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Skein relations are a mathematical tool used to study knots. A central question in the mathematical theory of knots is whether two knot diagrams represent the same knot. One way to answer the question is using knot polynomials, which are invariants of the knot. If two diagrams have different polynomials, they represent different knots. In general, the converse does not hold.

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  • Skein relations are a mathematical tool used to study knots. A central question in the mathematical theory of knots is whether two knot diagrams represent the same knot. One way to answer the question is using knot polynomials, which are invariants of the knot. If two diagrams have different polynomials, they represent different knots. In general, the converse does not hold.
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  • Skein relation
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  • Skein relations are a mathematical tool used to study knots. A central question in the mathematical theory of knots is whether two knot diagrams represent the same knot. One way to answer the question is using knot polynomials, which are invariants of the knot. If two diagrams have different polynomials, they represent different knots. In general, the converse does not hold. Skein relations are often used to give a simple definition of knot polynomials. A skein relation gives a linear relation between the values of a knot polynomial on a collection of three links which differ from each other only in a small region. For some knot polynomials, such as the Conway, Alexander, and Jones polynomials, the relevant skein relations are sufficient to calculate the polynomial recursively. For others, such as the HOMFLYPT polynomial, more complicated algorithms are necessary.
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