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Calculator Programming Tutorial

Preface

This section of Brian’s Casio Calculator Corner is intended to teach the skills necessary to create programs for the Casio CFX-9850G and FX-7400G calculators. These calculators are programmable, and so expandable at no expense — other than the user’s time and effort. These calculators are actually small portable computers, and programming them can serve as an excellent introduction to programming their larger cousins.

The calculators, although physically small, are by no means “toy” programming platforms. The computational power of these calculators greatly exceeds that of the early “mainframe” computers such as the ENIAC and early embedded computers such as those on the Apollo lunar landing craft, and rivals that of early commercial computers such as the smaller IBM 360 models. Although computationally powerful, the calculators have limited capabilities for input and output, and so are best suited for scientific problem solving, rather than commercial data processing. In this realm, however, the calculators excel. Their graphics display capability makes their data presentation capability exceed that of standard computer systems in the mid-1970s.

The resources necessary to follow this tutorial are minimal: you will need a web browser to read the tutorial, and a FX-7400G or CFX-9850G calculator to do the exercises. A web browser implementing JavaScript can be used for the JavaScript parts, and Microsoft Word can be used for the Visual Basic for Applications parts, but these are optional.

There are two degrees of familiarity with a discipline possible. One can know that certain concepts exist and interact, or one can truly understand the concepts and know how they work. In standard frame construction work, for example, studs can be toe nailed into headers and footers, and joists into beams. However, there are joist hangers, so one need not toe nail joists, but no stud feet to avoid toe nailing studs. Until you have actual experience toe nailing studs and joists, though, the reason for this difference is not apparent, and the implications of joist hangers in frame construction work are opaque.

Similarly, there is some value in just reading this tutorial. However, the exercises actually are planned as an integral part of the learning experience: they are not there just because exercises are traditional in tutorials. I advise anyone seriously intending to learn about calculator programming to actually do the exercises.

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Copyright © 2001 Brian Hetrick
Page last updated 13 January 2002.

Brian’s Casio Calculator Corner

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