Spreadsheet and other Errors

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Dave M
Blackwood
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:44 am
Location: Somerset UK

Spreadsheet and other Errors

Post by Dave M » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:03 am

There has been some discussion of the problems with spreadsheet calculations on the forum - so called conditioning errors where the way that you frame a particular equation can lead to errors. Well I have discovered this book: Humble Pi by Matt Parker which describes spreadsheet problems and other poor use of mathematics in a humorous but actually dead serious manner.

He points out some problems in Excel, in particular in how you should store things like dates- not as a number. The problems no doubt apply to other spreadsheet software Does anyone here remember Supercalc?

Problems such as division by zero, crossing the dateline etc. We think we have problems converting between metric and imperial but how about the long distance aircraft fuelled in pounds when it should have been kilograms!!!

It is a timely reminder how maths underpins so much of our social structures and how we need people with a depth of mathematical knowledge, and an ability to take a holistic view of a given safety critical situation.

It's a good read.

Cheers Dave M
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Dave

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