Division By Zero

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Captain McBain, May 28, 2013.

  1. 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?
     
  2. xvicente

    xvicente Captain Captain

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    I dont know about Data, but my calculator says "E"
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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?
     
  7. 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?
     
  8. trekker670

    trekker670 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  9. 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.
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  11. trekker670

    trekker670 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.


    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.
     
  12. I think you could be right here.
     
  13. 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.
     
  14. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  15. Chensams

    Chensams Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    xvicente Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  17. 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.
     
  18. 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.
     
  19. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  20. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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