The earliest extant Chinese mathematical writings include two types of components of particular interest for our discussion on manuals and handbooks. On the one hand, there are mathematical problems that often evoke tasks carried out by officials working in the imperial bureaucracy. On the other hand, there are mathematical “procedures,” or “algorithms” in today’s parlance, to solve such problems. This description fits most of the mathematical books composed in China until the seventh century.
Continue reading “Reading and (Re-)Classifying Canonical Instructions of the Past: Commentaries on ‘The Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures’ from the 3rd to the 13th Centuries”