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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Leading Zeros? (question rephrased)

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg54378] Leading Zeros? (question rephrased)
  • From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
  • Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 02:32:47 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Thanks for a couple of private msgs in response to my earlier post, but 
my question is not how to format or display numbers with leading zeros.

Instead I'm asking, suppose I type

   y = {001,002,003}; 

into a newly opened "virgin" instance of Mathematica, without defining 
any special formats or rules before I do this.  

Are the leading zeros that I type into this list captured and stored 
somehow by Mathematica?  

Or is the default response that they're ignored and lost forever?  (As I 
believe they are.) 

-------------

P.S. -- I'm not trying to argue what Mathematica should do, either way. 
I'm just trying to learn whether Mathematica in particular, or 
mathematics or computer science generally, has any "official policies" 
on capturing or storing leading zeros that a user may type in, or that 
may be loaded into a database.

The question arises in part because there's a scientific journal that 
identifies articles by "article numbers" rather than page numbers, with 
the initial digit of the article number sometimes being zero and 
sometimes non-zero, and the zero when it's present being mandatory (at 
least for some purposes).  This number, moreover, is treated for some 
purposes as a numerical value, though it's obviously also in some ways a 
"text label" rather than a numerical value.

Seem to me this is not a particularly wise design decision (although 
it's the case for ZIP codes also), and I'm wondering if there's any 
computer science thinking on it.]


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