bugGNU Octave - Bugs: bug #54484, Difference in divide by zero...


bug #54484: Difference in divide by zero warning

Submitted by:  Arnaud Delorme <arnodelorme>
Submitted on:  Thu 09 Aug 2018 09:31:28 PM UTC  
Category:  Interpreter Severity:  1 - Wish
Priority:  5 - Normal Item Group:  Matlab Compatibility
Status:  Fixed Assigned to:  None
Originator Name:  Open/Closed:  Closed
Release:  4.4.0 Operating System:  Any

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Thu 21 Feb 2019 05:23:31 PM UTC, comment #7: 

The "division by zero" warning has been completely removed on the default branch for Octave 6, closing this bug as fixed.

See bug #46650.

Mike Miller <mtmiller>
Project Administrator
Tue 14 Aug 2018 01:18:34 AM UTC, comment #6: 

I started investigating returning NaNs and found another issue with our unnecessary calculation of the 1-norm of matrices in a few places.  I checked in a change for that here (https://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/rev/f5ea7511c405).

Rik <rik5>
Project Administrator
Fri 10 Aug 2018 05:14:13 PM UTC, comment #5: 

Very much agreed.

Philip Nienhuis <philipnienhuis>
Project Member
Fri 10 Aug 2018 04:40:59 PM UTC, comment #4: 

I don't think we need to have the exact same return matrix.  However, it might be useful to return all NaNs so that subsequent calculations are impossible.

Under Octave, someone might be do a division of a singular matrix in the midst of a chain of computations and an all zeros matrix might allow processing to continue.

Simple example:

x = ones (2);
y = zeros (2);
z = x / y;
z = z + 5

z =

   5   5
   5   5

If you are running a script in batch mode, or otherwise fail to see the warning message, then you might think the end result is correct.

Rik <rik5>
Project Administrator
Fri 10 Aug 2018 04:34:51 PM UTC, comment #3: 

Matlab r2018b prerel. gives a similar warning but returns

>> ones(2)/zeros(2)
Warning: Matrix is singular to working precision.

ans =
   NaN   Inf
   NaN   Inf

Philip Nienhuis <philipnienhuis>
Project Member
Fri 10 Aug 2018 03:44:40 PM UTC, comment #2: 

I can't remember exactly where, but this issue has been discussed.  I think the concensus was actually to remove the warning.  It is an extra step that Octave has to do to check the denominator argument and we would prefer simply to pass the division operation directly to BLAS and let it throw an error if it needs to.

@Marco: In Matlab, what is the warning for


Under Octave, I get

warning: matrix singular to machine precision
ans =

   0   0
   0   0

Rik <rik5>
Project Administrator
Fri 10 Aug 2018 06:49:53 AM UTC, comment #1: 

@Arnaud: a division by zero must alarm uninformed used, imho. I think we already discussed it, but I cannot find the reference. Anyway, matlab already gives a warning for things like


So, I think octave is more consistent. As a teacher, I cannot support your proposal.

Marco Caliari <caliari>
Project Member
Thu 09 Aug 2018 09:31:28 PM UTC, original submission:  

When using Octave -- traditional


generates a warning but Matlab 2018a (and to my knowledge earlier versions down to Matlab 5.3) do not.
This can be alarming to uninformed users.

Is it possible to disable that warning in traditional mode?


Arnaud Delorme <arnodelorme>


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    Follow 4 latest changes.

    Date Changed by Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced by
    2019-02-21 mtmiller StatusNone => Fixed
        Open/ClosedOpen => Closed
    2018-08-10 caliari Severity3 - Normal => 1 - Wish
        Operating SystemMac OS => Any

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