I've recently written a paper outlining the algorithm for determining departure time, arrival time, and flight duration for air travel across multiple time zones, including crossing the International Date Line, going from positive UTC offsets to negative offsets (and reverse), etc. Given any two of these parameters, the third can be calculated based on the three algorithms I've defined. The flight time is given/calculated in decimal hours (e.g. 5.5 hours = 5 hours and 30 minutes, or simply 5:30), and the departure/arrival times are given in military time.
But, I'm uncomfortable with how I've described the modulo operation as needed for the algorithm, based on the fact that I'm using "decimal" numbers.
Here's what my document says:
The modulo operation assumes Euclidian Division extended to decimal (floating-point) numbers. With the divisor always (positive) 24, the result will always be positive. For example, (-15.5) mod 24 = 8.5 whereas 15.5 mod 24 = 15.5.
(NOTE: I was a computer science major with math minor; I'm hoping others here will know what I mean by "floating point".)
My discomfort with the above statement is based on how it seems "improper" to describe modulo on decimal numbers, because (as I understand it) that could possibly be interpreted as real numbers (which include the irrationals). I don't ever remember learning that the modulo function can be applied to ℝ, but my intuition says it can be applied to non-integer ℚ.
My document assumes all flight times will be in fractional hours, but "whole" minutes, thus all "decimaal values" in my document assumes rational numbers only. (Even if they might be infinitely-repeating decimals.) ;-)
How might I re-word the above verbiage to be more accurate, both (English language) semantically and mathematically?
After posting this question, I later realized that a big part of my apprehension lay in the fact that the Wikipedia page mentions three different "types" of division when performing the modulo operation in the context of computer programming, each with a different result when either the dividend or divisor are negative. When composing my document, I felt a bona fide need to qualify which type of division I meant when computing the modulo.
While these represent a wide diversity of mathematical thinking here, I do appreciate the responses.