6. Algebra and the arithmetic of remainders
- Peter M. Higgins
‘Algebra and the arithmetic of remainders’ considers a new type of algebra, which is both an ancient topic and one that has found major contemporary application in Internet cryptography. It begins with an outline of abstract algebra, including groups, rings, and fields. Semigroups and groups are algebras with a single associative operation, while rings and fields are algebras with two operations linked via the distributive law. Lattices are algebras with an ordered structure, while vector spaces and modules are algebras where the members can be multiplied by scalar quantities from other fields or rings. The rules of modular arithmetic (or clock arithmetic) and solving linear congruences are also described.