Posted by pwl on July 3, 2009
Calculus. (Latin, calculus, a small stone used for counting) is a discipline in mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series, and which constitutes a major part of modern university education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem of calculus. Calculus is the study of change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of equations. A course in calculus is a gateway to other, more advanced courses in mathematics devoted to the study of functions and limits, broadly called mathematical analysis. Calculus has widespread applications in science, economics, and engineering and can solve many problems for which algebra alone is insufficient.
Historically, calculus was called “the calculus of infinitesimals”, or “infinitesimal calculus”. More generally, calculus (plural calculi) may refer to any method or system of calculation guided by the symbolic manipulation of expressions. Some examples of other well-known calculi are propositional calculus, variational calculus, lambda calculus, pi calculus and join calculus.