# Questions tagged [notation]

Use this tag whenever you have a question about what some particular symbol/notation means.

168 questions
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
11k views

### O(·) is not a function, so how can a function be equal to it?

I totally understand what big $O$ notation means. My issue is when we say $T(n)=O(f(n))$ , where $T(n)$ is running time of an algorithm on input of size $n$. I understand semantics of it. But $T(n)$ ...
7k views

### Order of growth definition from Reynolds & Tymann

I am reading a book called Principles of Computer Science (2008), by Carl Reynolds and Paul Tymann (published by Schaum's Outlines). The second chapter introduces algorithms with an example of a ...
6k views

### Is there any reason why the modulo operator is denoted as %?

I would like to know if there is any reason why many programming languages use the notation % for the modulo operator? It is used in the most "famous" ...
3k views

### What is this fraction-like “discrete mathematics”–style notation used for formal rules?

In the paper "A Conflict-Free Replicated JSON Datatype", I encountered this notation for formally defining "rules": What is this notation called? How do I read it? For example: the ...
16k views

### What is the purpose of using NIL for representing null nodes?

In my Algorithms and Data Structures course, professors, slides and the book (Introduction to Algorithms, 3rd edition) have been using the word NIL to denote for ...
1k views

### What is the origin of λ for empty string?

I usually use the symbol $\varepsilon$ for empty string (empty word or null string). But I know some people use $\lambda$ instead of $\varepsilon$. I think $\varepsilon$ is derived from the word "...
10k views

### Can a Big-Oh time complexity contain more than one variable?

Let us say for instance I am doing string processing that requires some analysis of two strings. I have no given information about what their lengths might end up being, so they come from two distinct ...
1k views

### What does up arrow ($\uparrow$) mean in pseudocode?

I'm learning vantage point trees, and I met this while reading the paper Data Structures and Algorithms for Nearest Neighbor Search in General Metric Spaces by Peter Yianilos (Proceedings of SODA 1993,...
1k views

1k views

### Arrow notation?

can someone explain what the following notation is? For j <- 1 to n Legal <- True I've seen these in various places, including wikipedia articles. It ...
212 views

195 views

### What does $n^{O(1)}$ mean?

I read an example that said explain what "$f(n)$ is $n^{O(1)}$" means. I can't interpret the $n^{O(1)}$ syntax. I know what Big $O$ notation is, its just that this example looks odd to me.
84 views

### In type systems, is there a name for SQL's way of cutting and combining record types into new types?

I'd like to have this feature in my application programming language (which these days, is Scala), but when I went to learn more about it on the internets, I realized I don't know the name of it. I'm ...
158 views

### Numeral systems other than unary used in nature or in animal and human behaviours

Representing numeric values using positional notation is one of the milestones in the history of arithmetic. Babylons used a base 60 system, Maya a base 20 system; base 10 system became "the standard" ...
89 views

### Exact meaning of $2^{\mathcal{O}(f(n))}$

In Sipser's Introduction to the Theory of Computation he uses the notation $2^{\mathcal{O}(f(n))}$ to denote some asymptotic running time. For example he says that the running time of a single-tape ...
386 views

### Meaning of the notation Typ := TVar | (Typ → Typ)

In the paper "introduction to type theory" by Herman Geuvers, it states the following definition for the type theory of propositional logic (I've added "convention 2" just for reference): Given ...
90 views

### Origins of misconception about using equality signs with Landau notation

From "Misconception 1" from Søren S. Pedersen's blog, and as many have seen before, a major misconception in Big-O (and others) notation is to say a function is "equal" to Big-O of some other function:...
1k views

### Understanding the Reasoning Behind These Typing Rules

So the expression $\Gamma \ \vdash \ e:\sigma$ states that under assumptions $\Gamma$, the expression $e$ has type $\sigma$. Then we have the following rules: \begin{array}{cl}\displaystyle {\frac {x:...
1k views

### Determining Number of States in a Turing Machine

I am looking at an example Turing machine in my textbook, Automata and Computability by Dexter C. Kozen, and I'm confused as to how they determine the number of states this particular machine has. The ...
3k views

### What does the R superscript notation mean in regular/formal languages?

What does the capital R superscript notation mean in regular languages? I am working on a homework assignment and don't recall my professor mentioning what the what the R superscript means. For ...
165 views

### When it is said an algorithm runs in exponential time, is it meant it has complexity $O(2^n)$, or $2^{O(n)}$?

Also, are they equivalent or are they different? Examples of algorithms/Turing Machines that run in complexity of one but not the other would be much appreciated.
71 views

### Difference between ⫾ (U+2AFE) and ⫿ (U+2AFF) in the context of Dijkstra's Guarded Command Language?

Continuing https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/435986/how-to-draw-the-box-of-dijkstras-guarded-command-language, what is the difference in the intended usage of ⫾ (Dijkstra choice, U+2AFE) and ⫿ (...
29 views

### In ISGCI, unit interval graphs are denoted as ($C_{n+4}$,$S_3$,claw,net)-free. Is this an accurate notation?

When I search unit interval graphs in ISGCI, it says that the unit interval graphs (UIG) are equivalent to ($C_{n+4}$,$S_3$,claw,net)-free graphs. I am confused about the definition of an $S_3$ graph....
793 views

213 views

### For complexity classes A and B, what does $A^B$ mean?

What does $A^B$ mean where A and B are complexity classes? The "Polynomial Hierarchy" page says: $A^B$ is the set of decision problems solvable by a Turing machine in class A augmented by an oracle ...