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Ah I see, I am exploring theoretical areas of computer science for which there are no clear answers yet. Downvotes for you, bad HN user for making us try to think of new theories. :)

So a Polynomial doesn't need be many of them, it can be just one of them. The poly in the name threw me off I admit. I would have assumed that was a mononomial for just one and two of them are a binomial but apparently polynomial is used instead even for only one or two? I hope you understand my confusion there. Thank you for clearing that up.




Ah I see, I am exploring theoretical areas of computer science for which there are no clear answers yet. Downvotes for you, bad HN user for making us try to think of new theories. :)

In science in general, including computer science, "theoretical" doesn't mean fringe or unexplored, it means foundational and abstract. CS theory uses the word "theory" in the same sense as music theory. CS theory deals with well-defined, rigorous analysis of computation in abstract or mathematical terms.

I would have assumed that was a mononomial for just one and two of them are a binomial but apparently polynomial is used instead even for only one or two?

A two-termed polynomial is also called a binomial. "Binomial" and "monomial" are special cases of the more general term "polynomial".

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Just as poly- and mono- are prefixes of Greek origin[0], you’d probably use ‘di-’ rather than ‘bi-’ here (binomials are a little different, again), just as you have monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides[1] (aka carbohydrates).

The relevant point is that it usually doesn’t matter whether you have one, five or 500 terms in a polynomial, as the largest one will certainly dominate for sufficiently large input sizes[2] and all terms in a polynomial essentially behave the same way (being differentiable, having no poles etc.).

[0] The only thing wrong with homosexuality is smashing a Greek prefix onto a Latin root.

[1] Latin: uno-, bi-, pauc-, multi-, Greek: mono-, di-, oligo-, poly-

[2] cf. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=x%5E20%3B+x%5E20%2Bx%5E...

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