Working with the set of real numbers

Marko Rauhamaa marko at
Wed Feb 12 13:48:44 CET 2014

Chris Angelico <rosuav at>:

> Hmm, I'm not sure that my statement is false. If a computer can work
> with "real numbers", then I would expect it to be able to work with
> any real number. In C, I can declare an 'int' variable, which can hold
> the real number 4 - does that mean that that variable stores real
> numbers? No, and it's not useful to say that it does. It doesn't store
> rationals either, even though 4 is a rational. The fact that computers
> can work with some subset of real numbers does not disprove my
> statement that computers don't work with "real numbers" as a class.
> Program X works with text files, but it fails if the file contains
> U+003C; can I feed it this thing, which is a text file? No, I can't,
> because it works only with a subset of text files.

According to your definition, there's no computer in the world that can
work with integers or text files.


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