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# Almost Zero

 (+7, -6) [vote for, against]

In some (albeit rare) scenarios, you might want to do some operation with a value that is extremely close to, but not equal, to a number. An example of this would be expressing the maximum value of a line as it approaches an asymptote, without reverting to complicated inequalities.

The constant would have a value of 0.0000000000...1, and would simply be used by adding to or subtracting from another number.

 — rgovostes, May 21 2005

I need atleast 17 more years of learning, to even begin to grasp this.
 — blissmiss, May 21 2005

I actually have automated my startup to set a system variable to 0.0000000001 at work. I would like "almost zero" as zero is unacceptable for that particular system variable.
+ to you.
 — Zimmy, May 21 2005

I thought it was a so-so book, followed by a crappy movie.
 — blissmiss, May 21 2005

 well, the next time I have to... ...express the maximum value of a line as it approaches an asymptote, without reverting to complicated inequalities...

I'll call you.
 — ato_de, May 21 2005

 I remember having versions of POV Ray rendering incorrectly if you looked exactly along an axis. I got into the habit of making sure that none of the camera parameters were exactly zero by putting a number in the 5th or 6th significant digit.

There are situations where you need to perturb variables, but I don't think a single value is the answer. Different applications will need different levels of accuracy. Plus, any perturbations should appear random. You wouldn't want to eliminate the effect when you subtract one variable from another.
 — st3f, May 21 2005

Exactly. Limit theory is this. Take two semesters of Calculus and call us in the morning.
 — RayfordSteele, May 21 2005

Almost zero = my chances of avoiding an endless loop.
 — reensure, May 21 2005

Vaguely remembering that there are different levels of infinity, would this number be 1/infinity? It would be slicky if I could type that infinity character but I have had no luck getting funky characters to show up in the HB.
 — bungston, May 21 2005

You could always use scientific notation, but that might be too easy.
 — hippo, May 22 2005

Help! I want to work with infinity, but just a little less.
 — ldischler, May 22 2005

easier than working with infinity plus a bit.
 — ato_de, May 22 2005

 This sounds very useful for calculus proofs (of limits, derivatives, etc.). These proofs often require wording such as "suppose x equals y + epsilon", and end with numerical computations leading to "... Choose delta = 13/743 epsilon."

To get rid of the fraction part of that proof, you propose a number AlmostZero, which is smaller than itself! Presumably, it is only smaller than itself if you compare it to itself a finite number of times. Then you can use AlmostZero instead of Epsilon in the above proof and the proof is much simpler.
 — phundug, May 22 2005

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