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2.7.9 Modes Tutorial Exercise 2

If the radix is 15 or higher, we can’t use the letter ‘e’ to mark the exponent because ‘e’ is interpreted as a digit. When Calc needs to display scientific notation in a high radix, it writes ‘16#F.E8F*16.^15’. You can enter a number like this as an algebraic entry. Also, pressing e without any digits before it normally types 1e, but in a high radix it types 16.^ and puts you in algebraic entry: 16#f.e8f RET e 15 RET * is another way to enter this number.

The reason Calc puts a decimal point in the ‘16.^’ is to prevent huge integers from being generated if the exponent is large (consider ‘16#1.23*16^1000’, where we compute ‘16^1000’ as a giant exact integer and then throw away most of the digits when we multiply it by the floating-point ‘16#1.23’). While this wouldn’t normally matter for display purposes, it could give you a nasty surprise if you copied that number into a file and later moved it back into Calc.