Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lies my Calculator and Computer told me

A wide variety of pocket-size calculating devices are currently marketed. Some can
run programs prepared by the user; some have pre-programmed packages for frequently
used calculus procedures, including the display of graphs. All have certain
limitations in common: a limited range of magnitude (usually less than for calculators)
and a bound on accuracy (typically eight to thirteen digits).

A calculator usually comes with an owner’s manual. Read it! The manual will tell
you about further limitations (for example, for angles when entering trigonometric
functions) and perhaps how to overcome them.

Program packages for microcomputers (even the most fundamental ones, which
realize arithmetical operations and elementary functions) often suffer from hidden
flaws. You will be made aware of some of them in the following examples, and you
are encouraged to experiment using the ideas presented here.

Lies my calculator and computer told me (PDF file 0.4mb)


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