In mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result. It is a property of many binary operations, and many mathematical proofs depend on it. Most familiar as the name of the property that says 3 +4 =4 +3 or 2 ×5 =5 ×2, the property can also be used in more advanced settings. The name is needed there are operations, such as division and subtraction. The commutative property is a property associated with binary operations and functions. If the commutative property holds for a pair of elements under a binary operation then the two elements are said to commute under that operation. The term commutative is used in several related senses, putting on socks resembles a commutative operation since which sock is put on first is unimportant. Either way, the result, is the same, in contrast, putting on underwear and trousers is not commutative. The commutativity of addition is observed when paying for an item with cash, regardless of the order the bills are handed over in, they always give the same total. The multiplication of numbers is commutative, since y z = z y for all y, z ∈ R For example,3 ×5 =5 ×3. Some binary truth functions are also commutative, since the tables for the functions are the same when one changes the order of the operands. For example, the logical biconditional function p ↔ q is equivalent to q ↔ p and this function is also written as p IFF q, or as p ≡ q, or as Epq. Further examples of binary operations include addition and multiplication of complex numbers, addition and scalar multiplication of vectors. Concatenation, the act of joining character strings together, is a noncommutative operation, rotating a book 90° around a vertical axis then 90° around a horizontal axis produces a different orientation than when the rotations are performed in the opposite order. The twists of the Rubiks Cube are noncommutative and this can be studied using group theory. Some non-commutative binary operations, Records of the use of the commutative property go back to ancient times. The Egyptians used the property of multiplication to simplify computing products. Euclid is known to have assumed the property of multiplication in his book Elements
The first known use of the term was in a French Journal published in 1814
The cumulation of apples, which can be seen as an addition of natural numbers, is commutative.
Graph showing the symmetry of the addition function
Image: Commutativity of binary operations (without question mark)