Proper summation notation

  • Thread starter Niles
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  • #1
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Hi

Is it correct of me to say that I want to carry out the sum
[tex]
\sum_i{v_iw_i}
[/tex]
where [itex]i\in\{x,y,z\}[/itex]? Or is it most correct to say that [itex]i=\{x,y,z\}[/itex]?

Best regards,
Niles.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Office_Shredder
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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If you have the sum
[tex] v_x w_x + v_y w_y + v_z w_z[/tex]
then you want [itex] i \in \{ x,y,z \} [/itex], which says sum over every element of the set [itex] \{x,y,z \}[/itex]. If you wrote
[tex] \sum_{i=\{x,y,z \}} v_i w_i[/tex] what you really just wrote is
[tex] v_{ \{x,y,z \}} w_{ \{x,y,z \}}[/tex]
which is strange because it's not a sum, and because indices are unlikely (but might be) sets of variables
 
  • #3
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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.
 
  • #4
chiro
Science Advisor
4,790
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Hi

Is it correct of me to say that I want to carry out the sum
[tex]
\sum_i{v_iw_i}
[/tex]
where [itex]i\in\{x,y,z\}[/itex]? Or is it most correct to say that [itex]i=\{x,y,z\}[/itex]?

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.
 
  • #5
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Thanks for the help, that is kind of everybody.

Best,
Niles.
 

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