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Re: [Axiom-developer] Unit package question - Reply to 1st half

From: C Y
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Unit package question - Reply to 1st half
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 21:38:34 -0700 (PDT)

--- William Sit <address@hidden> wrote:
> Actually, we can even do better, without the user doing a
> setUnitLength(nm), if the only reason to use nm instead of 
> m is to get rid of annoying powers of 10. For numerical 
> output (the problem does not arise for symbolic output), the
> output coerce routine can sense the magnitude of the value in the
> unit and shift the decimal place appropriately and adjusting 
> using a suitable prefix. So one stays in SI but the output 
> gets rid of the powers of 10.

Are nanometer, etc. considered part of SI then?  Nifty idea, and one
worth following up on, but I would still like to peg things at nm, for
the following reason/scenario:  Let's say I know that my calculations
and data SHOULD be coming out in the nm range.  I set my unit for
length to be nm, proceed, and mostly see small numbers of nm.  All well
and good, until suddenly I have a huge or very small number appearing. 
Red flag!  Not close to 1 nm.  With autoscaling, the number would have
stayed near one and the unit would have changed.  Sometimes useful, I
agree, but I can see arguments for both sides here.


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