dcsimg
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: What do really large numbers mean

  1. #1

    Thread Starter
    PowerPoster
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
    Posts
    4,334

    What do really large numbers mean

    I've seen some post lately from people wanting to work with really large number, like 100 digits. I didn't want to interrupt their thread so I thought I see if I'm the only one that has a problem with these types of numbers.

    I mean if I see 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 it has no real meaning to me. My response is, Yeah that's a lot or that's really far away. I have have no image in my mind of what it represents, no frame of reference. Now if you say 1000 light years away, for some reason it has more meaning to me than 6,000,000,000,000,000. What does a 1 followed by 99 zeros represent, how do you quantify it?

    Well, there's my worthless large number rant.

  2. #2
    Fanatic Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    900

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    Quote Originally Posted by wes4dbt View Post
    What does a 1 followed by 99 zeros represent, how do you quantify it?
    1E99

    I've been good at math all my life. I competed in math contests all throughout school including at the national level. To me, 6 quadrillion is exactly as meaningful as 1E99 in most contexts. They are both big numbers. One happens to be much, much bigger than the other. Neither one represents anything within arms reach that I can easily relate to. But I don't see a number and try to convert it into something meaningfully tangible.

    But, to your point, there is a ceiling at which a number cannot reasonably represent something meaningfully tangible. What that ceiling is, I'm not sure. If you try to calculate the total "mass energy" (E=mc^2) of all atoms in the known universe, that might be a good candidate. But maybe not. Maybe you then say, take that gigantic amount of energy, and release it at a rate of 1 Joule per Million years, and calculate how many picoseconds it would take for the energy to be depleted. That would add something like 25 extra digits to that original number. Is this new number any more or less meaningful? Maybe, maybe not.

    I'm curious to hear other opinions.

    Edit: Forgot to add, posts dealing with very large numbers are likely related to cryptography or some math/number theory project, or maybe just playing around with big numbers for the sake of doing so.
    Last edited by OptionBase1; Jan 15th, 2020 at 05:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Sinecure devotee
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southern Tier NY
    Posts
    5,661

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    Quote Originally Posted by wes4dbt View Post
    ... What does a 1 followed by 99 zeros represent, how do you quantify it?
    ...
    Numbers that large are theoretical things and while they can be calculated and manipulated with various mathematical notation, don't really relate to anything physical, as far as we know.
    The number you mentioned, 1 followed by 99 zeros is just 1/10th behind an existing named number, a googol which is 1 followed by 100 zeros.

    A googol is presumed to be greater than the number of atoms in the observable universe.
    For a really large named number you have the googolplex, which is 1 followed by google zeros.
    "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment" Robert Benchley, 1930

  4. #4
    Wall Poster TysonLPrice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,385

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    I'm curious to hear other opinions.
    To a layman like myself "large" numbers are:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Please remember next time...elections matter!

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    17

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    From Wikipedia, here are some examples of incomprehensibly large numbers (in numerical order):


  6. #6

    Thread Starter
    PowerPoster
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
    Posts
    4,334

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    ty, That's funny.

    OB1,

    But I don't see a number and try to convert it into something meaningfully tangible.
    I must, I guess tangible things are more comforting to me.

    passel,

    A googol is presumed to be greater than the number of atoms in the observable universe
    Seems like a waste of a lot of good zero's.

    You Millennial's sure have a lot of strange numbers.

  7. #7
    Sinecure devotee
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southern Tier NY
    Posts
    5,661

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    Quote Originally Posted by wes4dbt View Post
    ...
    You Millennial's sure have a lot of strange numbers.
    Which side of the Millennial's are you on? I'm technically a baby-boomer myself, so am on the far side.
    But the googol was actually "invented", or perhaps better to say defined, (in 1920 I believe) by a nine-year old boy.

    I think that was about the same age I was when I first started trying to comprehend what a million of something might be relatable to. In my case, since we lived in a sandy area, I was wondering how large a million grains of sand might be. But, I didn't actually try to calculated it at the time.

    Of course we deal with millions and billions and even trillions of things all the time these days. People typically stare at well over a million bytes of data just looking at the screen of the desktop of their computer. If you capture the desktop to an uncompressed bitmap, its pretty likely you have more data in that one image than is needed to store the largest novel ever written.
    "Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment" Robert Benchley, 1930

  8. #8

    Thread Starter
    PowerPoster
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
    Posts
    4,334

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    I was just joking about the Millennial's. I'm 66 so I'm not sure what that makes me except old. lol

  9. #9
    Wall Poster TysonLPrice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,385

    Re: What do really large numbers mean

    Quote Originally Posted by wes4dbt View Post
    I was just joking about the Millennial's. I'm 66 so I'm not sure what that makes me except old. lol
    OK Boomer. You are in there:

    1996 to present: Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials.
    1977 to 1995: Millennials or Gen Y.
    1965 to 1976: Generation X.
    1946 to 1964: Baby Boomers
    Please remember next time...elections matter!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  



Featured


Click Here to Expand Forum to Full Width