By Doron Zeilberger

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Appeared in J. Comb. Theory, Ser. A, v. 91 (2000), 451-463. [Rota Memorial issue]

Copyright(c)2000 by Academic Press (available from IDEAL).

Written: March 30, 2000.

In Fond Mermory of Gian-Carlo ROTA (April 27, 1932- April 18, 1999)

Gian-Carlo ROTA was one of the giants of 20th-century mathematics, but some of his ideas will be even more seminal in the 21st-century. The present article, hopefully to be followed by four others, attempts to illustrate this statement.

My appreciation of Gian-Carlo was an almost perodic function. Most of the times I admired him as the GREATEST combinatorial GENIUS of all times, but sometimes I dismissed him as a "flake". Only later did I realize that these two epithets are compatible rather than contradictory. TRUE geniuses must have some flakiness in them.

IMPORTANT: This article is accompanied by a Maple package ROTA.

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