In computing, NaN, standing for not a number, is a numeric data type value representing an undefined or unrepresentable value, especially in floating-point calculations. Systematic use of NaNs was introduced by the IEEE 754 floating-point standard in 1985, along with the representation of other non-finite quantities like infinities.

Two separate kinds of NaNs are provided, termed quiet NaNs and signaling NaNs. Quiet NaNs are used to propagate errors resulting from invalid operations or values, whereas signaling NaNs can support advanced features such as mixing numerical and symbolic computation or other extensions to basic floating-point arithmetic. For example, 0/0 is undefined as a real number, and so represented by NaN; the square root of a negative number is imaginary, and thus not representable as a real floating-point number, and so is represented by NaN; and NaNs may be used to represent missing values in computations.

Read more about NaN:  Floating Point, Function Definition, Integer NaN, Display, Encoding

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