Definition:Greatest Common Divisor/Integers/General Definition

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Let $S = \set {a_1, a_2, \ldots, a_n} \subseteq \Z$ such that $\exists x \in S: x \ne 0$ (that is, at least one element of $S$ is non-zero).


$\gcd \paren S = \gcd \set {a_1, a_2, \ldots, a_n}$

is defined as the largest $d \in \Z_{>0}$ such that $\forall x \in S: d \divides x$.

Also known as

The greatest common divisor is also known as the highest common factor (abbreviated HCF or hcf) and written $\operatorname {hcf} \set {a, b}$ or $\operatorname {hcf} \tuple {a, b}$.

Alternatively, $\gcd \set {a, b}$ is written in some texts as $\tuple {a, b}$, but this notation can cause confusion with ordered pairs.

The notation $\gcd \tuple {a, b}$ is also seen, but the set notation, although a little more cumbersome, can be argued to be preferable.

The archaic term greatest common measure can also be found, mainly in such as Euclid's The Elements.

Also see