They are programmed to work it out, much like a computer can do so many amazing things, including very difficult calculations. Peter can probably shed more light on this.

The mathematics that calculators do always has a right answer, so it is not hard to program a calculator (just like any computer) to do addition in the correct way, for example. I suppose you could program one incorrectly, but then the company wouldn’t want to sell it.

They do not “know” the right answer, they work it out just like you would.
When I was young, there were no electronic calculators – they used gears an cogs! Then electric calculators which could add, subtract, multiply and divide were available – these had special electric circuits to do the calculations. Now most calculators are, as David says, computers and run a program to do the calculations. They can also do many other functions like square roots.

Like @peter says, the calculator doesn’t know the right answer, but it can give you the correct answer if you ask it the right question. Something we used to call Garbage In = Garbage Out.

They are programmed to work it out, much like a computer can do so many amazing things, including very difficult calculations. Peter can probably shed more light on this.

0The mathematics that calculators do always has a right answer, so it is not hard to program a calculator (just like any computer) to do addition in the correct way, for example. I suppose you could program one incorrectly, but then the company wouldn’t want to sell it.

0@louiepop: they are programmed (with lots of rules that they can’t break) to work out the answer to the question you give them.

0They do not “know” the right answer, they work it out just like you would.

When I was young, there were no electronic calculators – they used gears an cogs! Then electric calculators which could add, subtract, multiply and divide were available – these had special electric circuits to do the calculations. Now most calculators are, as David says, computers and run a program to do the calculations. They can also do many other functions like square roots.

0Like @peter says, the calculator doesn’t know the right answer, but it can give you the correct answer if you ask it the right question. Something we used to call Garbage In = Garbage Out.

0