# Choosing between true division and floor division

Python offers us two kinds of division operators. What are they, and how do we know which one to use? We'll also look at the Python division rules and how they apply to integer values.

## Getting ready

There are several general cases for division:

- A
*div-mod*pair: We want both parts – the quotient and the remainder. The name refers to the division and modulo operations combined together. We can summarize the quotient and remainder as .We often use this when converting values from one base into another. When we convert seconds into hours, minutes, and seconds, we'll be doing a

*div-mod*kind of division. We don't want the exact number of hours; we want a truncated number of hours, and the remainder will be converted into minutes and seconds. - The
*true*value: This is a typical floating-point value; it will be a good approximation to the quotient. For example, if we're computing an average of several measurements, we usually expect the result to be floating-point, even if the input values are all integers. - A
*rational fraction*value: This is often necessary when working in American units of feet, inches, and cups. For this, we should be using the`Fraction`

class. When we divide`Fraction`

objects, we always get exact answers.

We need to decide which of these cases apply, so we know which division operator to use.

## How to do it...

We'll look at these three cases separately. First, we'll look at truncated floor division. Then, we'll look at true floating-point division. Finally, we'll look at the division of fractions.

### Doing floor division

When we are doing the *div-mod* kind of calculations, we might use the floor division operator, `//`

, and the modulo operator, `%`

. The expression `a % b`

gives us the remainder from an integer division of `a // b`

. Or, we might use the `divmod()`

built-in function to compute both at once:

- We'll divide the number of seconds by 3,600 to get the value of
`hours`

. The modulo, or remainder in division, computed with the`%`

operator, can be converted separately into`minutes`

and`seconds`

:`>>> total_seconds = 7385 >>> hours = total_seconds//3600 >>> remaining_seconds = total_seconds % 3600`

- Next, we'll divide the number of seconds by 60 to get
`minutes`

; the remainder is the number of seconds less than 60:`>>> minutes = remaining_seconds//60 >>> seconds = remaining_seconds % 60 >>> hours, minutes, seconds (2, 3, 5)`

Here's the alternative, using the `divmod()`

function to compute quotient and modulo together:

- Compute quotient and remainder at the same time:
`>>> total_seconds = 7385 >>> hours, remaining_seconds = divmod(total_seconds, 3600)`

- Compute quotient and remainder again:
`>>> minutes, seconds = divmod(remaining_seconds, 60) >>> hours, minutes, seconds (2, 3, 5)`

### Doing true division

A true value calculation gives as a floating-point approximation. For example, about how many hours is 7,386 seconds? Divide using the true division operator:

```
>>> total_seconds = 7385
>>> hours = total_seconds / 3600
>>> round(hours, 4)
2.0514
```

We provided two integer values, but got a floating-point exact result. Consistent with our previous recipe, when using floating-point values, we rounded the result to avoid having to look at tiny error values.

This true division is a feature of Python 3 that Python 2 didn't offer by default.

### Rational fraction calculations

We can do division using `Fraction`

objects and integers. This forces the result to be a mathematically exact rational number:

- Create at least one
`Fraction`

value:`>>> from fractions import Fraction >>> total_seconds = Fraction(7385)`

- Use the
`Fraction`

value in a calculation. Any integer will be promoted to a`Fraction`

:`>>> hours = total_seconds / 3600 >>> hours Fraction(1477, 720)`

- If necessary, convert the exact fraction into a floating-point approximation:
`>>> round(float(hours),4) 2.0514`

First, we created a `Fraction`

object for the total number of seconds. When we do arithmetic on fractions, Python will promote any integers to be fractions; this promotion means that the math is done as precisely as possible.

## How it works...

Python has two division operators:

- The
`/`

true division operator produces a true, floating-point result. It does this even when the two operands are integers. This is an unusual operator in this respect. All other operators preserve the type of the data. The true division operation – when applied to integers – produces a`float`

result. - The
`//`

truncated division operator always produces a truncated result. For two integer operands, this is the truncated quotient. When floating-point operands are used, this is a truncated floating-point result:`>>> 7358.0 // 3600.0 2.0`

## See also

- For more on the choice between floating-point and fractions, see the
*Choosing between float, decimal, and fraction*recipe. - See https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0238/