## Summation Notation and Generalizations

We have dealt with relatively straightforward notation so far. However, as situations involving sets become more complex, a more compact notation is needed. Here presented is an introduction to that notation.

**1.5 Summation Notation and Generalizations**

**1.5.1 Sums**

Most operations such as addition of numbers are introduced as binary operations. That is, we are taught that two numbers may be added together to give us a single number. Before long, we run into situations where more than two numbers are to be added. For example, if four numbers, a_{1} , a_{2} , a_{3} , and a_{4} are to be added, their sum may be written down in several ways, such as ((a_{1} + a_{2} ) + a_{3}) + a_{4} or (a_{1} + a_{2} ) + (a_{3} + a_{4}). In the first
expression, the first two numbers are added, the result is added to the third number, and that result is added to the fourth number. In the second expression the first two numbers and the last two numbers are added and the
results of these additions are added. Of course, we know that the final results will be the same. This is due to the fact that addition of numbers is an associative operation. For such operations, there is no need to describe how more than two
objects will be operated on. A sum of numbers such as a_{1} + a_{2} + a_{3} + a_{4} is called a series and is often
written in what is called *summation notation*
.

We first recall some basic facts about series that you probably have seen before. A more formal treatment of sequences and series is covered in Chapter 8. The purpose here is to give the reader a working knowledge of summation notation and to carry this notation through to intersection and union of sets and other mathematical operations.

A *finite series *is an expression such as . In the expression :

- The variable k is referred to as the index , or the index of summation.
- The expression a
_{k}is the*general term*of the series. It defines the numbers that are being added together in the series. - The value of k below the summation symbol is the
*initial index*and the value above the summation symbol is the*terminal index*. - It is understood that the series is a sum of the general terms where the index start with the initial index and increases by one up to and including the terminal index.

**Example 1.5.1: Some
finite series.**

**Example 1.5.2: More
finite series. **If the general terms in a series are more specific, the sum can often be simplified. For example,

**1.5.2 Generalizations**

Summation notation can be generalized to many mathematical operations, for example,

**Definition 1.5.3:**** Generalized Set Operations.
**Let A_{1} , A_{2}
, . . . , A_{n} be sets. Then:

**Example 1.5.4: Some generalized operations. **If A_{1} =
{0, 2,
3
},
A_{2} =

With this notation it is quite easy to write lengthy expressions in a fairly compact form. For example, the statement

Source: Al Doerr and Ken Levasseur, http://faculty.uml.edu/klevasseur/ads-latex/ads.pdf

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.