Can You Count on Your Calculator.
CALIFORNIA UNIV BERKELEY ELECTRONICS RESEARCH LAB
Pagination or Media Count:
Do you care whether your hand held calculator occasionally gives completely erroneous results for innocent looking problems. It can happen and sometimes the false answers look quite plausible. The victim of such a malfunction, is apt to lose confidence in the results of subsequent computations. Nevertheless, in certain cases incorrect answers seem practically unavoidable because calculators, and large computers too, work with numbers represented by a definite number of digits, frequently 10 or 12 decimals, and this constraint imposes intrinsic limitations on what can be achieved with reasonable expenditure of time. The goal is first to alert the unscathed user to the fact that funny things can happen on even the best products currently available and, second to convey a particular point of view which is the prime tool needed to extirpate anomalies.
- Theoretical Mathematics