DISCRETE MATHEMATICS/NUMBER THEORY
Mrs. Manju Devi*
Discrete mathematics is the study of mathematical structures that are fundamentally discrete rather than continuous. In contrast to real numbers that have the property of varying "smoothly", the objects studied in discrete mathematics such as integers, graphs, and statements do not vary smoothly in this way, but have distinct, separated values. Discrete mathematics therefore excludes topics in "continuous mathematics" such as calculus and analysis. Discrete objects can often be enumerated by integers. More formally, discrete mathematics has been characterized as the branch of mathematics dealing with countable sets(sets that have the same cardinality as subsets of the natural numbers, including rational numbers but not real numbers). However, there is no exact, universally agreed, definition of the term "discrete mathematics." Indeed, discrete mathematics is described less by what is included than by what is excluded: continuously varying quantities and related notions.
The set of objects studied in discrete mathematics can be finite or infinite. The term finite mathematics is sometimes applied to parts of the field of discrete mathematics that deals with finite sets, particularly those areas relevant to business.
Although the main objects of study in discrete mathematics are discrete objects, analytic methods from continuous mathematics are often employed as well.
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