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14.1. Understanding Math Lingo

If you haven't attended a high school math class recently, you may run into math terminology in this chapter that sounds Greek to you. These definitions should help you better understand the operations described later in this chapter:


An array is essentially just a listing of data that is stored in rows and columns. For example, an array could be represented as A1:B5. When a function requires an array as the value for an argument it is looking for a corresponding group of cells.


An exponent indicates the power to which a number should be raised, such as 42, which raises the number 4 to the power of 2 (2 is the exponent). The exponent is always indicated on the right side of the number. When a number is raised to an exponential power it basically just means that the number will be multiplied by itself the number of times specified by the exponent (i.e., 42 is equivalent to 4 x 4).


A factorial is the product of multiplying the numbers starting at 1, up to and including the factorial number. For example, the factorial of 5 would be calculated as 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5. Keep in mind that a factorial of is equal to 1.


Hyperbolic functions are designed to work with a plane curve that is generated by plotting a series of values. On a hyperbolic curve, the distance between any two points is always consistent for the entire curve.


A matrix is an array of elements that has rows and columns. Matrices are manipulated using various formulas detailed in this chapter. A matrix is typically expressed in the form outlined in Figure 14-1. Although matrices can have any number of rows and columns, the matrix functions available within Excel only work with matrices that have an equal number of rows and columns (referred to as square matrices).



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