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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, 09:00 PM   #16
xvicente
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Re: Division By Zero

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
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.
nonsense. A present day supercomputer cant give an answer for that any better than a calculator made in 1970 or a pencil+paper in this case. There is no division by zero. Not trillions of calculations, not one. End of story.
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Old May 28 2013, 09:41 PM   #17
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
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.
Chensams wrote: View Post
I'm not math wiz but sense when does 49/0 = infinity? It's a meaningless number.
I was just throwing out a number, guys. I didn't mean that infinity was actually the answer to this. My point, again, is that maybe 24th century understanding would have something more to say about division by zero.
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Old May 28 2013, 09:43 PM   #18
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

xvicente wrote: View Post
Captain McBain wrote: View Post
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.
nonsense. A present day supercomputer cant give an answer for that any better than a calculator made in 1970 or a pencil+paper in this case. There is no division by zero. Not trillions of calculations, not one. End of story.
And yet thousands of years ago there was math not yet understood which would've seemed impossible to those people. The concept of zero might be more understood in the 24th century than it is now.
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Old May 28 2013, 09:48 PM   #19
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

Still, it doesn't mean that Data would be the best source, though. He doesn't know everything, he just assimilates knowledge faster than humans. There's no reason to think the concepts of 24th century mathematics would be above Riker's head, or Worf's, for that matter.
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Old May 28 2013, 09:51 PM   #20
jimbotron
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Location: Bay Area, CA
Re: Division By Zero

I found this video relevant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRRolKTlF6Q
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Old May 28 2013, 09:55 PM   #21
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Still, it doesn't mean that Data would be the best source, though. He doesn't know everything, he just assimilates knowledge faster than humans. There's no reason to think the concepts of 24th century mathematics would be above Riker's head, or Worf's, for that matter.
Yes, it's certainly possible that Riker and Worf are mathematically gifted. But if you had a choice to go to either Data or Riker and Worf for math assistance, whom would you choose? It'd be like me choosing an $8 calculator to try and do complex equations rather than seeking help from various websites, etc.

Data doesn't know everything, but it seems impossible to me that he wouldn't understand calculus. If there are people living today who are experts in calculus, I don't know how Data couldn't be. Especially since calculus is still very much revelant in the 24th century.
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Old May 28 2013, 09:57 PM   #22
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

So, your question boils down to "Does Data know mathematics?"

Yes. Yes, he does.

Not much else to say on the topic, is there?
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Old May 28 2013, 10:32 PM   #23
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

That wasn't my original question, of course. My original question was a speculative one on what our knowledge of zero may or may not be in the 24th century. Perhaps our knowledge will be the same as it is now.
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Old May 28 2013, 10:38 PM   #24
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

Which is an interesting question, but your insistence on bringing Data into the mix, as if he was of particular importance to the question, was very confusing.

Will there be new mathematical developments by the 24th century? Probably. Will dividing by zero be meaningful in the 24th century? I doubt it.
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Old May 29 2013, 03:23 AM   #25
Captain McBain
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Re: Division By Zero

I mentioned Data because he's my favorite character, and, in my opinion, he's probably better versed at various forms of mathematics than most humanoids. Maybe I should have rephrased the question to ask whether Data could explain division by zero, which is much different, of course, than merely knowing that dividing by zero yields some sort of definite answer.
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Old May 29 2013, 03:59 AM   #26
jimbotron
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Re: Division By Zero

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
That wasn't my original question, of course. My original question was a speculative one on what our knowledge of zero may or may not be in the 24th century. Perhaps our knowledge will be the same as it is now.
That presupposes that the answer is "unknown". The answer is known - there is no answer.
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Old May 29 2013, 05:55 AM   #27
Tiberius
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Re: Division By Zero

How would Data be able to divide by zero unless the rules of mathematics have changed?

It's not like we are just waiting to discover some new number or something before we can answer it.
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Old May 29 2013, 07:23 AM   #28
Lt. Uhura-Brown
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Location: New Zealand
Re: Division By Zero

49/0 would be infinity to the 49th power. Because it makes just as much sense.
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Old May 29 2013, 05:04 PM   #29
Pavonis
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Re: Division By Zero

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
Maybe I should have rephrased the question to ask whether Data could explain division by zero, ....
So, you're really wondering what kind of teacher Data would be?

In the possible future of "All Good Things...", Data held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University, so make of that what you will.

As for explaining division by zero, well, there's just nothing to explain. It's an undefined operation, because it's meaningless.
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Old May 29 2013, 05:11 PM   #30
Marsden
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Re: Division By Zero

Well, what's the square root of -1?

Tom Paris probably used it in his magic salamander shuttle.
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