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Topic: What is infinity minus one?
Replies: 25   Last Post: Jun 7, 2013 10:01 PM

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David W. Cantrell

Posts: 3,395
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: What is infinity minus one?
Posted: Oct 13, 2004 12:46 PM
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mojaveg@mojaveg.iwvisp.com (Everett M. Greene) wrote:
> David W. Cantrell <DWCantrell@sigmaxi.org> writes:
> > Tim Brauch <RnEeMwOs.pVoEst@tbrauch.cNOoSPAMm> wrote:
>
> > > But overall, I would say your reasoning is pretty good and catches
> > > the essential parts of why arithmetic with infinity is not a good
> > > idea.

> >
> > If you think it's a bad idea, then perhaps you should contemplate why
> > the most used (in terms of number of computations performed per day)
> > number system in the world, floating-point arithmetic, incorporates
> > arithmetic with infinity (and does so according to an internationally
> > accepted standard). You might also ask yourself why, if it's a bad
> > idea, all computer algebra systems (or at least all known to me)
> > implement arithmetic with infinity.

>
> I would suspect that the IEEE 754 standard includes
> infinities due to reasons other than wanting it for
> actual calculations.


Indeed. But things can be wanted for more than one reason, after all.
That is the case here. The infinities _are_ intended to be used "for
actual calculations."

David Cantrell





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