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Parsing of True Equations

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000041572D
Original Publication Date: 1984-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-02
Document File: 1 page(s) / 11K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Stephens, LK: AUTHOR

Abstract

The efforts to make computer programs more user "friendly" have been primarily directed to lay users of computers who generally have limited or no technical training. Scientific users have generally been assumed to have computer experience, and little has been done to simplify the interface for these users. For example, for computer programs to recognize the operations specified by equations, certain symbol conventions have been adopted. Specifically, an asterisk (*) denotes multiplication, a slash (/) denotes division, and an arrow pointing vertically upward denotes an exponent. These symbols are not ordinarily used by scientists and mathematicians, and as a result there is a chance for user error if a required symbol is omitted.

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Parsing of True Equations

The efforts to make computer programs more user "friendly" have been primarily directed to lay users of computers who generally have limited or no technical training. Scientific users have generally been assumed to have computer experience, and little has been done to simplify the interface for these users. For example, for computer programs to recognize the operations specified by equations, certain symbol conventions have been adopted. Specifically, an asterisk (*) denotes multiplication, a slash (/) denotes division, and an arrow pointing vertically upward denotes an exponent. These symbols are not ordinarily used by scientists and mathematicians, and as a result there is a chance for user error if a required symbol is omitted.

This problem is solved by providing a utility that interprets the equations input by the user in the form that the user is accustomed to using. In an interactive mode, each character is trapped and tokenized as it is entered. Thus, the user can now enter the equation rather than the equation: y = mx + b y = m*x + b. The advantage of this approach becomes more apparent with more complex equations. Contrast for example the following equations: old form: y = mI2 + 3*eIx new form: y = m2 + 3ex

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