Multiplication

Multiplication (often denoted by the cross symbol ×, by the mid-line dot operator ●, by juxtaposition, or, on computers, by an asterisk *) is one of the four elementary mathematical operations of arithmetic, with the other ones being addition, subtraction and division. The result of a multiplication operation is called a product.

The multiplication of whole numbers may be thought of as a repeated addition; that is, the multiplication of two numbers is equivalent to adding as many copies of one of them, the multiplicand, as the quantity of the other one, the multiplier. Both numbers can be referred to as factors.

One of the main properties of multiplication is the commutative property, which states in this case that adding 3 copies of 4 gives the same result as adding 4 copies of 3

Thus the designation of multiplier and multiplicand does not affect the result of the multiplication.

The multiplication of integers (including negative numbers), rational numbers (fractions) and real numbers is defined by a systematic generalization of this basic definition.

Multiplication can also be visualized as counting objects arranged in a rectangle (for whole numbers), or as finding the area of a rectangle whose sides have some given lengths. The area of a rectangle does not depend on which side is measured first—a consequence of the commutative property.

The product of two measurements is a new type of measurement. For example, multiplying the lengths of the two sides of a rectangle gives its area. Such products is the subject of dimensional analysis.

The inverse operation of multiplication is division. For example, since 4 multiplied by 3 equals 12, 12 divided by 3 equals 4. Indeed, multiplication by 3, followed by division by 3, yields the original number. The division of a number other than 0 by itself equals 1.

Multiplication is also defined for other types of numbers, such as complex numbers, and more abstract constructs like matrices. For some of these more abstract constructs, the order in which the operands are multiplied together matters.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)