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Re: Question: representation of uncertainties in scientific

  • Subject: Re: Question: representation of uncertainties in scientific
  • From: "Richard G. Ball" <Richard_Ball@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 20:57:32 +0100 (BST)
On [2002-Aug-02]  Brian McMahon <bm@iucr.org> wrote:
> The *intention* is to specify one particular representation, namely
> -1.2345e1(2) and *not* -1.2345(2)e1. This is making concrete the usage
> implied in paragraph 5. on page 657 of Hall, Allen & Brown (1991),
> Acta Cryst. A47, 655-685.


> As Nick's response indicates, there are grounds for arguing in favour of
> alternative representations, but it adds a little more burden to parsers.

An error in the exponent? I would hope not otherwise I'd have to say there wasn't much point in doing the structure.

> So
> it is certainly interesting to see whether Brian T.'s question raises anyone
> who is using the other version in practice. If not, we intend to stick with
> the current single allowed format.

Please; my CIF-life is complicated enough :-)

> However, I draw your attention to the fact that the current production for
> <Exponent> in the cifsyntax document generalises the Hall, Allen & Brown  
> paragraph 5 to explicitly permit the following representations to be
> considered as valid:
>       -1.2345e1(2)
>       -1.2345E1(2)
>       -1.2345d1(2)
>       -1.2345D1(2)
>       -1.2345+1(2)
>       -1.2345e+1(2)  (etc)

My highly technical, jargonish, response would be: yuck!

Can the production not be un-generalized?

> Again,
>    (a) is anyone currently using the 'd' or '+' forms;

Not here.

>    (b) are there any strong views on this generalisation?


After all the "d" form is a holdover from ancient computing rituals and isn't of much relevance in these days of 64-bit native word formats. Is there any real use for extended precision (beyond 64-bit) in crystallography that would be appearing at a CIF level?


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