# [MATRIX-SIG] integer division -- what a concept!

**Charles G Waldman
**
cgw@pgt.com

*Fri, 16 Jan 98 16:40:23 EST*

Paul F. Dubois writes:
> Another way to look at it is, suppose you saw:
>
> x = i / j
>
> Wouldn't you be surprised that the type of x depended on the data?
>
I really don't understand this comment. It seems to me that this is
the case currently; if I do
i=1; j=2; x= i/j; print type(x)
I get a different result than if I did
i=1; j=2.0; x=i/j; print type(x)
Isn't the type of x dependent on the data? (I'm not trying to be a
wise guy, I think I must be missing your point). Imagine that i and j
aren't defined in the code but are being read in from a file. Then
seeing the line "x = i/j" out of context, it's anybody's guess what
the type of "x" will be. I'd rather have division *always* return a
float, and maybe have another operator like "//" for explicit integer
division.
>* The i vs. j for complex constants issue was well discussed in the SIG, and
* > it was simply necessary to choose one and annoy half the people, or choose
> both and annoy Guido. There simply are two different cultures out there on
> this issue.
I understand that this is a cultural thing... I'm just expressing my
own biases, being more of a mathematician than an engineer. Euler
wrote "e**2 pi i + 1 = 0", not "e**2 pi j + 1 = 0". And that's good
enough for me. Besides, what if I decide to make quaternions a
built-in type in Python? (Just kidding.)
I guess I wasn't a member of the SIG yet when this was being
discussed. Too bad, I would have agitated for "i". But I certainly
don't think it's an important issue; I was only bringing it up under
the rubric of "the only things about Python that I think are wrong",
becuase I believe that in most everything else Guido got it right.
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