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Re: Numerical accuracy/precision - this is a bug or a feature?
On Jul 14, 2011, at 11:21 AM, Richard Fateman <fateman at cs.berkeley.edu> wrote: > Learning mathematics from a physicist is hazardous. > Learning computer science from a physicist is hazardous too. > Numbers in a computer are different from experimental measurements. I believe that I won't be the only one who objects to this hyperbole and limited world view. I've learned poor quality math from poor quality instructors---but this is not "hazardous.". I've learned what I believe to be high quality math from excellent physics and mathematical physics instructors. Every experimental measurement of a continuously varying quantity will have some imprecision. Entering that number into a computer may or may not add to the imprecision. Keeping track of the sources of imprecision is what good experimentalist does. Of course, an experiment is different from a number; but the experimentally d etermined number and its sources of imprecision in a computer is just another number on the computer. There is no difference in meaning unless the precision of the experiment exceeds that of the measurement. WCC