Submit a question to our community and get an answer from real people.

How does a computer do division? please explain in lahman's terms.

Also does the division take longer the bigger the number gets? would it take only a second for a super computer to divide a number with millions of digits by a small number?

Report as

A computer does all mathematical calculations by breaking them down until it's adding in base 2.
Division becomes addition by by successive adding of negative numbers:
8/3 = 8+ -3 that's 1 subtraction
5+ -3 that's 2 subtractions
r 2
So you have 2 subtractions with remainder 2. Then 8/3 = 2 2/3.
(I'm not getting into base 2 right now.)
PS The longer the division problem on paper the longer it takes a computer.

Comments (1)
Report as
Hi Claire, I like this well-explained answer, and I wanted you to know that I commented back on that upholstery question. Come see me when you can, Bye!
Report as
Add a comment...

It's a software program, speed could depend on how complicated the formula and the hardware.

Comments (3)
Report as
o.k , what if a super computer had a formula that was dedicated to dividing huge numbers as fast as possible, would the division ever take longer to process? like for example, if A computer were to divide 57 by a 250 mill digit number, would it only take a second to get the answer?
Report as
Correct, it's only when the formula becomes complicated, that it could take longer.
Report as
thanks for the answer, and im sorry for asking so many questions but it seems Im not asking the write question. I want to know if a computer would take longer to divide by 2 number, if the difference in size of the 2 numbers got further apart, for example, lets say if I used a computer with a bunch of good fast formulas working together were to divide, lets say 11 by 1 billion, and all the computer had to say was yes the number fits into it perfectly, or no it doesent, then lets say it would take only a second to say no after its division.Im wondering if the billion kept getting bigger into hundreds of billions of digits, would it take the computer only a second to say yes or no? If you don't know the answer, its no problem, it may take a computer expert to tell me ;)
Report as
Add a comment...
Do you have an answer?
Answer this question...
Did you mean?
Login or Join the Community to answer
Popular Searches