On Sunday 04 September 2005 01:30 pm, Reinhold Birkenfeld wrote:

tiissa wrote: bill wrote:From 3.2 in the Reference Manual "The Standard Type Hierarchy":

"Integers

These represent elements from the mathematical set of whole

numbers."

The generally recognized definition of a 'whole number' is zero and the

positive integers.

This term is ambiguous as it seems to be used for both natural numbers

and signed numbers [1].

You realize, of course, that "natural numbers" don't include zero. ;-)

This is a pretty serious nitpick, isn't it? "Integers" is a well defined

mathematical concept, as well as a pretty well defined (but not coincident)

computer science concept. It's probably worth mentioning that Python uses

the *mathematical* definition of "integer" here -- or more precisely that

Python "long integers" do, while regular "integers" are what are known as

"long integers" in C.

Okay. I guess that *is* pretty confusing.

I think the manual is not so far off since "whole number" makes English

sense, if not mathematical. Certainly, if I were explaining this to my

kids I would say "whole" and not "integer" (I at least know they know what

"whole" means).

--

Terry Hancock ( hancock at anansispaceworks.com )

Anansi Spaceworks

http://www.anansispaceworks.com