Chapter 12. Working with Symbolic Representations

Symbols are everywhere. Numbers are symbols that stand for quantities, and you can add, multiply, or take square roots of numbers that are so small or large that it's hard to imagine the quantity they represent. You can solve equations, multiply polynomials, approximate functions using series, and differentiate or integrate numerically or symbolically—these are just a few everyday examples of using symbols in mathematics.

It would be a mistake to think symbols are useful only in mathematics and related fields. General problem-solving can't do without symbols; they provide the ability to abstract away details to make the larger picture clearer and help you understand relationships that may not appear ...

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