Serious numerical bug in Excel 2007

September 29th, 2007 | Categories: math software | Tags:

One thing you might reasonably expect computers to do correctly is to multiply two numbers together. Last week though, it transpired that Microsoft Excel 2007 is struggling a bit and needs to go to night classes in order to brush up on arithmetic. If you try to calculate 850*77.1 then Excel 2007 returns the result 100000 which is a little way off from the correct answer of 65,535. Oops!

I discovered this bug in the blog at Wolfram Research but after a little googling it turns out that The Register has also mentioned it. It is not quite as serious as it first looks though – According to this Microsoft blog the bug is only in the function that displays the result. The correct answer is in memory and will be used in subsequent calculations.

I guess that there will be a fix soon but until then feel free to show all of your friends that Excel 2007 can’t do basic mathematics.

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