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Calculator Usage?

Hi Everyone,

Actually I wanted to ask a general question. When you do Brilliant problems, do you typically use calculators?

The reason why I ask is sometimes I find problems that are made incredibly easy by the use of calculators, and I'm not quite sure that that's what their purpose is. At least in my point of view I like the idea of problems that are difficult even with the use of calculators, and to be fair a lot of the problems on Brilliant are as well. But do you have any personal opinions on the use of calculators, whether on Brilliant or elsewhere?

Thank you!

Note by Matt Wang
4 years, 9 months ago

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I'd say that it is fine to use a calculator if you already know how to manually arrive at the answer and the calculator is simply speeding up your progress. I don't think it is right to use it if you are trying to evade something that you may need to know how to do.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Matt, I think the less you reach for your calculator while solving problems here, the more you'll get out of them.

I know if you want to compete in math competition, most will not allow calculators. I've been out of the realm of HS level math for a bit now and it's been a rude awakening trying to get back in without my trusty calculator (but that's kinda the point!). I can say that in my experience in college and professionally I've always gone straight to my calculator and have possibly lost a step as a result.

For this reason, I choose not to use a calculator while here. Obviously, I know how to cube numbers and do long division but my philosophy is that I'm solving these problems to get back into math fighting shape and taking an extra 30 seconds to evaluate 8! seems worth it to me.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, I only use calculators when i there is a high risk of miscalculation , especially if not all the involve numbers are integers (e.g adding up fractions)

- 4 years, 9 months ago

I always try to avoid calculator while doing problems in brilliant . Rarely for some problems which need manual calculation with more time , i use calculator

- 4 years, 9 months ago

if the calculation is getting too long (however dat generally doesn't happens) and we know how to proceed manually we can use calculator.....[i think so]

- 4 years, 9 months ago

While I agree that it's useful to be proficient at arithmetic (useful for remembering certain numbers' properties and occasionally mildly entertaining), there's nothing particularly high or noble about it. I enjoy (and think I get most out of) the necessity of creativity (that is, being confused and trying to fix that), not the drudgery, in solving a problem. If I've worked out exactly what algorithm to apply to a problem and know I'm capable of carrying it out, it becomes boring*, and the rest is checking whether I'm correct.

However, improving your own arithmetical speed will increase the speed of getting trivia out of the way for minor calculations. *a few solutions are appealing by their very nature and are nice to ponder, though

- 4 years, 9 months ago

it's fine to use a calculator sometimes!

- 4 years, 9 months ago