By | Ozan Varol | nextbigideaclub.com
I woke up in the middle of the night, utterly confused.
I had been dreaming—of an equation. I was in a classroom, and on the blackboard, there was a simple equation written in chalk: 0.8 * 0.2 = 0.16.
To be clear: I rarely ever dream about math. When I do, it’s often a nightmare about bombing a theoretical physics final in college.
Even though this was no nightmare, the equation really bothered me. The middle-school math checks out: 0.8 multiplied by 0.2 in fact equals 0.16. What bothered me was the underlying implication: The product of two numbers could be less than each number (0.16 is less than both 0.8 and 0.2).
The outcome makes sense to the astrophysicist in me. But in the dream, I was staring at this equation as a mathematical beginner, completely befuddled by the result. How could that be? If you multiply two numbers together, shouldn’t the result be greater than each part?
Dreams are written in disappearing ink. But this one lingered with me for a while, as if there was a message embedded within that I needed to learn.
And then the message hit me. When we operate at a fraction, we compromise the output.