Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. The other operations are addition, subtraction, and multiplication. The division sign ÷, a symbol consisting of a short horizontal line with a dot above and another dot below, is often used to indicate mathematical division. This usage, though widespread in anglophone countries, is neither universal nor recommended: the ISO 80000-2 standard for mathematical notation recommends only the solidus / or fraction bar for division, or the colon for ratios; it says that this symbol "should not be used" for division.
At an elementary level the division of two natural numbers is, among other possible interpretations, the process of calculating the number of times one number is contained within another. This number of times is not always an integer (a number that can be obtained using the other arithmetic operations on the natural numbers).
The division with remainder or Euclidean division of two natural numbers provides an integer quotient, which is the number of times the second number is completely contained in the first number, and a remainder, which is the part of the first number that remains, when in the course of computing the quotient, no further full chunk of the size of the second number can be allocated.
For a modification of this division to yield only one single result, the natural numbers must be extended to rational numbers (the numbers that can be obtained by using arithmetic on natural numbers) or real numbers. In these enlarged number systems, division is the inverse operation to multiplication, that is a = c / b means a × b = c, as long as b is not zero. If b = 0, then this is a division by zero, which is not defined.
Both forms of division appear in various algebraic structures, different ways of defining mathematical structure. Those in which a Euclidean division (with remainder) is defined are called Euclidean domains and include polynomial rings in one indeterminate (which define multiplication and addition over single-variabled formulas). Those in which a division (with a single result) by all nonzero elements is defined are called fields and division rings. In a ring the elements by which division is always possible are called the units (for example, 1 and −1 in the ring of integers). Another generalization of division to algebraic structures is the quotient group, in which the result of "division" is a group rather than a number.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)