Re: What is zero divided by zero?
- To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
- Subject: [mg48563] Re: What is zero divided by zero?
- From: "David W. Cantrell" <DWCantrell at sigmaxi.org>
- Date: Sat, 5 Jun 2004 07:19:06 -0400 (EDT)
- References: <4xm5ym42r3vg@legacy> <wzog6i63na4c@legacy> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com
drbob at bigfoot.com (Bobby R. Treat) wrote: > "zero divided by zero" is four English words, one after the other. The > meaning of it is whatever we can agree that it means. But we can't > agree on a useful meaning; it's not as if the subject hasn't come up a > million times over the past century or two. It is, and will remain, > undefined. Well, it is normally regarded as being undefined in mathematics _per se_, yes. But it certainly is defined in some contexts related to computing. Examples: In APL, it's 1 (which, IMO, is quite regrettable), while in APL's offspring J, it's 0 (which is the only reasonable choice among the reals). And it's defined in standard floating-point arithmetic to be NaN. (Now you're welcomed to say "But that's merely defining it to be 'undefined'!" Although that's right in some sense, in fact it is nonetheless _defined as a specific floating-point object_, and that can be useful.) David Cantrell