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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old May 28 2013, 06:40 PM   #1
Captain McBain
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Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Division By Zero

Division by 0, at least according to our modern-day knowledge, is impossible. Do you think Data would know what 49/0 is equal to?
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Old May 28 2013, 07:00 PM   #2
xvicente
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Re: Division By Zero

I dont know about Data, but my calculator says "E"
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Old May 28 2013, 07:05 PM   #3
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

Yes, the good old error message. But Data is much more advanced than a hand-held calculator. His trillions of calculations per second may just provide him with a little more insight into the question than we humans could ever hope for.
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Old May 28 2013, 07:16 PM   #4
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

You're kidding, right? Data's no mere calculator, and he's not susceptible to Kirk-esque "logic bombs". He'd correctly say it is undefined.
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Old May 28 2013, 07:18 PM   #5
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

No, I wasn't kidding. My thought was that in the 24th century, mathematical knowledge (especially for an android) might be way greater than what we understand today.
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Old May 28 2013, 07:20 PM   #6
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

Then why ask specifically about Data? If there's a new definition of mathematics in the 24th century, surely anyone would be as knowledgable as Data. Why not ask if Riker would know?
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Old May 28 2013, 07:27 PM   #7
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

Because Data's knowledge of mathematics is certainly greater than Riker's or most other humanoids. I mean, do you really think that Riker, Deanna Troi, or Worf could explain advanced calculus as well as Data?
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Old May 28 2013, 07:32 PM   #8
trekker670
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Re: Division By Zero

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
I mean, do you really think that Riker, Deanna Troi, or Worf could explain advanced calculus as well as Data?
One could argue that they could explain it much better than Data could, since advanced mathematics is likely trivial to an advanced technological lifeform, whereas a humanoid with limited knowledge who themselves had to learn such skills would be able to relate better with the subject to whom they're trying to teach.
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Old May 28 2013, 07:35 PM   #9
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

Yeah, I really don't see how advanced mathematics could be 'trivial' to an android, when Data consistently showed throughout the series an ability to do complex math in his head. Saying that a human would be more familiar with calculus or science than Data seems pretty farfetched.
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Old May 28 2013, 07:38 PM   #10
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

Seeing as some pre-teen children learn calculus in TNG, and humans in real life already learn and use complex calculus, it is not at all unreasonable to assume any Starfleet officer should have a grasp of simple calculus. And if they've defined division by zero, then Riker or Worf would know about it just as well as Data would.
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Old May 28 2013, 07:41 PM   #11
trekker670
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Re: Division By Zero

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
I really don't see how advanced mathematics could be 'trivial' to an android, when Data consistently showed throughout the series an ability to do complex math in his head
Since the mathematical definition of trivial is "simple, or immediately evident," I believe you just proved my point that complex math is indeed trivial (or at the least nearly trivial) to Data.


Captain McBain wrote: View Post
Saying that a human would be more familiar with calculus or science than Data seems pretty farfetched.
More familiar or better at math or science, no absolutely not. Better able to teach it to someone else, absolutely.

Have you ever had a math or science teacher that found the topics simple and talked over the students' heads? I believe Data attempting to teach it to someone else would be quite similar.
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Old May 28 2013, 08:09 PM   #12
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

trekker670 wrote: View Post
Captain McBain wrote: View Post
I really don't see how advanced mathematics could be 'trivial' to an android, when Data consistently showed throughout the series an ability to do complex math in his head
Since the mathematical definition of trivial is "simple, or immediately evident," I believe you just proved my point that complex math is indeed trivial (or at the least nearly trivial) to Data.


Captain McBain wrote: View Post
Saying that a human would be more familiar with calculus or science than Data seems pretty farfetched.
More familiar or better at math or science, no absolutely not. Better able to teach it to someone else, absolutely.

Have you ever had a math or science teacher that found the topics simple and talked over the students' heads? I believe Data attempting to teach it to someone else would be quite similar.
I think you could be right here.
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Old May 28 2013, 08:12 PM   #13
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Seeing as some pre-teen children learn calculus in TNG, and humans in real life already learn and use complex calculus, it is not at all unreasonable to assume any Starfleet officer should have a grasp of simple calculus. And if they've defined division by zero, then Riker or Worf would know about it just as well as Data would.
I'm not saying they wouldn't have a grasp of calculus. I'm sure most of the adults (if not all) on Picard's ship have some grasp of calculus. But that doesn't mean they understand it perfectly. Data does understand calculus completely, without question. If he didn't then I'd be really surprised.

Also, Riker and Worf may know that 49/0 = infinity, or whatever, but to understand in depth, why this is the case, may not be something they are capable of.
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Old May 28 2013, 08:21 PM   #14
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

It was not clear that you were asking about depth of knowledge, just that you were wondering if Data would know. Well, yes, he would, but so might Riker or Worf.

And division by zero is just undefined. Think about it - how do you divide a number of objects between zero people? You can't. It's not infinity, it's meaningless.
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Old May 28 2013, 08:47 PM   #15
Chensams
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Re: Division By Zero

I'm not math wiz but sense when does 49/0 = infinity? It's a meaningless number.
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