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Subject: OASIS: Infix Operator "^"

• To: gnumeric-list@gnome.org, office-comment@lists.oasis-open.org
• Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 21:09:57 +0200

```Chapter 6.3.5 of the OASIS OpenFormula document (version 2007-02-14)
describes the Infix Operator (^).

However, it contains a lot of mathematical ERRORS:

1. “^” is left-associative, not right-associative!!!
Therefore: =2^3^2 should return =2^(3^2) = 512 and NOT 64 !!! The second
"^" left associates with "3", so first "3" gets squared and thereafter
the first "2" gets to the power 9.

2. The classic ERROR: -4^2
Mathematically, this yields always -(4^2)=-16, NEVER +16!!!
There is NO unary operator in mathematics that converts a number to its
negative, like described in the documents. I would suggest consulting a
dedicated mathematical program. As stated in issue
http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=66735 on the OOo website:
*Mathematica* v5.(x) returns -16
*R* v2.4.0 returns -16
other software (like Scilab, maxima, octave, as pointed in that Calc
issue) report -16, too.

gnumeric takes an interesting approach: it converts the first expression
to =(-4)^2, which indeed is then +16. So, this last is mathematically
correct and, at the same time, users who know a bit more about
mathematics, recognize that gnumeric did NOT calculated what they
expected. (it is transparent what has happened)

Stating however, that -4^2 = +16 is plain wrong!!! And inventing various
mathematical rules that break the old ones is really NOT good for a
standard.

I hope this gets corrected.

Kind regards,