# Proper summation notation

by Niles
Tags: notation, proper, summation
 P: 1,863 Hi Is it correct of me to say that I want to carry out the sum $$\sum_i{v_iw_i}$$ where $i\in\{x,y,z\}$? Or is it most correct to say that $i=\{x,y,z\}$? Best regards, Niles.
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 4,500 If you have the sum $$v_x w_x + v_y w_y + v_z w_z$$ then you want $i \in \{ x,y,z \}$, which says sum over every element of the set $\{x,y,z \}$. If you wrote $$\sum_{i=\{x,y,z \}} v_i w_i$$ what you really just wrote is $$v_{ \{x,y,z \}} w_{ \{x,y,z \}}$$ which is strange because it's not a sum, and because indices are unlikely (but might be) sets of variables
 P: 1,863 Thanks, that is also what I thought was the case. I see the "i={x,y,z}"-version in all sorts of books. Best wishes, Niles.
P: 4,573
Proper summation notation

 Quote by Niles Hi Is it correct of me to say that I want to carry out the sum $$\sum_i{v_iw_i}$$ where $i\in\{x,y,z\}$? Or is it most correct to say that $i=\{x,y,z\}$? Best regards, Niles.
While one can interpret that, it would make more sense if associated an index set with your label set if you need to do this. So if instead of {x,y,z} just introduce the bijection {x,y,z} = {1,2,3} where the ith component of one set maps to the ith of the other.

This is just my opinion, but the reason is mostly conventional because its easier for everyone with a simple mathematics background to understand and causes less confusion.
 P: 1,863 Thanks for the help, that is kind of everybody. Best, Niles.

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