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Excel + Calculations

  1. Oct 22, 2013 #1
    Hi there,

    If I perform the following calculation in Excel:

    I get: 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

    Shouldn't the answer be:
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2013 #2


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    No, the answer will be constrained by the number of bits used by the computer to represent the numbers, and you've got WAY more than it can handle, so the 50 gets dropped as a rounding error.
  4. Oct 22, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

  5. Oct 22, 2013 #4
    Is there any other program out there that will present the result given in my original post?
  6. Oct 24, 2013 #5
    Lots of other programs can do that.
    Computer Algebra Systems, like Mathematica, Sage, Maxima, Reduce, Maple... all do that.

    Some calculator programs, like bc and many others do that.

    Many programming languages, like Icon, Java... do that, don't be fooled by those who think 64 bits is big.
  7. Oct 30, 2013 #6


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    64 bits is chump change for deep calculations. You need a monster computer to process calculations beyond a few hundred decimal points. That is why numerical analysis takes so long and is so incredibly expensive.
  8. Oct 30, 2013 #7


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    Just for grins, try putting the smaller number first.
  9. Oct 30, 2013 #8


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    Do you really think that's going to have any effect on the fact that the larger number is WAY bigger than Excel can handle as an integer?
  10. Oct 31, 2013 #9


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    Sometimes it does help to prevent loss of precision by putting the smaller number first, when there is a huge range of magnitude difference between two operands.
  11. Oct 31, 2013 #10


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    Yes, and that does not answer my question at all. I am asking about a specific case.
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