Algebra is the branch of mathematics which uses letters and
symbols to represent numbers or other mathematical objects,
and the relationships between them. The word algebra comes
from the Arabic words at al (i.e. the) and jahr (meaning joined
together). Algebra is much broader than elementary algebra
and can be generalized. In addition to working directly with
numbers, algebra covers working with symbols, variables, and
set elements. Addition and multiplication are viewed as general
operations, and their precise definitions lead to structures
such as groups, rings and fields.
Elementary algebra is often part of the curriculum in secondary
education and provides an introduction to the basic ideas
of algebra, including effects of adding and multiplying numbers,
the concept of variables, definition of polynomials, along
with factorization and determining their roots.