On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 8:44 PM, Mike Stephens <rubfor / recitel.net> wrote:
> Phillip Gawlowski wrote in post #990664:
>
> Would that remark still apply if Excel had - let's say - a function
> MINVERSE() - a similar single line of code?
>
> Well, interestingly, I do believe it does.

Just for giggles, let's compare Maple and Excel. Since you nicely
provided the Excel 2007/2010 example, I'll provide a real-world
example* of matrix inversion in Maple**.

<code>

with(LinearAlgebra):
M := Matrix([ [1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6], [7, 8, 9] ]);
M_inverted := M^(-1);

</code>

* Modified a bit, since I doubt anyone cares about the exact details
of what the matrix contains.
** I have Maple 14, but AFAIK, the package LinearAlgebra/linalg usage
hasn't changed between versions, though LinearAlgebra is the New and
Improved flavour.

The worksheet version is nicer, since it provides proper formatting,
but is difficult to show off when sticking to plain text email.

> I suspect people don't realise what power Excel has, because hardly
> anyone talks about it. They either talk about everyday corporate number
> crunching or conventional programming lnaguages. Few people think about
> taking Excel's components and mixing them together to solve
> simultanaeous linear equations.

Considering the hoops I have to jump through to pull the same thing in
Excel, I'll stick with picking the right tool for the job.

Sure, I can get a sledgehammer and make the square peg fit the round
hole, but what, aside from a broken hole, do I gain?

For other operations, like polynominal division, Excel becomes pretty
useless, since it can't add up numbers properly (resulting in
fantastically large results, when the excepted result is something
like "y = 4" for a singularity on the x-axis). Nor does it support
polar form representation of complex numbers (very, very, very nice to
have to do a network analysis with alternating current, especially if
you want to minimize rounding errors).

All that makes Excel a rather bad choice when it comes to engineering.

That doesn't even touch on programming yet: Excel can't deal with a
problem space outside of statistics and finance.

TL;DR: You don't need to be a programmer to program, but the tool of
choice needs to be able to support what you want to do, and do so
efficiently (in time spent by the user, not CPU cycles).


BTW: "matrix" and "linear system of equations" are *not* synonymous.

-- 
Phillip Gawlowski

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.