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Algorithmic in the 12th Century: The Carmen de Algorismo by Alexander de Villa Dei

Abstract : This paper aims to update the knowledge about one of the oldest medieval handbooks on calculation with Hindu-Arabic numerals in positional notation, the so-called Carmen de algorismo, also known as Algorismus metricus, and traditionally attributed to the French scholar Alexander de Villa Dei. This work had a remarkable spread during the Middle Ages in many European countries, alongside the Algorismus prosaicus by Johannes de Sacrobosco. In our study we will portray the overall picture of the spread of new techniques of calculation with Hindu-Arabic numerals in cultured circles and of the consequent literature, since it is different from the contemporary works called abacus books, devoted to merchant and practical calculations. Despite its importance, the work has not yet been thoroughly investigated both for its relative difficulty, because it is composed in verse by a refined author, and for the presence of a contemporary literature of the same content, starting precisely from the one by Sacrobosco.
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Nadia Ambrosetti. Algorithmic in the 12th Century: The Carmen de Algorismo by Alexander de Villa Dei. 3rd International Conference on History and Philosophy of Computing (HaPoC), Oct 2015, Pisa, Italy. pp.71-86, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-47286-7_5⟩. ⟨hal-01615308⟩

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