How ordinary elimination became Gaussian elimination
Newton, in notes that he would rather not have seen published, described a process for solving simultaneous equations that later authors applied specifically to linear equations. This method — which Euler did not recommend, which Legendre called “ordinary,” and which Gauss called “common” — is now named after Gauss: “Gaussian” elimination. Gauss’s name became associated with elimination through the adoption, by professional computers, of a specialized notation that Gauss devised for his own least-squares calculations. The notation allowed elimination to be viewed as a sequence of arithmetic operations that were repeatedly optimized for hand computing and eventually were described by matrices.