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[Computational Complexity] Wholly Natural

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  • Lance
    My daughter s math text list natural numbers as {1,2,&hellip} and whole numbers as {0,1,2,&hellip}. I remembered them the other way around, after all 0 seems
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 10, 2006
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      My daughter's math text list natural numbers as {1,2,&hellip} and whole numbers as {0,1,2,&hellip}. I remembered them the other way around, after all "0" seems natural but is a whole lot of nothing. But for her homework she has to use the textbook terminology lest she gets marked wrong.

      Afterwards in my class I used the phrase "For every natural number n" and then stopped myself and asked the class about what natural and whole means to them. The class had diverse opinions and also mentioned something called counting numbers. Searching various web sources seem to agree for the most part that whole numbers start with 0 but are less clear on the natural and counting numbers.

      For that class and in most of what I do the distinction is irrelevant since we usually only care about "sufficiently large" n. But if you are using a context where 0 matters, please use the terms "nonnegative integers" and "positive integers" so as to not confuse those of us who can't keep our whole and naturals straight.

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      Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 10/10/2006 01:56:00 PM

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