# Question about Wikipedia statistics page

1. Apr 7, 2013

### Borg

I have a question about an entry on the following Wikipedia page - tf-idf ( term frequency–inverse document frequency). In the Matematical Details section where they are describing the inverse document frequency as follows:

idf(t, D) = log $\frac{|D|}{|{d \in D : t \in d}|}$

This is my first attempt at Latex so I couldn't figure out how to put the {} symbols around the lower term.

It states that it is common to adjust the the lower term as follows to avoid division by zero:

|{d $\in$ D : t $\in$ d}| → 1 + |{d $\in$ D : t $\in$ d}|

The article then continues on and states "the ratio inside the idf's log function is always greater than or equal to 1". However, if a word appears in every document in the set D, you end up with a log that ends up negative. Shouldn't the value of D be increased by 1 in order for idf (t, D) to always be >= 0?

I'm thinking that the final formula should look like this:

idf(t, D) = log $\frac{1 + |D|}{1 + |{d \in D : t \in d}|}$

2. Apr 7, 2013

### AlephZero

To get the characters { and }, write \{ and \}.

True, but since a word that appears in every document is useless for searching (and so it a word that appears in no documents), it probably doesn't matter much what you do so long as the computer program doesn't crash.

3. Apr 7, 2013

### Borg

Ah, I was looking at it wrong. I get a little mathematically dislexic sometimes. I looked at the original case where the top and bottom were the same and saw that the log of 1 is 0. I then misinterpreted the statement that the bottom is always greater than one, to be the same as saying that the log would be greater than 0 for the new equation. Not true. Thanks!

4. Apr 7, 2013

### AlephZero

Actually, avoiding division by 0 or "log(0)" is probably irrelevant on computers using IEEE-standard floating point arithmetic, since there is a special representation of "infinity" that has the properties you would expect it to have and it doesn't generate any arithmetic errors (e.g. 1.0 / 0.0 = "infinity", "infinity" compares greater than any finite number, log(0.0) = -"infinity", etc.)