# Definition:Series

## Definition

### General Definition

Let $\struct{S, \circ}$ be a semigroup.

Let $\sequence{a_n}$ be a sequence in $S$.

Informally, a **series** is what results when an infinite product is taken of $\sequence {a_n}$:

- $\ds s := \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^\infty a_n = a_1 \circ a_2 \circ a_3 \circ \cdots$

Formally, a **series** is a sequence in $S$.

### Series in a Standard Number Field

The usual context for the definition of a series occurs when $S$ is one of the standard number fields $\Q, \R, \C$.

The **series** is what results when $\sequence {a_n}$ is summed to infinity:

- $\ds \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^\infty a_n = a_1 + a_2 + a_3 + \cdots$

### Finite

A **finite series** is a series with a finite number of terms.

## Sequence of Partial Sums

The sequence $\sequence {s_N}$ defined as the indexed summation:

- $\ds s_N: = \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^N a_n = a_1 + a_2 + a_3 + \cdots + a_N$

is the **sequence of partial sums** of the series $\ds \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^\infty a_n$.

## Tail of a Series

Let $N \in \N$.

The expression $\ds \sum_{n \mathop = N}^\infty a_n$ is known as a **tail** of the **series** $\ds \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^\infty a_n$.

## Notation

When there is no danger of confusion, the limits of the summation are implicit and the notations:

- $\ds \sum a_n$

and

- $\ds \sum_n a_n$

are often seen for $\ds \sum_{n \mathop = 1}^\infty a_n$.

## Also known as

Some sources use the term **infinite series**, but the adjective is technically redundant in that **series** are defined as being infinite.

## Also see

- Results about
**series**can be found**here**.

## Sources

- 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**infinite series** - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**series** - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**infinite series** - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**series** - 2014: Christopher Clapham and James Nicholson:
*The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics*(5th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**infinite series**