Math 323: Fall 2005

Day 4: Old Babylonian algorithms


Introduction to Old Babylonian procedure texts and word problems.  These are problems that were assigned to students learning mathematics.  They learned mathematics the same way they learned other subjects: practicing over and over again.  Old Babylonian mathematics is very procedural.  Students would practice a particular procedure with differing constants until they could perform it well.  We will look at a couple of examples of these problem texts and also discuss the important procedure for finding reciprocals of numbers not in the standard list, called The Technique.


My Old Babylonian summary page again, concentrating on the problem texts.
My page on The Technique and handout on reciprocals.  


Technique Flowchart.
Reciprocal exercises worksheet


Reciprocal problems and algorithms.
On to Day 5.

Up to Ancient and Classical Mathematics

Last modified: 7 September 2005
Duncan J. Melville

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