Identification Numbers and Check Digit Schemes

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Mathematical Association of America, Mar 29, 2001 - Mathematics - 174 pages
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This book develops the mathematical skills necessary for the investigation of the increasingly pervasive codes used to identify everything from credit cards to books to supermarket goods. An important part of such codes is the check digit, which can point out when an error has been made, either accidentally in transmission, or deliberately in an attempt at fraud. Mathematics plays a crucial role in designing and verifying such check digit schemes. Beginning undergraduates and pre-university students should find this book both accessible and fun. In the process of describing the identification number schemes, the author introduces many fundamental areas of discrete mathematics, including modular arithmetic and group theory, with emphasis on their applications. A unique point of the book is the way it offers students the possibility of writing papers summarizing a given topic to improve their understanding. It also contains pointers into the literature for further reading.

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January 2002 Prizes and Awards
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