IBM 610 workstation computer 3351
I don't have the 1976 MS BASIC, but I do have QBASIC from DOS 5.0. Are you saying if I do a SQRT on BASIC I'll get different results than if I do it in Excel? Any particular type of number that would show the discrepancies best?
IBM 610 workstation computer 3352
I've referred before to issue in the mid to late 70s about internal availability of 327x terminal...
It should be noted that part of the training of an engineer-scientist back in the 1950s was skills in quick math. They knew short cuts to get approximate results quickly.
To compete in student math compebreastions in those days you had to know shortcuts, it was just too complex to calculate the basic way in the time allowed.
To this day send people in whatever field have numeric and other benchmarks so they can quickly get an overview of a problem. For example, in my community, I know that every $3,000 of yearly expense adds about $1 per month per unit to the maintenance fee; it's a nice rule of thumb that comes in handy at meetings.
I don't know how it was done, but one such shortcut was easily wired in the IBM 604 punched card calculator control panel to take square roots.
By the way, IIRC the IBM 1620 wasn't wired at all to do math. Rather, they found it better to look it up in a table.