Re: Solve's Strange Output

• To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
• Subject: [mg89096] Re: Solve's Strange Output
• From: Szabolcs <szhorvat at gmail.com>
• Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 06:27:02 -0400 (EDT)
• References: <g1avr4\$fev\$1@smc.vnet.net>

```On May 25, 9:09 am, Bruce Colletti <bwcolle... at verizon.net> wrote:
> Re 6.0.2 under WinXP.
>
> This code's output is strange:  what does 0.-7.9424 g mean?  Ditto for=
all values returned by Solve.
>
> Thankx.
>
> Bruce
>
> {x[0],y[0]}={10.5,6.08};
> {x[1],y[1]}={3.23,14.4};
> {x[2],y[2]}={18,12.7};
> m=16.1;
>
> Solve[{a+c==0,b+d==m*g,d(x[2]-x[0])==c(y[2]-y[0]),a(y[1]-y[0])=
==b(x[1]-x[0])},{a,b,c,d}]
>
> Out[11]= {{a->0.-7.9424 g,b->0.+9.08951 g,c->0.+7.9424 g,d->0.+7.01049 g=
}}

It has been mentioned many times that using Solve with inexact numbers
invites trouble.  Though in this specific case nothing bad happens, it
is better to Rationalize the numbers before solving:

Solve[Rationalize[{a + c == 0, b + d == m*g,
d (x[2] - x[0]) == c (y[2] - y[0]),
a (y[1] - y[0]) == b (x[1] - x[0])}], {a, b, c, d}]

0 is not the same as 0.0.  The latter is an inexact zero (we only know
that it is closer to 0 than \$MinMachineNumber), so Mathematica does
not simplify 0. + g.

```

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