An IBM advertisement in the March 2011 Atlantic starts “A computer has no problem solving the following equation, in a few hundredths of a second:” Then this hand-scrawled expression:
This is not an equation and therefore cannot be “solved.” It is a mathematical expression and may be evaluated or simplified if desired. If the IBM ad agency copy editor had turned in this work to me, he or she would have found the abbreviated notation for wrong word and a minus one on their paper. Precision in language is as important in mathematics as in any other field probably more important. In my developmental classes I particularly emphasize the correct use of the words like equation, expression, solve, and simplify. So “When to Call an Equation an Equation”? When it really is an equation. At the very least there needs to be an equal sign.
Note: “A few hundredths of a second” sounds like an awful long time to do that calculation. Are IBM’s computers that slow?