When I was in jr. high school, I participated in some calculator skills type competitions. We got these weird HP calculators that used something called Reverse Polish notation. Although I imagine many of you are at least relatively familiar with the concept, here is the not at all confusing explanation from Wikipedia: *“Reverse Polish notation (RPN) is a mathematical notation in which every operator follows all of its operands, in contrast to Polish notation, which puts the operator in the prefix position. It is also known as postfix notation and is parenthesis-free as long as operator arities are fixed.*” (Wikipedia)

Mostly, I just remember that you plugged things in a different order, and if you practiced you could be fast at doing the maths. Then you would get to the competition, and there would be a couple of girls of a certain non-stereotypical nationality that would get through three times as many problems as anyone else. Either way, where have these oddball notation calculators gone? Are they still around in certain circles? Do you use one at work? Whatever happened to Reverse Polish notation?

Image from wired.com, via dataanxiety.tumblr.com.