RPN or not?

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RPN or not?

DSC_7337_001There is yet another discussion in HPmuseum.org about the future (if any) of the RPN/RPL entry method (henceforth called RP*, as it is cleverly done in that discussion)

There are a lot of sound opinions there. It is clear that no one of the posters is in denial about the real situation. RPN is the most effective entry method when speed is a fundamental factor (in chained calculations, for example), and when the user knows what he’s doing.

However, this doesn’t apply in an educational setting. There, it is much more important that the boy learns from what he’s doing - and RPN lacks the clarity and readability of algebraic/textbook data entry. Moreover, RPN is not compatible with most current CAS systems, which compounds the problem further. I wander how HP was able to squeeze RPN entry method in the HP Prime spec definition. Probably is the only thing that keeps the Prime a HP - both hardware and CAS have been developed elsewhere (although mainly by HP-related people: guys that have been working for (or with) HP for an extended period of time)

So what is the future for a RPN-enabled calculator? Will it live only as long as people as you and I live? My 12-year old son prefers RPN - but he has not huge experience in calculators. At least there is hope!

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José L. López |
Re: RPN or not?
About RP * from Barcelona, Spain.
- I use RPN at work.
- My daughter, aeronautical engineer, declined RPN. She uses only Casio algebraic (fellow students and working in an airline ignore RP*).
- My son uses HP-RPN. The only one of its school year in high school using an RPN calculator.

Young people start using algebraic calculators, easy and cheap. Later, they do not see advantages in RPN.
I think RPN currently is as a fun mind game. And interested few.
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