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Subject: Re: [office-formula] AVEDEV

• From: Andreas J Guelzow <aguelzow@math.concordia.ab.ca>
• To: office-formula@lists.oasis-open.org
• Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2009 15:49:36 -0700

On Sat, 2009-12-26 at 16:20 -0500, Patrick Durusau wrote:
> Greetings!
>
> Lest we get too focused on the financial functions, can anyone tell me
> what is wrong with the following?
>
> AVEDEV - Calculates the average of the absolute deviations of the values
> in list.
>
> Yes, it should read, "the values in *a* list." but that's just poor
> writing and I can fix  that.
>
> What else is problematic about this function and its definition in
> OpenFormula?
>

>
> Excluding the math formula, our text in full reads:

To the math formula we obviously need to add what n, x_i and x^bar are.
BUt then the math formula will define this function.

>
> > *Summary:* Calculates the average of the absolute deviations of the
> > values in list.
> >
> > *Syntax:* AVEDEV( { /NumberSequenceList/ N }^+ )
> >
> > *Returns:* Number
> >
> > *Constraints:* None.
> >
> 1) Average - not defined.

that's only in the non-normative summary. so there is no need to define
that. (The formula given should explain everything!)

>
> 2) Absolute deviation - not defined

ditto

>
> 3) Values - not defined (what is the standard deviation of string
> values, one from the other?)

the argument is a NumberSequenceList, so there are only numbers.
(Conversion of strings in teh argument to a NumberSequenceList is
defined elsewhere.)

>
> 4) Values or NumberSequenceList?

as for 1)

>
> 5) Calculates - not defined

as for  1)

>
> 6) Calculates as opposed to return, returns, compute, computes, finds?

should really be none of the above

>
> 7) No constraints? Suspect that values being numbers (see #8 on present
> lack of definition) is one but see #4.

NumberSequenceList

So there are no constraints! There is implicit conversion happening
which is defined elsewhere.

>
> 8) Returns Number? (Recalling that number is "defined" as "A number is
> simply a numeric value such as 0, -4.5, or \$1000." That's an
> illustration, not a definition.

You can't be serious. Do you really want to define inside OpenFormula
what a number is? Since part 1 uses the terms number and numbering a
large number of times, we could refer to its definition of "number" (of
course it doesn't define "number" either.

> So, when I apply AVEDEV to a list of
> numbers, an application could return a monetary amount?

you are confusing formulas and formatting. ANd of course in lots of
spreadsheets the return value of AVEDEV is (formatted as) a menetary
amount.

> Granting that
> might make sense if the input was a series of monetary amounts but I
> don't see a limitation here that prevents a string of integers having an
> AVEDEV result of \$42.

so what's the problem with that?
>
> Not to exclude the math formula even though I am not including it in
> this email:
>
> Math Formula
>
> 9) In order for this to be useful, simply reproducing it is
> insufficient. Formulas are defined to be useful assuming particular
> inputs and ranges on those inputs. As well as outputs. We don't have to
> keep repeating them but we do need to define those inputs, limits and
> outputs.
>
> 10) What precision required is not specified (not really the fault of
> the equation but seemed appropriate to mention here).

We address precision elsewhere (2.6). Among some things is that the
table:precision-as-shown setting affects this.

>
> Note that fixing many of these issues for AVEDEV fixes the same issue
> for other functions.
>
> This should not be seen as being discouraging. The hard part, deciding
> what needs to be defined and gathering up an enormous amount of
> information on each part has already been done. Plus we are close enough
> to say what remains to be defined to fully specify the functions in
> OpenFormula.
>

Andreas
--
Andreas J. Guelzow
Concordia University College of Alberta

• References:
• AVEDEV
• From: Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net>

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