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Excel Flunks Basic Math

If you were in IT in 1994, you probably remember Intel's huge Pentium recall because of floating point math errors. The errors seemed tiny on the surface (Byte magazine estimated an error every 9 billion calculations), but a small error carried across a massive set of spreadsheets and other apps equals big, big problems.

Today's Excel has a similar problem but since this is software, not processors, fixing this bug shouldn't cost the $200 million or so that Intel shelled out.

Microsoft says that Excel can produce an error when calculating a problem that should return 65,535 or 65,536 as is its result. Somehow, Excel adds 34,465 (or 34,464) and gives 100,000 as the sum. Weird.

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/01/2007 at 1:15 PM


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