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Old 06-25-2008, 11:31 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
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College: Illinois College ('87)
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Originally Posted by campbell View Post
So, after I've written a few articles on general principles of preventing/detecting spreadsheet error, I'm looking to see what direction I should go in.

I've got an idea for a technical article, talking about loss of precision in using floating-point arithmetic, and some tricks to consider to reduce that sort of thing (numerical analysis sorts of ideas.... I know quite a few actuaries have been exposed to this, but many more have not.)

Another idea was dealing with end-user risks, considerations, resources, etc.

Any ideas from people? What kinds of computing/programming/spreadsheet errors/issues would you like to read about?
I have a lot of experience with dealing with the floating point/loss of precision issue. One of my first tasks at my previous employer was re-writing our illustration system (actuarial version that was used to validate ITs version). FORTRAN was the language (ITs was in COBOL). The big "issue" was we needed to be able to match exactly with what would be printed on the policy page as sometimes our runs were used for client service work (often times with legal involved). So I had to use integer math for everything and keep track of how many decimal points were in each of my numbers. Not fun. I resorted to creating an iMult and iDiv function to call to keep things sane from a readability/debugging perspective. When we did the annual dividend updates and printed new rate pages for the agents (pre laptop days ), these runs took a very long time. IT was not happy with me, until we got something worked out to run these at more opportune times.
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