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Calc, the King of Calculators

Having invoked Emacs (well, you should have never aborted it in the first place) spawn a separate frame by typing C-x 5 2, or pulling down the Files menu and selecting Make New Frame. In the new frame invoke the Emacs Calculator by typing M-# b M-# c. Now enter our data from Figure 2.5 on page [*] as follows: 

[[1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10] \
[2.2p0.1 3.3p0.2 3.7p0.2 3.8p0.1 \
4.6p0.2 4.9p0.1 5.3p0.1 6.2p0.2 6.4p0.1 7.1p0.2]]
Do not type the backslashes. Type everything on one line. Do not type a return key at any stage either. Observe that as you type the data in, Emacs Calc reformats it in its own way, and places it on the stack. In particular sequences such as
2.2p0.1
are automatically converted to
2.2 +/- 0.1
When you have typed everything in, Calc should display the following in its main Calc window:
1:  [ [      1,           2,           3,           4,   $
      [ 2.2 +/- 0.1, 3.3 +/- 0.2, 3.7 +/- 0.2, 3.8 +/- 0.$
    .
You can scroll this listing left and right by pressing < and >  keys. At this stage there is just one data item on the stack. It is a very peculiar matrix whose top row contains the abscissa (xi) and the bottom row the ordinate with uncertainties ( $y_i \pm \sigma_i$).

You can now invoke a predefined xfit function  on that data by typing

IaF1[Ret]
and$\ldots$, lo and behold, Emacs Calc replaces the data matrix with a polymorphic array that looks as follows:
1:  [1.80828182942 +/- 0.0877310945595 + (0.515389369592 +/- 0.0143532455281) x, \
     [1.80828182942, 0.515389369592], \
     [ [ 7.69674495262e-3,  -1.12072517511e-3 ]  , [], 15.3104140915, 0.0533833610329]
       [ -1.12072517511e-3,  2.0601565719e-4  ] ]
    .
The backslashes are mine, to show line continuation. Otherwise the result wouldn't fit on the page. The first element of the matrix is a formula:
1.80828182942 +/- 0.0877310945595 + (0.515389369592 +/- 0.0143532455281) x
You should recognise this result. It tells us that

\begin{eqnarray*}a &=& 1.80828182942 \pm 0.0877310945595 \\
b &=& 0.515389369592 \pm 0.0143532455281
\end{eqnarray*}


The second element is a vector of [a, b]. The third element is a $2\times2$ matrix. We haven't computed that matrix before. It is the covariance matrix, whose diagonal elements are the variances $\sigma_a^2$ and $\sigma_b^2$, and the nondiagonal elements are the co-variances $\sigma_{ab}^2 = \sigma_{ba}^2$. The fourth element of the array is an empty list. Finally, the fifth and the sixth elements are chi2 = 15.3104140915, and Q = 0.0533833610329 (compare this with our discussion on page [*], Section 2.2.3).

Calc is awfully clever. It knows everything about linear fits. It  knows a lot about polynomial and multilinear fits too. It can even fit nonlinear models, such as exponentials, logarithms, power law, quadratic and gaussian.

Calc can produce Gnuplot graphics too. For example to plot the data  itself enter two vectors xi and yi as follows:

[1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10][2.2 3.3 3.7 3.8 4.6 4.9 5.3 6.2 6.4 7.1]
Calc will place them both on the stack, one under the other. Then invoke Calc function calc-graph-fast by typing
gf
The Gnuplot graph should appear on your display.

You can add further curves to this plot. For example in order to add to it the $\chi ^2$-fit curve, do as follows:

[1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10] '1.80828182942 + 0.515389369592 x
When you type the quotation mark Calc  will switch to an algebraic input mode. That's when you type in the formula. This should leave two items on the stack the vector [1..10] and the formula. Now add the plot of that formula with xi replaced by [1..10] to the graph with the command
ga
This will place you temporarily in the Gnuplot buffer, so that you can edit the resulting Gnuplot command, if you'd like to. Get out of there without typing anything, unless you know what you're doing! Type
C-x b
and change the buffer back to Calc. Once back in Calc type
gp
to finish the plot. You should now see two curves on the display. The measured data and the fitted data. There are no error bars, because Calc doesn't have a precooked function for that. But this plot is informative in its own right. It gives us a hint as to why Q is so low.

Using Calc interactively can be quite a pain, since long formulas may be difficult to edit and mistakes impossible to correct. Luckily, you can call Calc functions from your Elisp programs . The Calc function that hides behind the IaF1 key sequence is xfit. In order to call it from, say, a scratch buffer of your Emacs session proceed as follows. In the scratch buffer type

(calc-eval 
   "xfit(a + b x, x, [a, b],
         [[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10],
          [2.2 +/- 0.1, 3.3 +/- 0.2, 3.7 +/- 0.2, 3.8 +/- 0.1, 
           4.6 +/- 0.2, 4.9 +/- 0.1, 5.3 +/- 0.1, 6.2 +/- 0.2,
           6.4 +/- 0.1, 7.1 +/- 0.2]])")
You can edit it and modify to your liking. You can split it, indent it, and beautify in any way possible: new-lines and spaces are ignored by Calc in this context. Once you have finished typing it in, position Emacs cursor just after the last bracket and press C-j. When you do so Emacs/Calc will respond with:
"[1.80828182942 +/- 0.0877310945595 + (0.515389369592 +/- 0.0143532455281) x, \
  [1.80828182942, 0.515389369592], \
  [[7.69674495262e-3, -1.12072517511e-3], \
   [-1.12072517511e-3, 2.0601565719e-4]], \
  [], 15.3104140915, 0.0533833610329]"
The backslashes in the listing above are mine: Emacs types it all on a single line.

What happens here is as follows. xfit is the so called algebraic function equivalent of the IaF command. It has the following synopsis. Its first argument is the fit model. When conversing with IaF we can simply give a model number: 1 for a linear model. But when calling function xfit explicitly, we must define the model explicitly too. Here the model is given by a + bx. The second argument defines the independent variable, x, and the third argument gives the parameter list, [a, b]. Finally, we pass the data, in the same format as before, i.e., as a single matrix. Observe that this time, we have to type +/-, not p between yi and $\sigma _i$. The whole call to xfit is packed into a string, which is then passed as a single parameter to Emacs function calc-eval. This is quite like calling system in C. There the single argument to the system function call is a string that represents a shell command to be executed by function system. Here, the equivalent of that function is calc-eval, and the equivalent of shell is Calc.


next up previous index
Next: Calc Documentation Up: Calculators Previous: Calculators
Zdzislaw Meglicki
2001-02-26