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Topic: Chinese counting rods
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jun 16, 1995 4:28 PM

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Chih-Han sah

Posts: 75
Registered: 12/3/04
Chinese counting rods
Posted: Jun 16, 1995 1:21 AM
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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 Gauss-Jordan
Elimination Method after you rotate everything by 90 degrees.

In essence, it is paper-pencil 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






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