Product (mathematics) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

In mathematics, a product is a number or a quantity obtained by multiplying two or more numbers together. For example: 4 × 7 = 28 Here, the number 28 is called the product of 4 and 7. The product of 6 and 4 will be 24, because 6 × 4 = 24.

Capital pi

A short notation for long multiplication expressions is the product notation. It uses the capital Greek letter pi: \prod. This works the same as the Sigma notation. Informally, given a sequence of numbers (or elements of a multiplicative structure with unit) say a_i we define \prod_{1\leq i\leq n}a_i:=a_1\dotsm a_n. A rigorous definition is usually given recursively as follows

\prod_{1\leq i\leq n}a_i
\text{ for }
\left(\prod_{1\leq i\leq n-1}a_i\right)
\text{ for }

An alternative notation for \prod_{1\leq i\leq n} is \prod_{i=1}^n.


\prod_{i=1}^n i = 1 \cdot 2 \cdot ... \cdot n = n! (n! is pronounced "n factorial" or "factorial of n");
\prod_{i=1}^n x = x^n, i.e., the usual nth power operation;
\prod_{i=1}^n n = n^n, i.e., we multiply n by itself n times;
\prod_{i=1}^n c \cdot i = c^n \cdot n! where c is a constant with respect to i.

From the above equation we can see that any number with an exponent can be represented by a product, though it normally is not desirable.

Unlike summation, the sums of two terms cannot be separated into different sums. That is,

\prod_{i=1}^4 (3 + 4) \neq \prod_{i=1}^4 3 + \prod_{i=1}^4 4,

This can be thought of in terms of polynomials: one generally cannot separate terms inside them before they are raised to an exponent. But the product does,

\prod_{i=1}^n a_ib_i=\prod_{i=1}^na_i\prod_{i=1}^nb_i.

Relation to Summation

The product of powers with the same base can be written as an exponential of the sum of the powers' exponents:

\prod_{i=1}^n a^{c_i} = a^{c_1} \cdot a^{c_2} \dotsm a^{c_n}= a^{c_1 + c_2 + ... + c_n} = a^{(\sum_{i=1}^n c_i)}

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