## Re: numbers???

Subject: Re: numbers???
From: Steve Fouts <sfouts -at- ELLISON -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1993 11:56:51 CDT

|}
|} Hello. Can anyone help me with guidelines for when to use the words
|} "number," "integer," "digit," and the like. I find this very confusing.
|} I am corrected often by scientific types around here that really know
|} the proper meanings/uses of these words, and I'd like to clear it up.
|} Websters is not much help on this score.
|}
|} Thanks,
|}
|} --Jill
|}

IEEE Standard Glossary of Mathmatics of Computing Terminology;
ANSI/IEEE Std 1084-1986

Integer: A positive or negative whole number including zero.

Steve's comment: This one will get you in to trouble with programmers.
In virtually every computing language that has such
a type definition, this is a reserved data type and
as such should not be used as a generic. The generic
might be "integral number" but ANSI/IEEE is not clear.

number: A mathematical abstraction indicating a quantity or amount.

Steve's comment: Since this is an abstraction, don't use it in a
specific sense. Don't say, "Enter a number between
one and ten," when you need an integer between one
and ten. Pi is a number between one and ten, and
so is 5/3.

digit: A character used to represent one of the non-negative integers smaller
than the radix. For example, in decimal notation, one of the characters
0 to 9.

Steve's comment: This is a VERY important distinction in CS. The letter
"A" is a digit when the base is 16 (hexadecimal). Not
to mention the fact that the "number" 819 contains
three digits.

Got any more? This is more fun than real work.

Later,
Steve
******************** Steve Fouts
* _ ___ * sfouts -at- ellison -dot- sc -dot- ti -dot- com
* ( |____| *
* _ /\ |\ _ * "a little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of
* / / \ _| \ \ * explanation."
* ( * ) \/_|__* ) * --H. H. Munro
* \_/ _/ \_/ * <Boilerplate disclaimer here>
********************

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