Re: [Rd] Benefit of treating NA and NaN differently for numerics

From: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch_at_stats.uwo.ca>
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 2009 16:10:12 -0500

On 31/12/2009 3:43 PM, Saptarshi Guha wrote:
> Hello,
> I notice in main/arithmetic.c, that NA and NaN are encoded
> differently(since every numeric NA comes from R_NaReal which is
> defined via ValueOfNA)
> . What is the benefit of treating these two differently? Why can't NA
> be a synonym for NaN?

I don't know of any cases where a useful distinction is made between NA and NaN, but I suppose it could be useful to know where the bad value came from. R functions rarely generate NaN directly, it usually comes from the hardware or runtime library.

And by the way, as the thread containing this message shows,

http://finzi.psych.upenn.edu/R/R-devel/2009-August/054319.html

there are several different encodings which are displayed as NA, and a huge number (more than 2^50, I seem to recall) of different encodings displayed as NaN.

Duncan Murdoch



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