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Linear programming from Fibonacci to Farkas

Biggs, Norman (2020) Linear programming from Fibonacci to Farkas. Annals of Science. ISSN 0003-3790

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00033790.2020.1811377


At the beginning of the 13th century Fibonacci described the rules for making mixtures of all kinds, using the Hindu-Arabic system of arithmetic. His work was repeated in the early printed books of arithmetic, many of which contained chapters on ‘alligation', as the subject became known. But the rules were expressed in words, so the subject often appeared difficult, and occasionally mysterious. Some clarity began to appear when Thomas Harriot introduced a modern form of algebraic notation around 1600, and he was almost certainly the first to express the basic rule of alligation in algebraic terms. Thus a link was forged with the work on Diophantine problems that occupied mathematicians like John Pell and John Kersey in the 17th century. Joseph Fourier's work on mechanics led him to suggest a procedure for handling linear inequalities based on a combination of logic and algebra; he also introduced the idea of describing the set of feasible solutions geometrically. In 1898, inspired by Fourier’s work, Gyula Farkas proved a fundamental theorem about systems of linear inequalities. This topic eventually found many applications, and it became known as Linear Programming. The theorem of Farkas also plays a significant role in Game Theory.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Mathematics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2020 08:03
Last Modified: 30 May 2024 20:24

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