Division by Zero (Please, no new threads about this)
Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates
Division by Zero (Please, no new threads about this)
First off, I'd like to say that I recall there being a math section here when I joined. When I went to post this no math section... so I just decided to put it here. Sorry if it's in the wrong place.
Anyway.. I'm a high school student, so my knowledge is limited.
I've been thinking about this:
0/0 = ?
The way I was taught fractions was that 0 / anything = 0.
However, I was also taught that anything / 0 = undefined/no solution/whatever.
And of course I was taught that anything over itself is 1.
So I was wondering, since all the people here seem to be of a higher intelligence level than I, which one of those is the actual solution to 0/0?
Anyway.. I'm a high school student, so my knowledge is limited.
I've been thinking about this:
0/0 = ?
The way I was taught fractions was that 0 / anything = 0.
However, I was also taught that anything / 0 = undefined/no solution/whatever.
And of course I was taught that anything over itself is 1.
So I was wondering, since all the people here seem to be of a higher intelligence level than I, which one of those is the actual solution to 0/0?
 Alisto
 Crazy like a BOX!
 Posts: 3998
 Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:14 pm UTC
 Location: South Jersey
 Contact:
Doesn't exist/undefined. Here's proof:
1x0 = 2x0
0/0 = 1/2 = 2/1 Obviously not possible if 0/0 = 1 or 0.
1x0 = 2x0
0/0 = 1/2 = 2/1 Obviously not possible if 0/0 = 1 or 0.
Bad grammar makes me [sic].
Crazy like a BOX!
<Jauss> Because karaoke, especially karaoke + lesbians = Alisto, amirite?
<rachel> Old people ain't got shit to do but look at clocks.
Crazy like a BOX!
<Jauss> Because karaoke, especially karaoke + lesbians = Alisto, amirite?
<rachel> Old people ain't got shit to do but look at clocks.
 damienthebloody
 the most metal thing EVER
 Posts: 2370
 Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:25 pm UTC
 Location: under a rock
SargeZT wrote:Or Nullity. Let's go with that.
if you use that word again, i'm going to get very upset. you wouldn't like me when i'm upset.
German Sausage wrote:Is that an EMP in your pants, or are you just outraged by my sexist behaviour?
Dance like you're stamping on a human face forever.liza wrote:When life gives you a wife made of salt, make margaritas?

 Posts: 309
 Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:27 am UTC
 3.14159265...
 Irrational (?)
 Posts: 2413
 Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:05 am UTC
 Location: Ajax, Canada
 Gelsamel
 Lame and emo
 Posts: 8237
 Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:49 am UTC
 Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Shadowfish wrote:This forum is amazing. I saw this topic on another forum, and it took 5 pages of fierce debate before the people who though 0/0=1 gave up.
Just don't post a 0.999... = 1 topic on that forum, and you'll be fine.
"Give up here?"
 > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
 > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
 > No
"Is it all pointless?"
 > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
 > No
 > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
 > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
 > No
"Is it all pointless?"
 > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
 > No

 Posts: 309
 Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:27 am UTC
Re: 0/0?
Architect wrote:So I was wondering, since all the people here seem to be of a higher intelligence level than I, which one of those is the actual solution to 0/0?
The problem with evaluating a statement as simple as 0/0 is that we don't know how big or how small the zeros are relative to each other (I'm not kidding here!) The idea here is that 0/0 is in indeterminate form. Basically, saying 0/0 isn't really enough information to get an answer (just saying this gives us an undefined answer). However, (you'll probably learn this if you take a calculus class) if 0/0 is the answer you get when evaluating a particular expression, there may indeed exist a definite limit that the function converges to. To find it we generally use L'Hopital's(sp?) rule to take the derivative of both the numerator and the denominator and then evaluate the result.
I believe a previous poster mentioned lim(x > 0) [x/x]. Simply "pluggingin" 0 for x gives us 0/0. Using L'Hopital's rule and taking the derivative of top and bottom gives us lim(x > 0) [1/1] which is indeed 1. A caveat, however, is that just as 0/0 can equal 1, it can also equal 0, infinity, 42, or just about any other value. That's why we call 0/0 an indeterminate form. There are also a variety of others too, such as infinity/infinity or 0^infinity (check the wikipedia article for the others). This, my friend, is what makes calculus (well math in general) so much fun
 Owijad
 1000 posts and still no title
 Posts: 1625
 Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:07 pm UTC
 Location: Masachoosits
 Contact:
Shadowfish wrote:This forum is amazing. I saw this topic on another forum, and it took 5 pages of fierce debate before the people who though 0/0=1 gave up.
I'm perfectly willing to fabricate controversy if you'd like.
And if you win you get this shiny fiddle made of gold,
But if you lose, the devil gets your sould!
But if you lose, the devil gets your sould!
 Akira
 The Enemy's Gate Is Down. Sugoi desu ne!
 Posts: 2510
 Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:58 am UTC
 Location: Earth, unfortunately.
 Contact:
Owijad wrote:Shadowfish wrote:This forum is amazing. I saw this topic on another forum, and it took 5 pages of fierce debate before the people who though 0/0=1 gave up.
I'm perfectly willing to fabricate controversy if you'd like.
Fabrication of controversy is all well and good, but it appears as though the logical arguments have been presented. Further discussion is simply going to be rehashing the equation and rewording the argument.
Nothing will be accomplished.
Except I'll get to put off going to bed later and later until I can't wake up for school tomorrow morning.
 thefiddler
 The Fora's Prophetess
 Posts: 4040
 Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:07 am UTC
 Location: Themiddleofbumfucknowhere
 Alisto
 Crazy like a BOX!
 Posts: 3998
 Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:14 pm UTC
 Location: South Jersey
 Contact:
Re: 0/0?
Shadowfish wrote:The megatokyo fora. I hung out there a few years ago. I wish I could remember the arguments.
Enough said. I think I hung out there at the same time.
mattmacf wrote:Indeterminate form stuff
Way to ruin the party. Besides, indeterminate forms only apply to limits. Algebraically, which is what it seems like he was asking about, it's simply undefined. :p
Bad grammar makes me [sic].
Crazy like a BOX!
<Jauss> Because karaoke, especially karaoke + lesbians = Alisto, amirite?
<rachel> Old people ain't got shit to do but look at clocks.
Crazy like a BOX!
<Jauss> Because karaoke, especially karaoke + lesbians = Alisto, amirite?
<rachel> Old people ain't got shit to do but look at clocks.
There is no solution. The expression is undefined if we are talking about real numbers.
I became quite angry when I read that article where the smug bastard introduced his madeup word "nullity" like he was some kind of brilliant mathematical genius. He was clearly trying to define a new set of numbers with not even a scratch of the theory required for such an undertaking, and his ignorance was painful.
There's a good article that pretty much showcases his incompetence here:
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/British_com ... ematicians
(No, I'm not a mathematician. I gave up on that when I realized that "only minor difficulties understanding integral calculus" means "nowhere near good enough to pursue serious mathematics.")
I became quite angry when I read that article where the smug bastard introduced his madeup word "nullity" like he was some kind of brilliant mathematical genius. He was clearly trying to define a new set of numbers with not even a scratch of the theory required for such an undertaking, and his ignorance was painful.
There's a good article that pretty much showcases his incompetence here:
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/British_com ... ematicians
(No, I'm not a mathematician. I gave up on that when I realized that "only minor difficulties understanding integral calculus" means "nowhere near good enough to pursue serious mathematics.")
I will not succumb to evil, unless she's cute.
 apricity
 almost grownup but not quite
 Posts: 3983
 Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:28 am UTC
 Location: Probably North Dakota or something
I think it's more fun as a word problem: Divide nothing into no groups. Oh look, you're done!
I think that in that case, the answer is "zen." (I'm referencing Ozy and Millie if nobody got that )
I think that in that case, the answer is "zen." (I'm referencing Ozy and Millie if nobody got that )
LE4d wrote:have you considered becoming an electron
it takes just a little practice to learn to be
(she/her/hers)
(she/her/hers)
 bitwiseshiftleft
 Posts: 295
 Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:07 am UTC
 Location: Stanford
 Contact:
Shoot, you can just type this into your favorite programming language or math tool...
See? It's Not a Number!
Amusingly, Google just does a normal web search if you enter a calculation that would divide by zero. This is true for other undefined things too, like csc(pi). Google's fine telling you what csc(pi/2) is...
ghci wrote:Prelude> 0/0
NaN
See? It's Not a Number!
Amusingly, Google just does a normal web search if you enter a calculation that would divide by zero. This is true for other undefined things too, like csc(pi). Google's fine telling you what csc(pi/2) is...
 Cosmologicon
 Posts: 1806
 Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 9:47 am UTC
 Location: Cambridge MA USA
 Contact:
Re: 0/0?
mattmacf wrote:The problem with evaluating a statement as simple as 0/0 is that we don't know how big or how small the zeros are relative to each other (I'm not kidding here!) The idea here is that 0/0 is in indeterminate form. Basically, saying 0/0 isn't really enough information to get an answer (just saying this gives us an undefined answer).
Be that as it may, 0^0 is an indeterminate form that we usually define to be 1, with good reason.
 parallax
 Posts: 157
 Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:06 pm UTC
 Location: The Emergency Intelligence Incinerator
The division operator is not defined when the divisor is zero. And try not to be tricked by 1/0 = infinity. It's not true. That's just shorthand for saying "If the number you're dividing by gets smaller and smaller, then the quotient will get bigger and bigger."
"0/0" is a meaningless term. It has about as much mathematical meaning as "2 + apple".
"0/0" is a meaningless term. It has about as much mathematical meaning as "2 + apple".
 skeptical scientist
 closedminded spiritualist
 Posts: 6142
 Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:09 am UTC
 Location: San Francisco
Re: 0/0?
Cosmologicon wrote:mattmacf wrote:The problem with evaluating a statement as simple as 0/0 is that we don't know how big or how small the zeros are relative to each other (I'm not kidding here!) The idea here is that 0/0 is in indeterminate form. Basically, saying 0/0 isn't really enough information to get an answer (just saying this gives us an undefined answer).
Be that as it may, 0^0 is an indeterminate form that we usually define to be 1, with good reason.
I don't know if I agree with this. It's an indeterminate form in the context of limits, and it's defined to be 1 in the context of the empty product, which are two very different situations (one is looking at the limit where the exponent is a very small number, and one is only assigning meaning to integer exponents). Either it is an indeterminate form, or it is defined to be 1, but not both.
I'm looking forward to the day when the SNES emulator on my computer works by emulating the elementary particles in an actual, physical box with Nintendo stamped on the side.
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
 Cosmologicon
 Posts: 1806
 Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 9:47 am UTC
 Location: Cambridge MA USA
 Contact:
Re: 0/0?
skeptical scientist wrote:Cosmologicon wrote:0^0 is an indeterminate form that we usually define to be 1, with good reason.
I don't know if I agree with this. It's an indeterminate form in the context of limits, and it's defined to be 1 in the context of the empty product, which are two very different situations (one is looking at the limit where the exponent is a very small number, and one is only assigning meaning to integer exponents).
No, evaluating the empty product isn't the only time it's handy to define 0^0 = 1. The most obvious is the binomial theorem, which actually works fine for noninteger exponents, even though this fact isn't usually mentioned. It comes up in calculus too. For instance, how would you write the power series for exp(x) in sigma notation? Most people would answer Sum x^n/n!, n = 0...infinity, rather than 1 + Sum x^n/n!, n = 1...infinity.
Of course, defining 0^0 doesn't let you do anything that you can't do in a more cumbersome way by not defining it, but the same is true with 0!, sqrt(1), and even 2 + 3.
 parallax
 Posts: 157
 Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:06 pm UTC
 Location: The Emergency Intelligence Incinerator
"0^0=1" is a perfectly valid statement and it's the usual definition because it remains consistent with most of number theory. It does require that you tiptoe around some of the usual properties of ^ as statements like "0^0 = 0^1 * 0^1" are obviously meaningless, but it's not any worse than "1/0 * 0 = 1".
0^0 is also considered an indeterminate form in calculus because the function x^y is not continuous at (0,0). Thus, when evaluating the limit "lim (x,y)>(0,0) x^y", it is incorrect to say that the limit is 0^0 or 1. The term indeterminate form should only be used when refering to limits.
So, 0^0 can be defined to be 1 and be an indeterminate form at the same time.
0^0 is also considered an indeterminate form in calculus because the function x^y is not continuous at (0,0). Thus, when evaluating the limit "lim (x,y)>(0,0) x^y", it is incorrect to say that the limit is 0^0 or 1. The term indeterminate form should only be used when refering to limits.
So, 0^0 can be defined to be 1 and be an indeterminate form at the same time.
 skeptical scientist
 closedminded spiritualist
 Posts: 6142
 Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:09 am UTC
 Location: San Francisco
Re: 0/0?
Cosmologicon wrote:For instance, how would you write the power series for exp(x) in sigma notation? Most people would answer Sum x^n/n!, n = 0...infinity, rather than 1 + Sum x^n/n!, n = 1...infinity.
Hmm, that's a good point. Although I would probably just write 1+x+x^2/2+x^3/3!+.... I've never really thought about that before. I guess I naturally just remove removable discontinuities. For example, if f(x)=e^(1/x^2), then for me f(0)=0, although strictly speaking it should be undefined unless you've defined it using a piecewise construction. But it seems to me that when you're defining 0^0=1 in that sum you're not doing it because an indeterminant form is 1, you're doing it because this particular instance of the indeterminant form arises from taking the limit of x^0 as x approaches 0, which is obviously 1. You're not saying "we define the indeterminant form 0^0 to be 1", which would be silly, since it's an indeterminant form.
I think I was confused because it seemed you were saying that "in most cases we define all instances of this indeterminant form to be 1", but what you were really saying was "in most cases we define this indeterminant form to take on its limit, which is usually 1 when it arises", which is true since if you look at the limit of f(x)^g(x) as x tends to x_0, and f(x_0)=g(x_0)=0, you will get 1 if f and g are analytic, and f is not identically 0, which is usually the case in practice.
I'm looking forward to the day when the SNES emulator on my computer works by emulating the elementary particles in an actual, physical box with Nintendo stamped on the side.
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
"With math, all things are possible." —Rebecca Watson
 TheTankengine
 Our Forafather
 Posts: 3328
 Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:09 pm UTC
 Location: Louisville, KY
 Contact:
 Alisto
 Crazy like a BOX!
 Posts: 3998
 Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:14 pm UTC
 Location: South Jersey
 Contact:
0 = no, 1 = yes
No = negative, 1 = positive
Therefore 0 = negative, 1 = positive
negative/negative = positive
0/0 = 1
QED
No = negative, 1 = positive
Therefore 0 = negative, 1 = positive
negative/negative = positive
0/0 = 1
QED
Bad grammar makes me [sic].
Crazy like a BOX!
<Jauss> Because karaoke, especially karaoke + lesbians = Alisto, amirite?
<rachel> Old people ain't got shit to do but look at clocks.
Crazy like a BOX!
<Jauss> Because karaoke, especially karaoke + lesbians = Alisto, amirite?
<rachel> Old people ain't got shit to do but look at clocks.
 3.14159265...
 Irrational (?)
 Posts: 2413
 Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:05 am UTC
 Location: Ajax, Canada
 Puellus Peregrinus
 Sazl. Eliuo Sazl.
 Posts: 258
 Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:57 pm UTC
 Location: Tampere, Finland
Another reason that 0^0 is usually taken to be 1 is so that we can have:
A^B=A^B for any sets A and B (A^B is defined as the set of all functions from B to A),
since there is exactly one function from {} to {}.
As for 0/0, I wonder why I've never thought of the apple analogy... it's good! If one really thinks about it, it shows why the answer can be anything: How many apples will each get? Any number, of course! There are no people, so it is vacuously true that each of them gets, say, 5 apples.
Usually, I resort to an argument along the lines of: Start counting multiples of 0 aloud (starting with 1 times 0). You may choose to stop counting, but only if the last number you said was "0". Suppose you've stopped counting. How many multiples have you counted?
A^B=A^B for any sets A and B (A^B is defined as the set of all functions from B to A),
since there is exactly one function from {} to {}.
As for 0/0, I wonder why I've never thought of the apple analogy... it's good! If one really thinks about it, it shows why the answer can be anything: How many apples will each get? Any number, of course! There are no people, so it is vacuously true that each of them gets, say, 5 apples.
Usually, I resort to an argument along the lines of: Start counting multiples of 0 aloud (starting with 1 times 0). You may choose to stop counting, but only if the last number you said was "0". Suppose you've stopped counting. How many multiples have you counted?
 cmacis
 Posts: 754
 Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 5:22 pm UTC
 Location: Leeds or Bradford, Thessex
 Contact:
Not defined, but you can get some interesting nonsense by playing around with division by zero.
Don't be too hard on those who try; some of the greats used 1/0=infinity so infinity/0=1.
Don't be too hard on those who try; some of the greats used 1/0=infinity so infinity/0=1.
li te'o te'a vei pai pi'i ka'o ve'o su'i pa du li no
Mathematician is a function mapping tea onto theorems. Sadly this function is irreversible.
QED is Latin for small empty box.
Ceci nâ€™est pas une [s]pipe[/s] signature.
Mathematician is a function mapping tea onto theorems. Sadly this function is irreversible.
QED is Latin for small empty box.
Ceci nâ€™est pas une [s]pipe[/s] signature.
One way to 'divide by zero' is redefine arithmetic to work on sets of numbers.
{1} + {2} = {3}
{1,2} + {3,4} = {4,5,6}
etc.
So {1}/{0} = {}, {0} / {0} = R, {} / {} = {}
But of course this is nothing like normal arithmetic and we've just avoided the problem by changing the system we work with. For an example of how this is not like normal arithmetic: there exists an X such that for all A, A + X = X (similar to 0*A = 0): X = the empty set. {} + A = {}. Also, A / B * B might not be A: ({1} / {}) * {} = {}, ({1} / {0}) * {0} = {}, ({1}*{0}) / {0} = R.
{1} + {2} = {3}
{1,2} + {3,4} = {4,5,6}
etc.
So {1}/{0} = {}, {0} / {0} = R, {} / {} = {}
But of course this is nothing like normal arithmetic and we've just avoided the problem by changing the system we work with. For an example of how this is not like normal arithmetic: there exists an X such that for all A, A + X = X (similar to 0*A = 0): X = the empty set. {} + A = {}. Also, A / B * B might not be A: ({1} / {}) * {} = {}, ({1} / {0}) * {0} = {}, ({1}*{0}) / {0} = R.
Don't pay attention to this signature, it's contradictory.
I dont think 0/0 can equal one I think it just stays as 0 just like any other number times 0. I mean think about if I have 0 apples and divide them ammongst 0 people do they each get 1? if you assume N/0 = infinity or N/x approaches infinity as x approaches 0. Since the rate at which it approaches infinity is proportional to N you can say N/0 = N times infinity. Then you can simplify 0/0 to zero times infinity.
The way I see that is each block is infinitly large and goes on forever. However you dont have any blocks so you still dont have anything. Or each box contains absolutely nothing and you may have an infinite number of them, but there is still nothing there.
so 0/0 = 0 if you can agree that N/0 = N times infinity.
The way I see that is each block is infinitly large and goes on forever. However you dont have any blocks so you still dont have anything. Or each box contains absolutely nothing and you may have an infinite number of them, but there is still nothing there.
so 0/0 = 0 if you can agree that N/0 = N times infinity.
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests