On Fri, Mar 8, 2019 at 3:33 PM Greg Ewing <greg.ewing@canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

Guido van Rossum wrote:

> I guess this explains the behavior of removing results <= 0; it makes

> sense as multiset subtraction, since in a multiset a negative count

> makes little sense. (Though the name Counter certainly doesn't seem to

> imply multiset.)

It doesn't even behave consistently as a multiset, since c[k] -= n

is happy to let the value go negative.

> For sets,

> union and intersection are distributive over each other.

> Note that this is *not* the case for + and * when used with

> (mathematical) numbers... So in a sense, SETL (which uses + and *

> for union and intersection got the operators wrong.

But in another sense, it didn't. In Boolean algebra, "and" and "or"

(which also distribute over each other) are often written using the

same notations as multiplication and addition. There's no rule in

mathematics saying that these notations must be distributive in one

direction but not the other.

I guess everybody's high school math(s) class was different. I don't ever recall seeing + and * for boolean OR/AND; we used ∧ and ∨.

I learned | and & for set operations only after I learned programming; I think it was in PL/1. But of course it stuck because of C bitwise operators (which are also boolean OR/AND and set operations).

This table suggests there's a lot of variety in how these operators are spelled:

--Guido van Rossum (python.org/~guido)