# Professor Comes Up With a Way to Divide by Zero

#### samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the it-seems-so-obvious-now dept.

1090
54mc writes *"The BBC reports that Dr. James Anderson, of the University of Reading, has finally conquered the problem of dividing by zero. His new number, which he calls "nullity" solves the 1200 year old problem that niether Newton nor Pythagoras could solve, the problem of zero to the zero power. Story features video (Real Player only) of Dr. Anderson explaining the "simple" concept."*

## Argh!!! (5, Funny)

## Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142572)

## Re:Argh!!! (5, Funny)

## MountainMan101 (714389) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142632)

In fact, using proof-by-blatant-assertion,

if 0/0=14

then 0*14 must = 0

which it does

therefore 0/0=14

so there !

## Re:Argh!!! (5, Funny)

## buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142912)

Why is the algorithm producing that? Oh I introduced a nullity.

Furthermore, they shouldn't have called it a nullity. They should have called it a Bush.

## Well, thats just nullty. (5, Interesting)

## BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142574)

His new number, which he calls "nullity"Well, thats just nullty.

Seriously though, as I understand it, this is simply another mathematical structure that allows a different scalar much like a real projective line, right? If that is the case, then there is nothing really new here and there can be no application or definition with real numbers or integers. Alternatively by interpreting this as a commutative ring, one might be able to extend this to where division by zero does not always get you in trouble, but the precise interpretation of "division" is fundamentally altered. This too is not a new concept.

However, all of that said, I am a bioscientist and my math skills are not as strong as a formally trained mathematician, so I will defer to those here who are stronger mathematicians than I if this interpretation is incorrect.

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (5, Interesting)

## RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142660)

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (4, Informative)

## Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142860)

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (1)

## Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142868)

If anything 0/0 should be 0. If 1/2 of 0 is 0, and 1/4 of 0 is 0, etc. then 0/0 should also be 0. 0/0 should be a special case where dividing by zero actually yields a valid real number, and all other divisions by 0 are undefined.

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (2, Interesting)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142886)

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (1)

## creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142694)

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (-1, Flamebait)

## Jason Lind (683680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142726)

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (1)

## creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142788)

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142834)

You don't understand it.

## Re:Well, thats just nullty. (5, Funny)

## itwerx (165526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142900)

Seriously though...if this interpretation is incorrect.Your interpretation is correct but for proper mathematical representation it should be reduced to its simplest form.

While simpler reductions may be possible I believe the following best conveys the essence of the equation:

"Dr. Anderson is a pompous idiot."

## like databases? (1, Funny)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142588)

Well, maybe it's the same thing. I didn't read the article.

## Not everyone's happy (5, Funny)

## BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142590)

## Umm... NaN? (5, Funny)

## The boojum (70419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142596)

## Re:Umm... NaN? (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142648)

(funny, captcha is "megabits")

## YaNaN? (3, Funny)

## Marbleless (640965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142696)

## Re:Umm... NaN? (3, Funny)

## Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142712)

Is it just me or does it sound like he thinks he's invented the NaN?But he gets the credit because "Nullity" sounds smarter, so Nanny Nan Na to you!

## Re:Umm... NaN? (5, Insightful)

## El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142766)

He proposes to define a new number that doesn't exist (or fit for that matter) in the current system.

But still it's useless, or at least I think it is.

100/0 != 10/0 != 1/0 != 0/0

but he uses the same identifier for all of them, so that would mean:

(100/0) / (1/0) = 1

That goes against the principle of:

infinity / (infinity - 1) != 1

## Re:Umm... NaN? (4, Funny)

## creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142802)

## Hmm (5, Funny)

## mdemonic (988470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142600)

## Re:Hmm (1)

## ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142630)

## Re:Hmm (1)

## mdemonic (988470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142670)

## Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

## whmac33 (524094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142700)

## Re:Hmm (1)

## NETHED (258016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142634)

But seriously, great comment

## But wait (1, Redundant)

## iriefrank (41550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142604)

## Audio/Video is Real-encoded (2)

## BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142606)

## And this is important, why? (5, Funny)

## NETHED (258016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142618)

What he did was assign the previously "undefined" integer with a defined symbol that means the same thing. Infinity in both directions.

While interesting, the concept has little use.

From the article

"Imagine you're landing on an aeroplane and the automatic pilot's working," he suggests. "If it divides by zero and the computer stops working - you're in big trouble. If your heart pacemaker divides by zero, you're dead.".Now, instead of getting an error message, the computer give a 0 with a line through it, and THEN an error message.

## Re:And this is important, why? (2, Interesting)

## Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142690)

I can make up numbers too...Let's call it "snerg".

Seriously, it sounds too close to null's, which makes database probramming a royal pain in the arse. Null's are like poison pills that propagate thru an expression and render it useless. This is perhaps useful for some numeric calculations, but a big mistake for strings. Example:

myString = A . B . C . D . E

Assume that "." is string concatenation. Under many RDBMS, if *any* of A, B, C, D, or E is null, the entire expression is null. This is rarely what one wants. One ends up putting a lot of null-fixer functions in expressions to prevent this kind of poison-pill approach. If I die and there is an afterlife, I will hunt down the person that made this a convention and make them eat a Null Pill so that their entire body (spirit?) is nullified. (And you don't want to hear what I'll do to the guy who invented neckties.)

## Re:And this is important, why? (4, Insightful)

## jrockway (229604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142838)

If you add a regular number and an undefined number, the result can't be defined. That's why 1 + NULL causes the entire operation to reduce to NULL. Makes perfect sense and is an important part of relational design.

## Re:And this is important, why? (1)

## Nyall (646782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142890)

From the example say your auto pilot does divide by 0 when trying to decide to go right or left(As if the ADA code in the air plane wouldn't throw an expression) you could propagate the result through subsequent expressions as + or - inifinity which means maximum possible bank right or left depending on the sign. I'd much rather have the additional sign information than invent a new type without it. (The IEEE floating point spec adds some additional confusion to a novice programmer: 1/x where x=0 equals positive infinity but the floating point hardware does not know how x varies. If x is an iterative variable that approaches from the negative side, it'd be more appropriate to say that 1/x when x gets to 0 = negative infinity)

However inventing higher forms of advanced math to solve safety critical problems is silly. Its up to the programmer to understand the range and possible inputs

## Re:And this is important, why? (2, Insightful)

## dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142764)

## Uhm.. What? (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142620)

## Re:Uhm.. What? (1)

## advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142780)

about as much sense as the square root of -1 does... that concept has proved highly useful...

## Warp Zone! (2, Funny)

## Fallingcow (213461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142894)

## mod post up by ... (5, Funny)

## b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142638)

## Re:mod post up by ... (2, Funny)

## Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142762)

mod original post up by 0/0 points :) Well, that explains all the goddam dupes

## That's quite exceptional (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142642)

-NaN

## didn't "solve" anything (2, Interesting)

## Doppler00 (534739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142644)

## Re:didn't "solve" anything (1)

## thestuckmud (955767) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142738)

TFA is all but useless, mercifully so because I don't expect this "invention" breaks any new ground.

## Rubbish (4, Funny)

## Mkoms (910273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142650)

## Re:Rubbish (1, Funny)

## neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142760)

## Not just "division by zero", but 0/0 specifically (2, Informative)

## RobHornick (170481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142654)

## Re:Not just "division by zero", but 0/0 specifical (1)

## RobHornick (170481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142664)

## Re:Not just "division by zero", but 0/0 specifical (1)

## jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142734)

I'm not a math-pro either, but just an idea.... If you divide any number (except 0), by zero you can take the limit of either side and you get -Inf or +Inf. Now, keep in mind that 0 divided by any number (except 0) is always 0: f(x)= x/0 = 0 (x element of R\{0}).

Now combine the two... By using the first statement (using limits), the result of 0/0 should be either -Inf or +Inf. By using the second statement the result should be 0... Somehow, thus, 0/0 should be -Inf, +Inf and 0 at once. Not that I see that as a problem, but hey, as I said: IANAMathematician.

1... 2... 3... Ah, there, is the mathematician with the Clueb *Ouch!* ;-)

## Re:Not just "division by zero", but 0/0 specifical (2, Funny)

## creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142828)

Anyone feel like explaining the importance of 0/0?It's what math professors think about when they're too old to bonk a student during those intense one-on-one tutoring sessions.

## Dr. James Anderson's actual papers (5, Informative)

## Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142902)

The first paper [bookofparagon.com] he describes as:

The second paper [bookofparagon.com] he says:

## Imaginary Numbers (-1, Flamebait)

## PixieDust (971386) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142658)

I am the first to admit math has NEVER been my strong suit, but are mathemeticians seriously just making up random rules as they go along so that soemthing which occurs to them suddenly works? Imaginary Numbers, changing the rules so that things work the way you want them to. Why is this (AFAIK) the only field to do this? How often do you hear a Physicist say "So, that whole gravity thing, yea we think it's really the opposite of that. What really happens is that mass PUSHES objects away from it, but they just suck so bad everything sticks anyway. What we've done with this (insert spiffy but questionable invention/theorem/etc here), is design something that would work well in this environment."

Nevermind, I think that does happen actually. But am I just missing the point entirely on this? I mean, even if I am, what does being able to divide by zero really get us? Can dividing by zero usher in some ultra new era for science as a whole? How will this affect computer systems in the next 1,5,10, and 20 years? What are the long term implications of this? If there aren't any, then really this is just a kid standing out in the yard swinging from a branch by their legs saying "Look Ma! No Hands!"

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (1)

## ET_Fleshy (829048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142720)

lastperson that should be replying to you, and I'm wasted so it makes it even worse## Re:Imaginary Numbers (5, Informative)

## Alchemist253 (992849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142722)

Imaginary numbers (specifically, complex numbers, which consist of a sum of a real and an imaginary number, and which comprise the "complex plane") are INCREDIBLY important in the "real world."

I'm just a chemist, not a mathematician, but I am well aware that imaginary numbers are critical in the Fourier transforms used every time I take an IR or NMR spectrum.

Ever do electrical engineering? Circuit analysis is made a great deal easier when you can treat circuit elements in terms of complex numbers. All that "impedance" stuff you hear about capacitors and the like that makes it possible to apply Ohm's Law to LRC circuits.

These also are not merely made up properties, they are fundamental to mathematics and thus (if one believes that math is the language of the universe) physics. For example, certain integrals necessarily yield imaginary results. These integrals are not of some ethereal interest, but appear throughout quantum mechanics. This is why the amplitude of a wavefunction (used, for example, in molecular modeling that allows for practical achievements like better medicines) is not the square of the wave function (or, for that matter, its absolute value) but the product of the wavefunction and ITS COMPLEX CONJUGATE.

If you'd like more examples of the utility of complex numbers and other "random rules," check out Boas' "Mathematical Methods In The Physical Sciences."

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (2, Interesting)

## lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142742)

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (2, Interesting)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142744)

math is actually the science of making up rules. any real mathematician will tell you that the main idea of math is to start with as few basic axioms as possible, and come up with the rules of the system that follows. see: euclidean geometry, arithmetic. where do the axioms come from? historically, from observing the real world, people saw integers, real numbers, and euclidean geometry. more recently (meaning euclid and a few other clever early dudes, but otherwise in the last 150, maybe 200 years), the axioms are pretty much completely made up. some of them are based on those early systems, integers and real numbers. but there are a multitude of mathematical systems, of all varieties, that have no real world counterpart. and thats what makes it fun.

as for division by zero, it gets us nowhere. the system of arithmetic and real numbers doesn't define division by zero, because that system is used for modeling the real world, where division by zero is meaningless. if you paid attention to the paragraph above, however, you should realize how easy it is to come up with a system where division by zero is clearly defined. my favorite example is the riemann sphere, which can be seen as an extension of the projective real line. of course, in ieee floating point, division by zero is very clearly defined. the result doesn't have a "value" but you can do it, and if you do, your plane doesnt crash.

in short, james anderson is an idiot. yes, i am basing this on my reading of the summary and (pointlessly vacuous) article. if only the video explanation weren't real format...

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (1)

## TheGuano (851573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142758)

Btw, am I the only person who thinks that a pacemaker or any kind of truly mission critical device that "attempts to divide by zero" will not "simply crash?" You'd figure there would be some kind of failsafe in the code that goes at least a step beyond the old B-Movie "THIS DOES NOT COMPUTE...OVERLOAD! OVERLOAD! ARGHHHH...."

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (3, Informative)

## Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142778)

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (4, Insightful)

## RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142786)

People take mathematical tools and models and apply them to the real world because they are useful. However, that usefulness is a lucky accident.

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (1)

## Tomfrh (719891) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142818)

I am the first to admit math has NEVER been my strong suitYeah?

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (5, Interesting)

## lexDysic (542023) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142842)

completely consistent with all the old ruleswhich allow us to understand a previously mysterious example. This is where "imaginary" numbers succeed tremendously, and "nullity" fails miserably. See my post downthread for why nullity sucks."Imaginary" numbers are just the "thingys" which are solutions to polynomials. I.e., mathematicians find it useful to have an answer to the question "for what values of x does x^2 + 1 = 0?" The answers are useful, even though they aren't good at measuring length or breadth or depth or other one-dimensional concepts. They're useful because they allow mathematicians to develop a theory which has answered questions which couldn't be answered before. This is true even though both the question and the answer both lie in the realm of real numbers.

Shouldthere be an answer to every question of this type that doesn't use complex numbers? Perhaps, but it certainly doesn't have to be pretty, or easy to discover. Often the shortest path to a "real" truth lies on an "imaginary" line.## Re:Imaginary Numbers (1)

## arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142926)

The best way to think of them is a number system perpendicular to the one based on 'real' numbers. This allows you to simplify the maths (or even make possible maths that wasn't possible before) when dealing with things like AC waves and phases. Engineers do similar tricks where they substitute a symbol in for a specific function.

It's sort of the mathematical version of using arrays, or variables, it's simply a way of representing 'the real world' in a simpler, more manageable way.

## Re:Imaginary Numbers (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142928)

-1 (natural, linear numbering) is really (-1, 0) or (-1 + 0i).

## Re: Limits Anyone? (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142668)

## Re: Limits Anyone? (4, Informative)

## poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142870)

You can only perform the substitution lim x->a f(x) = f(a) when f is continuous at a. f(x) = 1/x is (very trivially) not continous at a = 0.

Damnit, why is this sort of thing spilling over from sci.math now?

## The "nullity" Professor... (1)

## agent (7471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142672)

The Jesus cross in the symbol needs to be bigger!

My bank account is a "nullity".

## NaN (2, Insightful)

## allankim (558661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142674)

## Dividing by zero is not a "problem"...... (2, Insightful)

## ACAx1985 (989265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142676)

## Oh, God... (1, Insightful)

## creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142682)

(These old folks know how to scream!)

## Since when is this new? (1)

## Xeriar (456730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142684)

## testing, exception handling etc. (4, Insightful)

## bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142686)

This is computer programming ABC: you DONT allow undefined behavious to occur in your program! (especially if your doing MIL-STD Ada for avionics etc.) This guys 'method' is just a form of exception handling that any programmer with half-a-brain could implement.

## If it ain't broke, don't fix it (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142692)

This is a joke or they don't know what they're talking about--Pythagoras lived roughly 2500 years ago.

## Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it (1)

## creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142844)

## Bobby Newmark... (1)

## drapeau06 (1010311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142702)

## Sad, really... (5, Interesting)

## lexDysic (542023) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142708)

For just one example of why it sucks, he BEGINS by defining: (infinity) = 1/0 and (-infinity) = -1/0.

My conclusion: (0)*(infinity)=1

So 2*0*infinity = 2*1

So 2 = 2*0*infinity = (2*0)*infinity = 0*infinity = 1

And once you know that 2 != 1 and 2 =1, it turns out you can prove quite a bit...

Total nonsense, and the BBC is encouraging it. *shakes head* Although, I've got to say, it's nice, for once in my life, to

deservedlybe a smug American.## Re:Sad, really... (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142806)

I'm now ashamed to work for the BBC.

## Re:Sad, really... (2, Insightful)

## Rhinobird (151521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142884)

0*infinity=nullity

0 * infinitity becomes:

(0)*(1/0) becomes:

(0*1)/0 becomes:

0/0 = nullity

## Re:Sad, really... (1)

## sohare (1032056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142914)

1=1+(-1+1)+(-1+1)...=(1-1)+(1-1)+...=0

This is not a proof of anything precisely because the associative law doesn't necessarily apply to infinite sums. Infinities of any sort are strange in that manner, and so basically all of your algebra is.

Another good example is limits of sequences, which anyone that has ever taken a basic calculus course is familiar with. Suppose we have a sequence a_n=f(n)/g(n), then while lim as n->infinity might look like 0/0, but we can in fact take the derivative of both f(n) and g(n) and find something that isn't of the indeterminate form, and find the true limit.

## Now (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142716)

## Re:Now (1)

## Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142756)

## Finally! (0)

## Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142732)

## Nothing to see here, people... (5, Funny)

## Lord Aurora (969557) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142740)

Helpful little hint from the end of the video:

Yeah. It was that simple.

I'm just reminded of that proof from way-back-when that 2 = 1:

All this guy has done is provide another little fun "proof" that you can use to win bar bets. "Betcha I can divide by zero..."

## Re:Nothing to see here, people... (1)

## vinnythenose (214595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142922)

All you've done is said 2 * 0 = 1 * 0 then divided both sides by 0.

So this one "proof" can prove 2 = 1, 0 = 0, infinity = infinity and indeterminate = indeterminate.

AHH MY HEAD HURTS!!

Now to go on and prove that black is white and get killed in the next zebra crossing.

## I don't think he help the physicists (1)

## Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142746)

## Re:I don't think he help the physicists (1)

## Gil-galad55 (707960) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142782)

## I suspect (3, Interesting)

## the_tsi (19767) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142750)

## Even I knew this was wrong as a 10 year old (4, Insightful)

## joe_cot (1011355) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142784)

Read up on the definition of division [wikipedia.org] . If for a moment we ignore the "and the divisor is not 0" part of the definition, one of the basic principles of division is:

if a * b = c

then a / c = b, and b / c = a

A fundamental part of his explanation pivots on the following being true:

1/0 = infinity

-1/0 = -infinity

So, according to that, the following would hold:

if 1/0 = infinity

then infinity * 0 = 1

which does not work, for obvious reasons. This I told my teacher in 6th grade.

The

realidea is that, for an equation 1/x = y, yapproachesinfinity as xapproaches0. At x=0, y is undefined, and that's all there is to it.Secondly, the story promises one thing, and "delivers" another. It promises to tell you how to divide by 0, and instead tells you how to get 0^0 (which is based on the previously mentioned false premises). And the answer he gives on how to divide by 0 is that the answer is infinity, which it isn't! I'd fire the professor that has the gall of teaching this to kids (after probably being laughed out by his colleagues).

## New Definition (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142800)

## I can prove he's a Quack. (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142814)

minusinfinity.## Not just old, but wrong too (1)

## Jason Lind (683680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142816)

## Re:Not just old, but wrong too (1)

## MeanMF (631837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142850)

## Re:Not just old, but wrong too (1)

## 01arena (890407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142880)

## Re:Not just old, but wrong too (1)

## Xayma (892821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142888)

## Re:Not just old, but wrong too (1)

## Jason Lind (683680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142908)

## My computer can divide with 0. (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142824)

> 1/0

inf

> atan(1/0)*180/pi

90

I discovered that by accident - wrote a little 3D game, and after getting it to work, it occured to me that walking straight to the east (i.e. 90 degrees) would give me a direction vector of (1,0), which would then make the game calculate 1/0 to find out the angle. Huh? Why doesn't it crash? Let me just try a little test... atan(1/0)*180/pi (the *180/pi part is to get degrees): 90 degrees. So not only does it divide by zero just fine, it even does further calculations on the result, coming up with the correct angle.

Anyway, some people have mentioned that he probably didn't invent inf, but NaN. Nothing new about that either, but NaN does not allow further calculations (the result stays NaN), as the value as NaN is really undefined (where as inf has a defined (albeit abstract) value). Because x/x = 1, and 0/x = 0, the case of x=0 would give 0/0 = 0 and 1 at the same time. Can't do further calculations on that. So, basically he didn't invent any new math, he just came up with a new symbol for NaN. And started teaching it at a lower grade than usual.

Now, where is the "news for nerds" part? I would assume that most "nerds" are a least a little bit of math geeks, and thus, someone "inventing" NaN shouldn't be news at all.

## So... (1)

## frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142852)

## Suggestion. Mod me offtopic but heck (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142876)

2. All editors post there.

3. Let the mod system also turn some readers into editors for a short while.

## What about l'Hopital? (2, Insightful)

## rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142892)

I.e., it may well be that 0/0=a where a has a definite value? After all, any derivative is dy/dx=0/0.

That means to me that 0/0 is *really* undefined - may be this or that, depending on the circumstances; more information is needed, and assigning a specific symbol to it doesn't make much sense in the general case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L'H%C3%B4pital's_rul

## Awesome! (2, Informative)

## derubergeek (594673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142898)

This fantastic new math is also helpful in solving this intractable problem: http://mcraefamily.com/MathHelp/JokeProofFactoring .htm [mcraefamily.com]

How cool is that?

Seriously, it's hard to take someone like this seriously when he uses ignorant scare tactics such as his autopilot example. Either he's performing self aggrandizing hand waving, or he really is completely ignorant about the real world. Trust me - we do account for division by zero in autopilot systems. And - believe it or not - not only does the computer not "stop working" but we actually get a result back. It's called NaN [wikipedia.org] . Furthermore, not only are our systems built with robust libraries that allow us to carry on (no pun intended) we also write downstream code to mitigate propagation of these types of errors. [see Celarier, Sando [acm.org] for a good example of this].

## No, he didn't solve it (0)

## Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142904)

It's like saying.. what's beyond the end of the universe? Nobody knows.

Oh, wait, I do! It's "schmullity".

Yup, now we know what's beyond the universe's borders. No need to investigate any further.

## Nothing new here (1)

## Neeth (887729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142906)

"Here you see the pattern from which my great work is derived. It expresses the symbolic significance of NULLITY to which TOTALITY must necessarily attach itself, by Kratinjae's Second Law of Cryptorrhoid Affinities, with which you are possibly familiar."

## Oooo... Actual papers! (1)

## realbadjuju (870896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142910)

## it's another imaginary number (1)

## gogodidi (885953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142920)