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### Re^5: mathematical proof

by JavaFan (Canon)
 on Feb 03, 2009 at 15:01 UTC ( #741011=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^4: mathematical proof

As soon as someone talks about hash inserts being O(1) I assume that they are talking about the average case performance when your hash algorithm is working.
So do I (well, I try to avoid the term 'average' - in this case, I'd use 'expected'. 'amortized' is another term a layman may call 'average'). But I stop assuming that as soon as 'worst case' is mentioned. Or 'mathematical proof'.

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Re^6: mathematical proof
by tilly (Archbishop) on Feb 03, 2009 at 16:40 UTC
Why would you stop making that assumption when "mathematical proof" is mentioned? We can mathematically prove what happens in the average case as easily as we can analyze the worst case, and frequently do so. Furthermore, as I already demonstrated, programmers usually care more about the average case than the worst case.

And yes, average can mean several different things. I was slightly sloppy about that, but not so sloppy that I think it would cause any real confusion. However I stay away from "expected" with a lay audience because I worry that laypeople are likely to misunderstand "expected" as "median". Instead I'd lean towards "amortized".

Re^6: mathematical proof
by ikegami (Pope) on Feb 03, 2009 at 17:10 UTC

Sorry, but "average case" is well recognized and accepted terminology.

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