Education Technology

Solution 34574: Unexpected Complex Answer Results (i Imaginary) on the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition.

Why does the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition not return -i when calculating i^7?

The answer displayed when calculating i7 is the complex number -3E-13-i. The real part, -3E-13, is an approximation of zero. Thus, -3E-13-i is the same as 0-i which is equal to -i. With certain computations, these calculators use very sophisticated algorithms to calculate the most accurate answer possible. The same algorithm will also approximate for zero for other examples such as i8 or i9.

Some calculators use rounding schemes to generate expected answers within a certain tolerance. However, this has the potential to create problems in some types of calculations. Therefore, Texas Instruments decided to use no rounding schemes on the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition graphing calculator.

Please see the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition guidebook for additional information.