Please allow me to ask a potentially dumb question (or maybe more precisely, a question floating on clouds of ignorance):
Why is a max-plus algebra called a tropical algebra?
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Sign up to join this communityPlease allow me to ask a potentially dumb question (or maybe more precisely, a question floating on clouds of ignorance):
Why is a max-plus algebra called a tropical algebra?
A lot of sources mention that the adjective "tropical" is given in honor of Imre Simon, but it seems hard to find who precisely coined the term. I found some sources which attribute this to some French mathematicians. Here is what Bryan Hayes writes on the topic:
For starters, what is that word “tropical” supposed to mean? Speyer and Sturmfels explain: “The adjective tropical was coined by French mathematicians, including Jean-Eric Pin, in honor of their Brazilian colleague Imre Simon.” Pin, in a 1998 paper (.pdf), deflects the credit to another French mathematician, Dominique Perrin, again noting that the name honors “the pioneering work of our brazilian colleague and friend Imre Simon.” Simon himself, in a 1988 paper (.ps), attributes the term to yet a third French mathematician, Christian Choffrut. Apparently, no one wants to lay claim to the word, and I can’t entirely blame them. Speyer and Sturmfels go on: “There is no deeper meaning in the adjective ‘tropical’. It simply stands for the French view of Brazil.”
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_geometry:
The adjective tropical is given in honor of the Brazilian mathematician Imre Simon, who pioneered the field.