# Talk:Finite Mathematics

I want to redirect this page to discrete mathematics. Any objections? -- Miguel

Yes, I object. Finite Math is not the same as Discrete Math. On pages 7 and 8 of the following pdf, the "inventors" (Kemeny, Snell, and Thompson) of the term explain it's meaning: [1]

A few years ago [1950's], the department of mathematics at Dartmouth College decided to introduce a different kind of freshman course, which students could elect along with [the] more traditional [pre-calculus] ones. The new course was to be designed to introduce a student to some concepts in modern mathematics early in his college career. While primarily a mathematics course, it was to include applications to the biological and social sciences and thus provide a point of view, other than that given by physics, concerning the possible uses of mathematics.

In planning the proposed course, ...[o]ur aim was to choose topics which are initially close to the students' experience, which are important in modern day mathematics, and which have interesting and important applications. To guide us in the latter we asked for the opinions of a number of behavioral scientists about the kinds of mathematics a future behavioral scientist might need. The main topics of the book were chosen from this list.

Our purpose in writing the book was to develop several topics from a central point of view. In order to accomplish this on an elementary level, we restricted ourselves to the consideration of finite problems, that is, problems which do not involve infinite sets, limiting processes, continuity, etc. By so doing it is possible to go further into the subject matter than would otherwise be possible, and we found that the basic ideas of finite mathematics were easier to state and theorems about them considerably easier to prove than their infinite counterparts.

So, the fact that Finite Math avoids concepts of infinity, does not mean that variables can only take on discrete values. One topic covered in Finite Math is Gaussian Elimination, to solve systems of linear equations. Here the variables are generally real numbers (not just integers), and so they are continous. While there are an infinite number of real numbers, the concept of the infinite need not be discussed to apply Gaussian Elimination, and hence it can be included in a Finite Math course.