Thread: 6÷2(1+2) = ? View Single Post
May 9th, 2011, 08:35 AM   #188 (permalink)
Ichapp
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by novox77 Order of operations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Scroll down to "Gaps in the Standard." What this section states (or implies) is that if you try to interpret 6÷2(1+2) strictly by the HUMAN-MADE order of operations, it is ambiguous. The system is not perfect. There are gaps where additional parens are needed to remove ambiguity. But as long as ambiguity exists, it can go multiple ways. Of course the problem is, most people don't believe that it's ambiguous; they think there must be a correct answer and that their interpretation of PEDMAS is absolutely correct. And in both directions, it's a correct interpretation. That is the definition of ambiguous. That's the reason people are split 50/50 no matter where this question is posed. It doesn't matter how many PhDs you have and in what field. I'm sure there are super-intellects on both camps. The right answer is: don't expect a consensus until you add parentheses to the original problem to make it unambiguous. The problem was designed to exploit the gap in the order of operations.
This. Definitely this.

I was going to write a massive reply to a whole bunch of posts, but novox has got it under wraps quite elegantly.

The only other thing I have to say on the matter is to correct those among you who think that left/right has any precedence. IT DOESN'T MATTER AT ALL.