# Origins of Two Familiar Math Terms

In the 800's the mathematician Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi wrote, among other works, two books on the subjects of arithmetic and algebra. In the book, *Concerning the Hindu Art of Reckoning*, al-Khwarizmi used the Hindu numeral system. However, European readers inaccurately consider the number system as Arabic numerals. The use of Hindu numerals became known as **algorithm**, derived from the name al-Khwarizmi. Today, the word algorithm is used for any process or procedure.

Al-Khwarizmi's other book, *The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing*, contained a method known as **al-jabr**. This is the method of removing negative amounts from an equation by adding that amount to each side. That is, for one would apply al-jabr by adding to both sides to get . The term **algebra** is derived from the word al-jabr.

[References]:

Pickover, C. A. (2008), *The Math Book.* New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Boyer, C. B. (1991), *A History of Mathematics.* New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.