[R] Probably off topic but I hope amusing

T. A. Milne m||net@ @end|ng |rom tut@@|o
Fri Oct 29 21:17:42 CEST 2021

I think Jeff is right, but there is a minor bit of history that is missing.

The Intel 8087 numeric coprocessor, announced in 1980, was (in effect) based on a draft version of what later became the IEEE754-1985 standard, and the 8087 included "NaN" as part of its exception handling routines.  However, these days "NaN" is usually translated as "not a number", while the Intel manuals for the 8087 usually translate the acronym as "Non-Number".

So, "NaN" is just a bit older than "IEEE754-1985" might suggest.

>AFAIK NaN originated in the floating point standard IEEE754-1985 as a range of bit >patterns that have all 1 bits in the exponent, and the convention to convert such bit >patterns to the string "NaN" is an obvious way to handle output of such patterns, >regardless of language. Pasting a % symbol after a converted floating point number is >likewise common. Not sure I see R lurking here... could just as easily be Python or Java >or some other programming language.>On October 29, 2021 10:55:52 AM PDT, Avi Gross via R-help <r-help using r-project.org> <mailto:r-help using r-project.org> wrote:

> Bert,R is used all over the place, sometimes not visibly.A search shows the NY times using it in 2011, 2009, ...:> https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.h> tml> https://blog.revolutionanalytics.com/2011/03/how-the-new-york-times-uses-r-f> or-data-visualization.htmlThere also seem to be several packages for interfacing with the NY Times,albeit that does not mean much about their usage.However, the error message using the phrase "NaN" is not a guarantee asthere are other languages that use the concept, albeit may not capitalize itthe same way. But in an error message, any programmer can be setting up thetext. According to this reference, Rust and ECMAScript also call it a NaN:> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NaN> I am a tad confused it lists a form of "NaN%" without specifying if anylanguage specifically uses it and your example ended with a percent sign.-----Original Message-----From: R-help > <r-help-bounces using r-project.org> <mailto:r-help-bounces using r-project.org>>  On Behalf Of Bert GunterSent: Friday, October 29, 2021 11:36 AMTo: R-help > <r-help using r-project.org> <mailto:r-help using r-project.org>> Subject: [R] Probably off topic but I hope amusingThere was a little discussion today (yet again) about floating pointarithmetic. Perhaps related to this, I subscribe to the online NYTimes,which flashes U.S. stock index prices at the top of its home page. Today,instead of the Nasdaq price being flashed, there was this:undefined-NaN%I wonder if this means that R is being used as a backend for this or whetherthis way of displaying what I think is 0/0 in FP is common.Anyway, what do you think most readers reaction to this was?!Best to all,Bert	______________________________________________> R-help using r-project.org>  mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help> PLEASE do read the posting guide > http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

- T. Arthur Milne

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