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On Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 2:05 PM, Albert Chan <> wrote:
>> I once was an examiner in a mathematics competition in which some of
>> the competitors wrote in Arabic. The mathematical formulae were
>> written as Western mathematicians write them, and so were the numbers.
>> When I made a remark to this effect to my Algerian colleague, he
>> responded by asking me to add two ten-digit numbers that he had
>> written down. Naturally I started at the unit as I was taught in
>> primary school, and he stopped me right there. "Why do you start the
>> addition at the right, if you do everthing else from left to right?" I
>> replied "Because that's how the algorithm works." He then said: "But
>> it's our algorithm.  An Arab mathematician invented it, and it starts
>> at the right because we write numbers that way."
>> -- Dirk
> So, if printing a billion digits of pi, you won't know how big pi
> is until the last page ? (where the decimal point finally shown)
> Going "Reverse Polish" on the numbers ...
> Is this a joke ?

The same argument could be made in the other direction -- if printing
some LARGE number from left to right, how will you know how big it is
until you reach the decimal point?

/s/ Adam