
Re: What is infinity minus one?
Posted:
Oct 13, 2004 12:46 PM


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, floatingpoint 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

