Report Number: CS-TR-70-147
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Pitfalls in computation, or why a math book isn't enough
Author: Forsythe, George E.
Date: January 1970
Abstract: The floating-point number system is contrasted with the real numbers. The author then illustrates the variety of computational pitfalls a person can fall into who merely translates information gained from pure mathematics courses into computer programs. Examples include summing a Taylor series, solving a quadratic equation, solving linear algebraic systems, solving ordinary and partial differential equations, and finding polynomial zeros. It is concluded that mathematics courses should be taught with a greater awareness of automatic computation.