1200 hear old problem solved! divide 0 by 0!

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coius's picture
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A person has solved the 1200yr old problem of dividing zero, by zero
I think this brings up a new change in mathematics, and possibly computers will have a whole new way of dealing with these problems?

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BDub's picture
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Define 'these problems' pleas

Define 'these problems' please.

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Yeah, I don't think I've ever

Yeah, I don't think I've ever come across a situation where I had to devide zero by zero...

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eeun's picture
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After reading the article, I'

After reading the article, I'm not sure how much of a solution it provides.
The supposition in the article was that this would somehow save divide-by-zero errors in computing, but only if you can somehow incorporate a new made-up number into your calculations that is -outside- normal numbers. At least in this situation, how is that any different from assigning a result to a variable, or null?

On a related note, I've just solved the problem of light speed travel by assigning infinite mass to the word "sasquatch".

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mmphosis's picture
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Division by Zero

http://standards.ieee.org/reading/ieee/interp/754-1985.html

0 REMZERO DIVIDED BY ZERO
1 REM
2 REMPRIOR TO THE YEAR 806,
3 REMTHIS PROBLEM WAS SOLVED
4 REMOR IT WASN'T A PROBLEM^J

10 LET A = 0
20 LET B = 0
30 GOSUB 100DIVIDE
40 PRINT A " / " B " = " V$
50 END:^J

100 REMDIVIDE A BY B
110 REMCHECK FOR DIVISION BY ZERO
120 IF B THEN V = A / B : V$ = STR$(V) : RETURN
130 REMCHECK FOR ZERO DIVIDED BY ZERO -- DEC 6, 2006
140 IF (A) THEN V$ = "NOT A NUMBER" : RETURN
150 V$ = "NULLITY" : RETURN

Jon's picture
Jon
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He renamed infinity to nullit

He renamed infinity to nullity. Or, if you really want to say it, he made a definition to an undefined issue. The division by zero is an undefined number. Thus, he defined it as "nullity". Nothing that couldn't have been done in the past, but it really doesn't *do* anything. We now have another name for something still undefined, in terms of an actual number. It's just like the square root of -1. The number doesn't exist, but we give it a name and use it as a placeholder to help solve problems. There is no way to use the result of a division by zero as a place holder, because we can't undo it. We can square the square root of -1 and get -1. If we multiply "nullity" by zero (ie, after having divided something by zero to get nullity) we get zero, because for any number i: i * 0 == 0. With nullity there is no balance on both sides of the equation, and thus can't hold up under a proof.

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Yeah until I see a mathematic

Yeah until I see a mathematical proof for it I don't buy it. I read the page and it looks like just a bunch of hand waving.

Also diving by 0 is not that big of a deal. In computers most processors will throw an exception. Just handle it and go on. There are even some language that can deal with it with out freaking out.

In Calculus divide by 0 is also not a big deal. It can easily be expressed as a limit that approaches infinity and using l'Hopital's rule you can even get useful answers.

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Jon's picture
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Approaches infinity. You jus

Approaches infinity. You just stated a concept that many posters on that story forgot. 1/0 is *not* infinity. As the denominator approaches zero, the result approaches infinity. As there are infinitely smaller numbers on the approach to zero we never run out of a smaller one and thus never reach infinity in the result. 1/0 is undefined because we would have to reach the end of the infinitely small numbers to actually reach zero and by the definition of infinitely small, that can't happen.

One of the best quotes I've read on that page that illustates the point behind the "nullity" concept:

Quote:

The Mole
So: Ships and planes unexplainedly disappear in the Atlantic. Let's assume there's a location which lies outside the normal space/time line and give it a name. Now the disappearances are all explained just by saying "Bermuda Triangle".

Just because we call the area the Bermuda Triangle doesn't mean we've solved the missing ships and planes... ::roll::

EDIT: Aw, heck, one more:

Quote:

Richard Bremner, Aberdeen
*Announcement* I have solved the problem of what is North of the North Pole, it's called Northity. Everyone rejoince.

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coius's picture
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I'm guessing I screwed up when I posted this

I didn't realize that there was going to be that many responses. I thought it was a big thing, but it appears that it has already been solved. I shoulda checked my facts. It's probably due to me not understanding math much that I posted this hastily.
I didn't check the comments below before posting, and now I regret that.

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BDub's picture
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To beat the point of how this

To beat the point of how this doesn't matter to death, here's some C code to illustrate what a computer actually returns in a x/0 situation.

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
    
    // Divide by zero - integer math
    int i = 5;
    int j = 0;
    int k = i/j;
    printf("%i\n", k); // Prints '0'
    
    // Divide by zero with doubles
    double five = 5.0;
    double zero = 0.0;
    double answer = five/zero;
    printf("%f\n", answer); // Prints 'inf'
    
    // I suppose it could print 'nullity' if that'll make this man feel better
        
    return 0;
}
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