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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Re: What is zero divided by zero?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg48598] Re: What is zero divided by zero?
  • From: drbob at bigfoot.com (Bobby R. Treat)
  • Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 05:33:22 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <4xm5ym42r3vg@legacy> <wzog6i63na4c@legacy> <c9k4bo$fi9$1@smc.vnet.net> <c9pfb1$s4l$1@smc.vnet.net> <c9scmb$c0f$1@smc.vnet.net>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Yes, and 0/0==Indeterminate in Mathematica, so I suspect the poster
likely wasn't asking his question in the narrow sense you mean.

Bobby

"David W. Cantrell" <DWCantrell at sigmaxi.org> wrote in message news:<c9scmb$c0f$1 at smc.vnet.net>...
> 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


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