Idempotent: adj. f. L. idem same + potent-em powerful: Of a quantity or element a: having the property that a Ã— a = a, where Ã— represents multiplication or some other (specified) binary operation. Also applied to an operator or set… enough of this mumble jumble! English please!
OK! An idempotent operation in math is one that has the same effect whether you apply it once, or more than once. For example: 1 x 1 = 1 or 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.
The STOP button on a VCR remote is idempotent, push it once and the tape stops, push it more than once and the tape remains stopped. The Pause button, on the other hand, is not idempotent.. push it twice and it starts to play again.
Now, if they just had a cure for idempotence, oh wait.. wrong word!
Can you think of any other examples of idempotence?Tweet