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Understanding and Using The Infinite Number in Python

In Python, the concept of infinity represents a boundless quantity that goes beyond any finite number. The mathematical concept of infinity is represented by the float value ‘inf’ in Python. The inf value is a special float value that represents infinity, it’s greater than any finite float number. In this article, we will explore the concept of infinity in Python, and how it can be used in various operations and conditions.

Using The Infinite Number in Python:

1. How to define infinity in Python

You can define the value of infinity in Python using the float(“inf”) function. The float(“inf”) function returns the positive infinity value. To represent negative infinity, you can use float(“-inf”)

positive_infinity = float("inf") negative_infinity = float("-inf")

Alternatively, you can also use the math.inf and -math.inf if you have the math module imported.

import math positive_infinity = math.inf negative_infinity = -math.inf

2. Using infinity in mathematical operations

In Python, you can use infinity in mathematical operations just as you would with any other number.

x = 5 y = float("inf") print(x + y) # Output: inf print(x * y) # Output: inf print(y / x) # Output: inf

Be aware that some operations with infinity values may give unexpected results. For example, dividing infinity by infinity will result in nan (Not a Number).

3. Using infinity in comparison operations

You can use infinity in comparison operations, such as <, >, <=, >=, ==, and !=.

x = 5 y = float("inf") print(x < y) # Output: True print(y > x) # Output: True print(x == y) # Output: False

4. Using infinity in special functions

In Python, inf is also used in some special functions and libraries, such as numpy.inf and math.isinf() which return infinity in the same way.

import numpy as np print(np.inf) # Output: inf import math print(math.isinf(5)) # Output False print(math.isinf(float("inf"))) # Output True


What’s the difference between positive infinity and negative infinity?

Positive infinity represents a quantity that is greater than any finite value, whereas negative infinity represents a quantity that is less than any finite value. They are two distinct concepts, but they can be used in the same way as regular numbers in Python.

Can I use infinity in fractions?

No, you cannot use infinity in fractions in python. attempting to do so raises a ZeroDivisionError.


In Python, the concept of infinity is represented by the inf value. Understanding how to use infinity in Python is essential for any developer, as it can be used in mathematical operations and comparisons. 

In addition, understanding how to check if a value is an infinity, and how to work with positive and negative infinity is important when using libraries like NumPy, scipy and math which uses inf as a special value. It’s also important to be aware that some operations with infinity values may give unexpected results. 

It’s important to keep in mind that infinity is not a number but a concept and therefore cannot be used in fractions or other operations that would result in a division by zero.

However, infinity is widely used in many mathematical operations, special functions and libraries, and can be a useful tool for developers to solve various problems.

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