Category Archives: math

Windows 10 Calculator Will Soon Be Able To Graph Math Equations

Earlier this month, Microsoft made the source code for its Windows calculator available on GitHub. This has spurred developers to add new features to the app, like a new graphing mode that will make its way to the official Windows Calculator app. The "Graphing Mode" is one of 30+ suggestions that open-source contributors have proposed so far. The ZDNet reports: As its name implies, Graphing Mode will allow users to create graphs based on mathematical equations, in a similar way to Matlab's (way more advanced) Plotting Mode. The feature was proposed by Microsoft engineer Dave Grochocki, also a member of the Windows Calculator team. In a GitHub issue Grochocki submitted to support his proposal, he argued that a graphing mode would help students learn algebra easier. "High school algebra is the gateway to mathematics and all other disciplines of STEM," Grochocki said. "However, algebra is the single most failed course in high school, as well as the most failed course in community college." By adding a Graphing Mode to Windows Calculator, an app included with all Windows 10 versions, the Microsoft engineer hopes to provide students and teachers with a free tool to help schools across the world. "Physical graphing calculators can be expensive, software solutions require licenses and configuration by school IT departments, and online solutions are not always an option," he added. "Graphing capabilities in their daily tools are essential for students who are beginning to explore linear algebra as early as 8th grade. [...] At present, Windows Calculator does not currently have the needed functionality to meet the demands of students." There's no timeline for when the new graphing mode will arrive, but it should arrive soon.

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Is Statistical Significance Significant?

More than 850 scientists and statisticians told the authors of a Nature commentary that they are endorsing an idea to ban "statistical significance." Critics say that declaring a result to be statistically significant or not essentially forces complicated questions to be answered as true or false. "The world is much more uncertain than that," says Nicoole Lazar, a professor of statistics at the University of Georgia. An entire issue of the journal The American Statistician is devoted to this question, with 43 articles and a 17,500-word editorial that Lazar co-authored. "In the early 20th century, the father of statistics, R.A. Fisher, developed a test of significance," reports NPR. "It involves a variable called the p-value, that he intended to be a guide for judging results. Over the years, scientists have warped that idea beyond all recognition, creating an arbitrary threshold for the p-value, typically 0.05, and they use that to declare whether a scientific result is significant or not. Slashdot reader apoc.famine writes: In a nutshell, what the statisticians are recommending is that we embrace uncertainty, quantify it, and discuss it, rather than set arbitrary measures for when studies are worth publishing. This way research which appears interesting but which doesn't hit that magical p == 0.05 can be published and discussed, and scientists won't feel pressured to p-hack.

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