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Topic: Leaving 0^0 undefined -- A number-theoretic rationale
Replies: 48   Last Post: Sep 15, 2013 1:06 PM

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 Dan Christensen Posts: 8,161 Registered: 7/9/08
Re: Leaving 0^0 undefined -- A number-theoretic rationale
Posted: Sep 12, 2013 12:06 PM

> > Judging by the lengthy debates in various online forums, I would say
>
> > this is a divisive issue. (For example, the ongoing "Ask A
>
> > Mathematician" thread on this topic starting in December 2010 now has
>
> > 982 postings!)
>
>
>
> Ha ha. Are you claiming that an issue (whatever that means, is it
>
> something like a problem?) that is divisive online must be so in
>
> mathematics as well? Why?
>

Now, you are being silly.

> >
>
> >>
>
> >>
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> >> In any given context we use the definition that we
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> >>
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> >> want to use in that context. No problem.
>
> >>
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> >
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> > What "context" is a computer programmer to use when writing software
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> > for, say, medical equipment? Should he/she just assume 0^0=1?
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> > Shockingly, most programming languages seem to automatically make
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> > this assumption!
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>
>
> I've told you: the programmer should do what the specification says.
>

Then what "context" is the writer of the specification supposed to use?

> Nor is doing mathematics the same as programming computers.
>

Yeah, computers don't recognize any kind of hand-waving.

>
>

> > There is a good case to be made that 0^0 is ambiguous even in the
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> > natural numbers.
>
>
>
> Make it then.
>

See above.

>
>

> > Therefore, it seems to me that the safest, most
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> > conservative assumption when programming is that 0^0 should be
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> > flagged as an error condition. This should be a global standard built
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> > into every general purpose programming language.
>
>
>
> Yet again confusing mathematics with programming.
>

Just pointing out the obvious overlap.

Dan