(j3.2006) (SC22WG5.5829) WG5: Harmonizing terminology in N2113 with ISO 80000-1
Thu Dec 22 13:19:33 EST 2016
The following message from a non-member was rejected by the WG5 mail server and has only just come to my attention. It is forwarded in case it is of interest. The table, originally in html, has been reformatted into plain text. I trust it is legible.
From: Marcus Foster <marcus.foster at outlook.com>
To: "sc22wg5 at open-std.org" <sc22wg5 at open-std.org>
Subject: WG5: Harmonizing terminology in N2113 with ISO 80000-1
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2016 02:19:30 +0000
Dear members of WG5
I congratulate you on articulating the importance of unit-of-measure checking in scientific programs and preparing a draft TS (N2113). To quote an Australian political slogan of 1972, "It's time".
Permit me to comment on the terminology used in that draft TS, as it is inconsistent with ISO 80000-1 Quantities and units - general, the ISO standard which underpins scientific measurement.
A brief history: the language of science (quantities, units, dimensions etc) has been used differently by different disciplines. Following Dimensional Analysis (Bridgeman, 1922), engineers described the cgs and MKS as three-dimensional systems of units. The first edition of the SI Brochure (BIPM, 1970) lists quantities and units, but not dimensions and so on. In my experience, the computer-science literature tends to use these terms loosely and consequently can blur these concepts.
The Joint Committee on Metrology (JCGM) set 'quantity' as the primary concept in systems of units, and published the International Vocabulary of Measurement (VIM) in 1978, and VIM3 in 2012. ISO 80000-1 is based on VIM3. It defines and gives synonyms and commentary for terms related to measurement. The terms of interest here are 'quantity' (no synonyms), 'base quantity', 'quantity dimension' ('dimension of a quantity', 'dimension'), and 'unit of measurement' ('measurement unit', 'unit').
Here are some changes that can be made to N2113 to harmonize it with ISO notation and scientific practice. In particular, the terms on the first two columns of the table in Shortcomings 1 are reversed; and the term 'fundamental' is not used as a qualifier in the BIPM SI brochures nor ISO 80000
Location N2113 term ISO 80000 term
Title and elsewhere numerical quantities quantities
P.v, shortcomings 1, exponents of fundamental exponents of base
line 4 dimensions quantities
P.v, shortcomings 1, exponents for the fundamental exponents for the SI
line 7 SI units or dimensions base units or dimensions
P.v, shortcomings 1, Fundamental SI unit SI base quantity
P.v shortcomings 1, Fundamental SI dimension SI base unit
P.vi, shortcomings 2, ISO fundamental units SI base quantities
P.vi, shortcomings 2, non-physical dimensions Non-physical quantities
P.vi, shortcomings 2, Dimensions that are not quantities that are not
line 6 described using exponents of described using exponents
fundamental dimensions of base quantities
P.vi, shortcomings 4, distinguish units distinguish quantities
line 1 (e.g., length from time) (e.g., length from time
but not dimensions or measures but not units (e.g., pounds
(e.g., pounds from kilograms). from kilograms).
P.vi, shortcomings 5, different type for each different type for each
line 1 measure unit
P.1 line 6 Fundamental SI units SI base quantities
P.1 line 11 fundamental SI dimensions Si base units
P.9, 5.1 third dot distinguish different measures distinguish different
point of the same fundamental units of the same
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