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Help with Calculations

Posted by daniel on August 18, 2003 at 8:04 AM PDT

Google has added a Calculator function that allows you to "evaluate mathematical expressions involving basic arithmetic (5+2*2 or 2^20), more complicated math (sine(30 degrees) or e^(i pi)+1), units of measure and conversions (100 miles in kilometers or 160 pounds * 4000 feet in Calories), and physical constants (1 a.u./c or G*mass of earth/radius of earth^2). You can also experiment with other numbering systems, including hexadecimal and binary."

The Google calculator function doesn't answer story problems, but if you enter the beginning of the classic "If a train leaves Chicago" you will find solutions to the problem among the returned links. There are interesting possible ways of using this new service and it expands the range of possible functionality that can be added to Google searching.

Java developers have different needs when it comes to calculations. There is a dichotomy that comes down to asking whether it is more important to you that your calculation give the same exact results on each platform or that its performance is optimal for each platform. In the Also Today section, we link to two resources on calculations in Java. Jeff S. Smith's article Fast math with JNI is a tip on using native calls to speed up your calculations. The JavaNumerics working group of the Java Grande Forum has been considering changes to the language to improve numerical computing in Java.

We had a second power outage on Friday. Once the electricity kicked back in, I spent much of the weekend playing with Objective C. Although there is much to be said for Java's insistence that you discover as much of what can go wrong as possible at compile time, it was nice using a language with more dynamic typing. In today's featured Weblogs Joshua Marinacci addresses this in Strong vs Weak Typing. He's heard it all and says that he doesn't buy the claims that using these languages "encourages flexiblity. It lets me write code faster. I don't worry about the details until later. I can do cool runtime tricks." Marinacci weighs the advantages of strong and weak typing and concludes that each has its place. Our second weblog entry is James Duncan Davidson's Cory on Trademarks. Duncan considers how Cory Doctorow's essay on trademarks might apply in the case of Java.

From the Java Today News Page, news editor Steve Mallett, has gathered the following News Headlines .

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