Excel
Spreadsheets

By Tonya C. Brooks

I decided to take a
look at what I could do while playing around in Excel Spreadsheet for this
investigation, and I found that at a certain point, Excel wasnÕt able to help
me much but I will talk about this later in this blip.

I decided to see how
long I could get a particular pattern to run. I wanted to take a set of four numbers and repeat a pattern
of taking the absolute value of the differences between one number and the next
and then see how long I could go before I get down to zero.

I set up my problem
in this way. At first, I was
putting in four numbers. I set up
the Excel sheet to take the absolute value of A - B, B - C, C - D and D –
A for the rows below my given numbers.
This way, my sheet was automatically filled for me.

After playing around
with little success on what ransom numbers I was choosing, I decided to try
some that contained patterns. For
example, I tried numbers like 2, 4, 8 and 16. I noticed that with certain numbers, this pattern would give
me a few more repetitions than I had before. IÕm a little thick headed, so I tried several other numbers
before I decided to try the pattern of exponents. Once I did this, things went pretty smoothly. It also helps that we explored this a
little in class as a group.

I tried several
different patterns of exponents, and I was finally able to end up with a string
that lasted 54 rows using the pattern of squaring, cubing and fourth powers of
a number, and then tried several whole numbers as well as decimals. However, at this point, I realized that
with my technology I wasnÕt able to continue as easily. The downside to using Excel is that we are
only able to input a string of numbers so long. After a string of 15 digits, Excel will not accept any more
digits and will not work with a longer string.

So, one question is:
Will the process always end up giving us a string of zeros? Well, at first I thought that the
answer to this question was yes but after playing around and getting the string
I ended up with, I began to think that the answer might be maybe not. Since I kept getting longer periods
before getting that string of zeros by adding certain digits onto the string. I think that if we had a computer
program that was capable of working with longer strings of digits that we would
be able to generate longer and longer periods of rows before we ended up with a
set of zeros. I just donÕt think
that the average person is able to afford a program that will allow us to delve
into this project any farther.