chopper draw lion4 chopper draw lion4 - 5 months ago 48
Python Question

How to check if a float value is a whole number

I am trying to find the largest cube root that is a whole number, that is less than 12,000.

processing = True
n = 12000
while processing:
n -= 1
if n ** (1/3) == #checks to see if this has decimals or not


I am not sure how to check if it is a whole number or not though! I could convert it to a string then use indexing to check the end values and see whether they are zero or not, that seems rather cumbersome though. Is there a simpler way?

Answer

To check if a float value is a whole number, use the float.is_integer() method:

>>> (1.0).is_integer()
True
>>> (1.555).is_integer()
False

The method was added to the float type in Python 2.6.

Take into account that in Python 2, 1/3 is 0 (floor division for integer operands!), and that floating point arithmetic can be imprecise (a float is an approximation using binary fractions, not a precise real number). But adjusting your loop a little this gives:

>>> for n in range(12000, -1, -1):
...     if (n ** (1.0/3)).is_integer():
...         print n
... 
27
8
1
0

which means that anything over 3 cubed, (including 10648) was missed out due to the aforementioned imprecision:

>>> (4**3) ** (1.0/3)
3.9999999999999996
>>> 10648 ** (1.0/3)
21.999999999999996

You'd have to check for numbers close to the whole number instead, or not use float() to find your number. Like rounding down the cube root of 12000:

>>> int(12000 ** (1.0/3))
22
>>> 22 ** 3
10648

If you are using Python 3.5 or newer, you can use the math.isclose() function to see if a floating point value is within a configurable margin:

>>> from math import isclose
>>> isclose((4**3) ** (1.0/3), 4)
True
>>> isclose(10648 ** (1.0/3), 22)
True