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8 common misconceptions on units and references systems (for software engineers)

Posted by carcassi on October 28, 2012 at 6:08 AM PDT

Reposted from my blog

There are plenty of things in math and physics (like special relativity or vector calculus) that seem hard but are in fact simple once you understand them. Then there are a other things, instead, that seem really simple, but they are actually hard.

I find that some software engineers and computer scientists have a superficial understanding of units and reference systems, and hold to some common but flawed ideas.

Units are symbols

In the simplest case, the unit is a symbol we stick after a number: 5 m, 3 sec, 1 pound... But clearly that does not apply to everything, as in m/s for velocity or m/s2 for acceleration. Units are expressions.

So, if you store a unit in a string, that