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When two operators A and B do not commute, the calculation of the exponential operator e A + B is a difficult and crucial problem. The applications are vast and diversified: to name but a few examples, quantum evolutions, product formulas, quantum control, Zeno effect. The latter are of great interest in quantum applications and quantum technologies. We present here a historical survey of results and techniques, and discuss differences and similarities. We also highlight the link with thedoi:10.3390/proceedings2019012030 fatcat:re5xqt3idjep7fhmmozqs5vxhu