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Subject: Re: [office] For future unit work

• From: robert_weir@us.ibm.com
• To: Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net>
• Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 10:54:38 -0400

```Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net> wrote on 09/12/2011 09:08:31 AM:

>
> Greetings!
>
> Something I ran across today that might be useful for future unit work:
>
> QUDT - Quantities, Units, Dimensions and Data Types in OWL and XML
>
> http://www.qudt.org/
>

And some OASIS work in this space as well:

http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/quomos/charter.php

But how to use it....

From specification angle, most of our units are taken from W3C, the common
pica/pixel/cm etc from CSS and XLS:FO.

OpenFormula has further demands in the CONVERT() function, but that is an
isolated case.

From a metadata angle, there are some fascinating things you could do in a
spreadsheet, if you could indicate unit, dimensions, etc., for a cell.
This would permit some automated validation of calculations, to detect
errors.

For example, if cell A1 is marked as having dimensions "time" while cell
A2 is marked as having dimensions "distance", then comparing, adding or
subtracting those two cells would always be an error.  But multiplying
them or dividing them would be allowed, resulting in dimensions of
distance*time or distance/time.

And aside from such error checking, you could add in the units as a
"format" and do automatic conversions.  So cell A1 is time in seconds.
Cell A2 is distance in meters.  Cell A3 divides them and yields a result
of dimensions distance/time in units of meters/seconds.  But a user could
apply a format of "MPH" to that cell and it would be displayed as
Miles/Hour.  This is powerful stuff, especially for engineering and lab
work.  But it would be non-trivial work for an implementation.

-Rob

> Hope everyone is having a great day!
>
> Patrick
>

```

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