In mathematics and computer science, a canonical, normal, or standard form of a mathematical object is a standard way of presenting that object as a mathematical expression. The distinction between "canonical" and "normal" forms varies by subfield. In most fields, a canonical form specifies a unique representation for every object, while a normal form simply specifies its form, without the requirement of uniqueness. The canonical form of a positive integer in decimal representation is a finite sequence of digits that does not begin with zero.

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• In mathematics and computer science, a canonical, normal, or standard form of a mathematical object is a standard way of presenting that object as a mathematical expression. The distinction between "canonical" and "normal" forms varies by subfield. In most fields, a canonical form specifies a unique representation for every object, while a normal form simply specifies its form, without the requirement of uniqueness. The canonical form of a positive integer in decimal representation is a finite sequence of digits that does not begin with zero. More generally, for a class of objects on which an equivalence relation is defined, a canonical form consists in the choice of a specific object in each class. For example, Jordan normal form is a canonical form for matrix similarity, and the row echelon form is a canonical form, when one considers as equivalent a matrix and its left product by an invertible matrix. In computer science, and more specifically in computer algebra, when representing mathematical objects in a computer, there are usually many different ways to represent the same object. In this context, a canonical form is a representation such that every object has a unique representation. Thus, the equality of two objects can easily be tested by testing the equality of their canonical forms. However canonical forms frequently depend on arbitrary choices (like ordering the variables), and this introduces difficulties for testing the equality of two objects resulting on independent computations. Therefore, in computer algebra, normal form is a weaker notion: A normal form is a representation such that zero is uniquely represented. This allows testing for equality by putting the difference of two objects in normal form. Canonical form can also mean a differential form that is defined in a natural (canonical) way. In computer science, data that has more than one possible representation can often be canonicalized into a completely unique representation called its canonical form. Putting something into canonical form is canonicalization. (en)
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http://purl.org/linguistics/gold/hypernym
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• In mathematics and computer science, a canonical, normal, or standard form of a mathematical object is a standard way of presenting that object as a mathematical expression. The distinction between "canonical" and "normal" forms varies by subfield. In most fields, a canonical form specifies a unique representation for every object, while a normal form simply specifies its form, without the requirement of uniqueness. The canonical form of a positive integer in decimal representation is a finite sequence of digits that does not begin with zero. (en)
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• Canonical form (en)
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