# Windows Calculator

Why does the calculator that comes with Windows go to only 13 places? Surely with the computational power of the computer behind it the calculator could work some truly awesome numbers.

Because those of us that might need more range generally have a Texas Instruments graphing calculator.

It really doesnt have the power. It would start to slow down on the more complicated calculations. I remember someone showing me a program (programmed in basic) that worked out pi. after about 15 decimal places, it really started to take quite a long time to work it out.

I have a C Pi calculator, it can calculate thousands of places in a few seconds.

Anyway, was wondering. Is Windows calculator a 16bit or 32bit application?

Well, if I remember correctly, the Windows 95/98/Me calculator is an exact port of the Windows 3.1 calculator. So, it’s probably still running at 16 bit.

Without fancy tricks, you aren’t going to have greater precision in a 16bit application.

Diceman, my Hewlett-Packard and I sneer at your lowly TI. Meanwhile, on the PC, there’s dedicated algebra programs for us nerds, like Maple and Mathematica, which can, in fact, deal in arbitrary precision.

Ahh yes Maple, the program that can do anything. Yes I have worked out some amazing problems in Maple. It is VERY precise and acurate, I listed pi to the thousand place in a second)

and as one of my proffesors used to say “Maple is not wrong, you are wrong”

My calculator on Windows doesn’t even have pi…

Hmmm…by changing my Windows calc’s view to SCIENTIFIC, I can have a piece of PI. But then again, I am on an NT machine right now, so I can’t speak for Win98. Also, it seems as if the calculator has 30 places, not just 13.

I don’t have Windows so I can’t check, but are you sure about 13 decimal places? A 64-bit floating point number will typically give ~15 digits of precision. A double-precision float uses something like 1 bit for sign, 12 bits for the exponent and 51 bits for the mantissa. You need about 3.3 bits per decimal of precision, so it comes out to about 15.3 digits.

# In windows calc. 1.000000000000000000000000000001 + 1.000000000000000000000000000001

2.000000000000000000000000000002

# 1 / 3

0.333333333333333333333333333333

In what situation was it supposed to only have 13 digits of precision? Or am I misunderstanding something?

It displays 15, but only 13 of them are considered accurate. I have seen situations like this in the past… (My first TI30II calculator, for example displayed 8 but carried 11 for the sake of keeping the 8 accurate.)