sextant (1/6) and octant (1/8) … Read more

Multiplication: names of some mathematical symbols

As far as I know, in Italian mathematics books, the symbol for multiplication can take several forms: B × 3 B · 3 B * 3 (rare) I’m not sure of having ever seen case 3 in English books, perhaps because “*” is not used in the English mother tongue in this sense. Also, in … Read more