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Chinese counting rods
Posted:
Jun 16, 1995 1:21 AM


They are rods (think of toothpicks) that come in bags. You put them on a table top, arrange them in rows (the chinese would arrange them in columns). For example, 302 would be
 blank space 
Rules are then given for solving various problems. Some samples can be found in the book
Chinese Mathematics, a Concise History, by Li Yan and Du Shi Ran.
The algorithm given for solving a 3 x 3 system is just the GaussJordan Elimination Method after you rotate everything by 90 degrees.
In essence, it is paperpencil calculation or manipulatives. However, some of the algorithms resembled the stacking process used inside HP calculators.
There is a difference between doing calculations and writing down the results.
Han Sah sah@math.sunysb.edu



