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Topic: Calculating matrix permanent
Replies: 9   Last Post: Feb 4, 2013 4:29 PM

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Butch Malahide

Posts: 894
Registered: 6/29/05
Re: Calculating matrix permanent
Posted: Feb 1, 2013 5:09 PM
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On Feb 1, 2:18 pm, Herman Rubin <> wrote:
> On 2013-02-01, J.B. Wood <> wrote:

> > On 01/26/2013 11:09 AM, Mike Terry wrote:
> >> I'd never heard of the permanent before, but checking Wickipedia it seems
> >> it's defined just like the determinant, but with all plus signs.  So in your
> >> example:

> ><snip>
> > Hello, and that's the problem with folks who rely solely on Wiki for
> > info.  Someone invents a term that's not in common usage or in
> > peer-reviewed papers or textbooks, posts it on Wiki, and everyone thinks
> > it's been around since the time of Greek mathematicians.  Sometimes you
> > just gotta get up off your butt and go to the public/university library
> > or dust off one of your college math textbooks (assuming you kept them).
> >   Sincerely,

> Matrix permanent has been around a lot longer than that; I
> do not know who invented it.

The OED's earliest citation for the term "permanent" in this sense is
from A. C. Aitken in 1939:

1939 A. C. Aitken Determinants & Matrices ii. 30 The corresponding
sum with terms all positive is called the permanent of A; its
properties are neither so simple nor so rich in application as those
of determinants, but it has an importance in the theory of symmetric
functions and in abstract algebra.

So the permanent of a matrix is older than Wikipedia or the internet,
and it *has* been around "since the time of Greek mathematicians":
there were Greek mathematicians in 1939, as there are today.

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