# Inconsistent division by zero

Dan Temple

Ranch Hand

Posts: 93

posted 15 years ago

Hey everyone!

I love this site!!! This is my first post, so please be gentle ...

I have a very straightforward question, but I'm not sure whether it is a basic question or an intermediate one. My question is why is there a difference between integers and floating points when there is a division by zero? Integer division results in an arithmetic exception, while floating point division results in either the constants Float.POSITIVE_INFINITY or Double.POSITIVE_INFINITY. Why not just pick one method and consistently apply it for both integers and floating points?

Thanks,

Dan

I love this site!!! This is my first post, so please be gentle ...

I have a very straightforward question, but I'm not sure whether it is a basic question or an intermediate one. My question is why is there a difference between integers and floating points when there is a division by zero? Integer division results in an arithmetic exception, while floating point division results in either the constants Float.POSITIVE_INFINITY or Double.POSITIVE_INFINITY. Why not just pick one method and consistently apply it for both integers and floating points?

Thanks,

Dan

Cindy Glass

"The Hood"

Sheriff

Sheriff

Posts: 8521

posted 15 years ago

Because floats and doubles deal with decimals. To accurately track what a doubles value REALLY is you would need to have an infinite number of decimals.

If you have a 0.0 double or float it is unknown if about a zillion decimal places out there might actually be a value that makes in "not exactly" zero. Therefore it MIGHT actually be a decimal value that is just VERY VERY SMALL or BIG. Thus the POSITIVE_INFINITY or NEGATIVE-INFINITY.

With an integer there is NO doubt that you blew it, therefore the exception.

If you have a 0.0 double or float it is unknown if about a zillion decimal places out there might actually be a value that makes in "not exactly" zero. Therefore it MIGHT actually be a decimal value that is just VERY VERY SMALL or BIG. Thus the POSITIVE_INFINITY or NEGATIVE-INFINITY.

With an integer there is NO doubt that you blew it, therefore the exception.

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