Student creates app for better, faster calculations

Need a quick calculation? UW-Green Bay student Shawn Snyder has an app for that.

It was something Snyder never thought he would be able to say — at least in reference to his own application for a precision-based calculator.

But now the UW-Green Bay senior can use the popular catchphrase in a personal way, having created his own application that is faster and more precise then a regular device. It’s a little app that could make a big difference, according to Associate Prof. Peter Breznay, chair of UW-Green Bay’s Computer Science program.

“Shawn’s arbitrary precision calculator is part of a bigger dream on his part,” Breznay said. “He is developing a complex physics modeling program that could be used for cutting-edge research in science.”

Snyder’s idea for an app came about as he was working on creating the math behind a general physics stimulator.

“I had already created the math module,” he said. “And I thought I already have 90 percent of the app. I might as well create it.”

Once Snyder decided to create the app he spent many hours getting it to run quickly, which was one of his biggest challenges. He has spent the last two years tweaking the app and getting it ready for release.

Priced at $1.49, Snyder’s app can be purchased through the Windows 8 program.

“There is no other app like this out there right now,” he said. “There are plenty of calculators out but they are all limited in their precision window.”

This is a huge benefit to users, Snyder said, because they can get an extremely precise answer in a short amount of time. Many other applications need a lot more time to produce an answer that is even less precise.

A regular calculator is limited to a certain amount of digits, but Snyder was able to create an app that does not have these limitations. His adjustable fixed-precision calculator helps users compute functions with up to 16,000 digits of precision, including decimals.

“Making that program limitlessly accurate is the first challenge Shawn solved,” Breznay said. “I am really looking forward to seeing his future scientific applications. The calculator in and by itself, however, is a very impressive app on a mobile platform.”

The application is titled, “Fixed Calculator” and can be found in Windows, under the App category: Tools + Productivity. It can be run on a Desktop and a Tablet. Snyder will soon be releasing a version compatible for cell phones.
Story by Channel Aries, Marketing and University Communication editorial intern
Photo by Eric Miller, Marketing and University Communication