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Advanced Math/Algebra Question


Referring to the earlier question that I sent to you about the "coefficient" of "x^2/2", I now think that maybe the coefficient could be "1" (1x^2/2) is the same as (x^2/2), correct?

A swing and a miss! Glad you're thinking through this. The coefficient of any term that contains the variable x raised to an exponent, such as x^y (y = exponent = 2 in your example) is equal to the constant is that is multiplying x^y, even if it is somewhat jumbled up algebriacally. Per the previous answer regarding this monomial, you need to isolate the x^y part and then declare whatever is multiplying it as the coefficient. Thus, for example

3x^y/6 = (3/6)(x^y) = (1/2)(x^y) -> coefficient is 1/2.

Note that, in the left most expression above, we have used the order-of-operations convention that exponentiation is performed first followed by multiplication and division (in either order) followed by addition and subtraction (the latter 2 operations don't appear in the example). If this concept is unclear, send me a follow-up.


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randy patton


college mathematics, applied math, advanced calculus, complex analysis, linear and abstract algebra, probability theory, signal processing, undergraduate physics, physical oceanography


26 years as a professional scientist conducting academic quality research on mostly classified projects involving math/physics modeling and simulation, data analysis and signal processing, instrument development; often ocean related

J. Physical Oceanography, 1984 "A Numerical Model for Low-Frequency Equatorial Dynamics", with M. Cane

M.S. MIT Physical Oceanography, B.S. UC Berkeley Applied Math

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