NaNsAreNumbers

An esoteric data type built entirely of NaNs.

PyPI version

Installation

pip install nans_are_numbers

Explanation

A floating point number is just collection of bits, 1s and 0s. For example, the number -20.22 as a 64-bit number looks like

1100000000110100001101011100001010001111010111000010100011110110

The first bit is the sign bit and tells us if it's positive or negative. The rest of the bits represent the number and exponent. Even things that aren't numbers (like infinity or NaNs) are represented by special sequences of bits:

 math.inf  0111111111111000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
-math.inf  1111111111110000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
 math.nan  0111111111110000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

NaNs (short for Not A Number) are used as a value that is undefined or unrepresentable. But guess what?! The IEEE 754 specification for NaNs mention nothing about that first bit. You can have positive AND negative NaNs! It's simply a matter of changing the sign bit. If we make the mapping:

-math.nan -> 1
 math.nan -> 0

We can create a data type that acts like a float but it is built entirly of NaNs. Let's call it NAN, short for "NaNs Are Numbers". This library let's you manipulate these objects just like regular floats:

from nans_are_numbers
import math

x = NAN(-20.21)
print(x == -20.21)  # True
print(float(x))     # -20.21

print(x)
# [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan]

print(x.bitmask)
# [1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0]

print(all(math.isnan(item) for item in x))  # True

Amazing right? But why stop there. Consider this:

NAN(math.nan)
NAN(-math.nan)

We can represent a NaN using a NAN ... which means we can make a NAN out of NANs!:

x = NAN(NAN(2.7))
print(x)

# [[nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, 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nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, 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nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan], [nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan, nan]]

Oh yeah. That's 64 NANs each containing 64 NaNs! For short call it NAN2. These NAN2s act just like regular numbers

print( float(NAN(NAN(2.1)) ** 3.2) ) # 10.74241047739471
print( float(NAN(NAN(2.1)) / 0) ) # 10.74241047739471

Performance

How deep can we get? It seems like you're only limited by memory. Each iteration grows (unsurprisingly) as a factor of 64. Real-world estimates of memory usage (using pympler.asizeof):

NAN depth Memory usage in bytes
NAN0 (NaN) 24
NAN1 1,840
NAN2 58,040
NAN3 3,680,488
NAN4 235,471,960
NAN5 14 GB? (estimated)
NAN6 898 GB? (estimated)
NAN7 56 TB? (estimated)
GitHub - thoppe/NansAreNumbers: An esoteric data type built entirely of NaNs.
An esoteric data type built entirely of NaNs. Contribute to thoppe/NansAreNumbers development by creating an account on GitHub.