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Python Python Collections (2016, retired 2019) Tuples Packing

Sohail Mirza
Sohail Mirza
Python Web Development Techdegree Student 5,158 Points

Need help with one line of the code

I don't understand why product =1 , why isnt it product = 0. What is the logic behind it

def multiply(*args):
    product = 1
    for arg in args:
        product *= arg
    return product

2 Answers

Chris Freeman
Chris Freeman
Treehouse Moderator 68,063 Points

In arithmetic, 1 is the multiplicative identity, whereas, 0 is the additive identity:

n = 1 * n
n = 0 + n

That is,

5 * 4 * 3 == 1 * 5 * 4 * 3

So, initializing the product to 1 will allow the loop to be seeded with a neutral starting value.

You could also initialize product to the first item in *args then loop over the remaining args:

    product = args[0]
    for arg in args[1:]:
        product *= arg
    return product

Because you are multiplying with product *= arg, the equivalent to product = product*arg. If product were initialized to 0 the result would always be 0.