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April 14th, 2017, 04:56 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Apr 2017 From: australia Posts: 4 Thanks: 0  0/0 Indeterminate or undefined?
I was reading something earlier today on Quora where someone said that 0/0 is not equal to indeterminate. Are they right?

April 14th, 2017, 05:04 PM  #2 
Math Team Joined: Jul 2011 From: Texas Posts: 2,750 Thanks: 1400 
A limit may be indeterminate. A function is either defined or undefined over an interval(s). ... 0/0 depends on context. 
April 14th, 2017, 05:18 PM  #3 
Newbie Joined: Apr 2017 From: australia Posts: 4 Thanks: 0 
ahh ok, I think I'm getting it now. I've always thought there was big difference between 0/0 and nonzero/0. The former could have an infinite number of results whereas the latter there is no result.

April 14th, 2017, 06:49 PM  #4 
Senior Member Joined: May 2016 From: USA Posts: 1,028 Thanks: 420 
I would prefer to say that, speaking informally, nonzero over zero never has a finite result and that zero over zero sometimes has a finite result that can be determined with additional information. The above formulation is not strictly correct, but it explains the difference in usage between "undefined" and "indeterminate." Under standard analysis of the real numbers, anything over zero is undefined (meaning not a real number); the limit of nonzero over zero is never a real number, but in some cases the limit of zero over zero is a real number. In analysis, there is a big difference between the value of a function at a point and the value of its limit at a point. Last edited by JeffM1; April 14th, 2017 at 06:52 PM. 
April 15th, 2017, 04:07 AM  #5 
Newbie Joined: Apr 2017 From: australia Posts: 4 Thanks: 0 
This is the question below I was reading: https://www.quora.com/Isindetermina...withundefined And in the back a forth this slideshare paper is mentioned: https://www.slideshare.net/MrInderer...withundefined Like, it makes a case for something that I've thought for years to be the case. Now, I'm not going to drink the cool aid and say I support the conclusion, but yea its pretty compelling to me. What do I need to read up on to get why this conclusion is wrong? 
April 15th, 2017, 04:24 AM  #6 
Math Team Joined: Dec 2013 From: Colombia Posts: 7,305 Thanks: 2443 Math Focus: Mainly analysis and algebra 
That slideshare is nonsense. Only the title is accurate. There are some accurate ideas behind what appears in the slides, but they have been mangled into inaccuracy. Whether this is because the author doesn't understand or whether it is because the are trying to oversimplify the ideas is hard to say. You need to understand the theory of limits for "indeterminate" to make sense. Not that nothing is "equal to indeterminate" nor is anything "equal to undefined". It's like saying that "Everest is equal to tall". As a rule of thumb, anyone that turns to a dictionary definition in writing about mathematics doesn't understand mathematics. Mathematics provides its own, technical definitions of words. They have a specific meaning in a specific context. 
April 15th, 2017, 03:07 PM  #7 
Newbie Joined: Apr 2017 From: australia Posts: 4 Thanks: 0 
Yea, Merriam Webster was clearly a poor reference choice on the part of the author. However, after looking at the Wolfram definitions: 1. a numerical quantity whose magnitude cannot be determine. 2. returned when a value cannot be unambiguously defined. Indeterminateâ€”Wolfram Language Documentation It appears the authors assertion that the lack of a unique answer for 0/0 as being the reason for the indeterminate label is a correct one. Though maybe Wolfram is wrong too!! What reference should I look at? 
April 16th, 2017, 05:14 AM  #8 
Math Team Joined: Dec 2013 From: Colombia Posts: 7,305 Thanks: 2443 Math Focus: Mainly analysis and algebra 
Wolfram is probably reliable, although the title looks like a language reference link rather than a mathematical dictionary. Your definitions will come in the text you use to study. Wikipedia is usually reliable too. I didn't say that the author's definition wasn't more or less accurate for the word. Most mathematical definitions do bear some resemblance to the natural language definition for obvious reasons. But you wouldn't trust definitions of English words taken from a Spanish dictionary, so why trust definitions of Mathematical words from an English dictionary? 
April 17th, 2017, 11:40 AM  #9  
Senior Member Joined: Jun 2015 From: England Posts: 820 Thanks: 243 
Here is a nice quote on the subject. Quote:
Last edited by studiot; April 17th, 2017 at 11:44 AM.  
April 17th, 2017, 12:01 PM  #10 
Math Team Joined: Dec 2013 From: Colombia Posts: 7,305 Thanks: 2443 Math Focus: Mainly analysis and algebra 
I would suggest that the fact that one is doing mathematics is an indication that the problem is at variance with nature. It doesn't necessarily stop your model from being good enough though.


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