Let's say I have a variable x and as time progresses, I want to update the value of x in additive/multiplicative manner using some attributes.

At t=t, new_x = x * some_percentage or new_x = x + some_absolute_number.

Is there some way to transition from additive change to multiplicative change or vice-versa and the number by which we can? It's fine if we focus only on one of the additive or multiplicative by reactively changing the percentage_increase or absolute_change.

A toy example task (hypothetical)

For a salary of 100k, an increase of 50% is significant but for a salary of 100(could be pocket money of some child), a 50% increase might not be enough. When we are discussing a smaller number of salaries, we need to increase the salary by absolute number. For a salary of 100, we can increase it by 70 to make it 170)

Are there any ways or literature to handle this which can adapt quickly?


1 Answer 1


The problem with your request is that both ways are always possible. For any pair of values x and new_x you can choose to represent the increase either as an addition or a multiplication:

  • additive increment: new_x -x
  • multiplicative coefficient: new_x / x

So you need a criterion to decide which one to choose, for instance a threshold: if x is lower than 100, use addition otherwise use multiplication. Additionally if any kind of change can happen at anytime it's completely arbitrary, there's no way to represent this in a systematic way.


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