MATH 478
On Expressing Numbers Spring 2016 Division III; Quantative/Formal Reasoning;
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The real numbers are overall mysterious. Attempts even to describe different real numbers can quickly lead to deep, open questions in mathematics. For example, writing numbers via their decimal expansions leads to the result that a number is rational precisely when the decimal expansion is eventually periodic. There is an entirely different method for describing real numbers: continued fractions, which go back thousands of years. Here every real number can be captured by a sequence of integers (just like for the decimal expansion) but now eventually periodicity corresponds to the number being a square root. The mathematics of continued fractions, and especially their higher dimensional generalizations, lead to a great deal of mathematics. We will be using tools from linear algebra, functional analysis, dynamical systems, ergodic theory and algebraic number theory to explore the best way to express a real number.
The Class: Type: lecture
Limit: none
Expected: 15
Class#: 3180
Requirements/Evaluation: exams and homework
Prerequisites: MATH 350 or MATH 351, and MATH 355
Enrollment Preference: Seniors
Distributions: Division III; Quantative/Formal Reasoning;

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