Thursday, October 25, 2007


Here's another one that never made it to math-teach, though twas sent. Note that Texas Instruments is a sponsor of the Math Forum.

Math Club Debate
Posted: Oct 12, 2007 11:38 PM

Some high schools have math clubs, or used to. One topic of possible interest is the old TI versus HP battle of the titans, largely forgotten now. We're in the 1970s, and some kids are carrying around what's known in the trade as RPN calculators. No nested parentheses, order of operations handled using a stack model, similar to how many computer languages work (e.g. forth). OK, so like Wff 'n Proof.

What happens is HP gets beaten back by the nesters, and TI has had USA schools eating out of its hand ever since. Or that's what vengeful HP engineers might think. Actually, it's not an either/or situation. RPN is wherever you want it to be, on computers. Just download the relevant stuff and you're set.

Be that as it may, it's still fun to go back and debate, as if it mattered.


(click RPN link for more history).