Python "why" questions

Gregory Ewing greg.ewing at
Mon Aug 16 02:53:52 CEST 2010

> On Aug 7, 2010, at 9:14 PM, John Nagle wrote:
>>   The languages which have real multidimensional arrays, rather
>> than arrays of arrays, tend to use 1-based subscripts.  That
>> reflects standard practice in mathematics.

Not always -- mathematicians use whatever starting index is
most convenient for the problem at hand. For example, the
constant term of a polynomial is usually called term 0,
not term 1. So to a mathematician, an array being used to
hold polynomial coefficents would most naturally be indexed
from 0.

I suspect that part of the reason Fortran uses 1-based
indexing is that people hadn't had enough experience with
high-level languages back then to realise the awkwardness
it often leads to, and they were relying on "common sense".


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