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Re: Leading Zeros? (question rephrased)

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg54412] Re: [mg54378] Leading Zeros? (question rephrased)
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 00:08:33 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <>
  • Reply-to: murray at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

The "ultimate authority" on what Mathematica does -- Mathematica itself 
-- answers your question:


So for the purposes of you application, it seems you want to deal with 
text strings, but convert them to/from integer digits where needed or 
possibly just pull out the individual characters and compare those.

AES wrote:

> ...I'm asking, suppose I type
>    y = {001,002,003}; 
> ... 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.]

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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