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The HP 12C is a programmable financial calculator used for calculations related to Financial Mathematics, such as: simple and compound interest, amortization, profitability. The HP-12C calculator uses the RPN method, which introduces the idea of cash flow into the calculator, using different signals for input and output of resources.
Unlike traditional calculators, which use traditional algebraic methods, the Financial HP uses the Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) method, which allows for more direct reasoning during formulation and makes better use of memory.
Reverse Polish notation (RPN) is a method of mathematical notation in which mathematical expressions are represented by a sequence of numbers and operators, with the operators following their operands. It is also known as "postfix notation" or "Polish postfix notation".
In RPN, the operator comes after the operands, for example, instead of writing "2 + 3" in infix notation (the notation most commonly used), you would write "2 3 +" in RPN. Similarly, instead of writing "2 * (3 + 4)" in infix notation, you would write "2 3 4 + *" in RPN. This notation eliminates the need for parentheses, and avoids the need for the order of operations.
RPN calculators use RPN as the standard input method. The input is typed with the numbers first and then the operator, after which the result is immediately displayed. RPN calculators often have several level stack to hold multiple values, which allows for more complex calculations to be performed.
RPN notation is less common than infix notation and may be difficult for some people to get used to. However, many people find it more efficient and intuitive once they become familiar with it. Some specialized calculators such as HP calculators uses this notation, and some software also uses this notation for more advance calculations.
Polish mathematician Jan Lucasiewicz invented Polish notation in the 1920s, where operators precede operands. In the late 1950s, Australian philosopher and computer scientist Charles L. Hamblin suggested putting operators after operands, creating reverse Polish notation.
For example, the following RPN expression will produce the sum of 7 and 2, which is 9: 7 2 +.
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