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## Re: Another newbie question

 From: Julius Smith Subject: Re: Another newbie question Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2003 10:27:59 -0600

In Matlab, the Maple package provides arbitrary precision ('big nums') as well as symbolic computation.
```
```
If somebody wanted to do such a package for Octave, the open-source Yacas package might be an interesting place to start.
```
Julius

At 10:44 AM 8/1/2003 +0200, WJ Atsma wrote:
```
```Ola

```
Number of decimal places and precision are not necessarily related, at least not
```on a computer. The relationship you learn in math and physics (round off to
```
the number of significant digits + 1) is of no concern to the computer. Matlab and excel have the same limitation. The programmer's choice to show zeros rather than the imprecise results from round-off errors after an operation may be nice for the intuitive user, but don't really provide information. For example, 1.000000 +/- 0.2 is just as accurate as 1.00233748 +/- 0.2. The round-off provides useful information
```sometimes even.

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Not to say that something useful couldn't be done. It should be possible to pass numbers with a precision qualifier and propagate it through your equations, but nobody has done this and I don't know of any other numerical packages/spreadsheets
```that do.

Happy computing,

Willem

On 2003.08.01 02:02 Fausto Arinos de A. Barbuto wrote:
```
```On Thu, 2003-07-31 at 10:58, John W. Eaton wrote:
> | Take Excel as an example. One can increase
> | the floating point representation of any real number by as many
> | decimal places as he/she wants. However, only zeroes are shown
> | from the 14th decimal place on. It also marvels me that a much-
> | less-than-professional program such as Windows Calculator can
> | represent real numbers with 31 exact decimal places -- and Octave
> | can't.
>
> If you are trolling, find another venue.  If you have a real
```
```

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_____________________________
Assoc. Prof. of Music and (by courtesy) Electrical Engineering
CCRMA, Stanford University
http://www-ccrma.stanford.edu/~jos/

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Octave is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.

Octave's home on the web:  http://www.octave.org
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