RE: Nitpicky word question: matrix vs. table?

Subject: RE: Nitpicky word question: matrix vs. table?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 08:29:49 -0500

Steve Hudson responds in more detail: <<Every element in matrix is related
to its neighbouring elements. You cannot
take an element out of a matrix and expect it to have any meaning. It is
only through its relationship with the other entities that it expresses its
value. Generally speaking, a table cell only bears linear relationships with
the headings on its x and y axis.>>

Much clearer, thanks; in effect, a table is a matrix for which the
relationships between the row and column elements are set in stone as soon
as you define the row and column labels (thereby usually confining
relationships to purely horizontal or purely vertical within the table). But
(a) that's still an oversimplification, since many tables require you to
compare two or more rows or columns of data simultaneously, just as in a
matrix, and (b) that more precise definition still doesn't rebut my original
point, namely that outside mathematics, the two meanings are essentially

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that
English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words;
on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them
unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."-- James D. Nicoll


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