# Re: st: RE: sum: collapse vs egen

 From ciccarec@uniroma2.it To statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu Subject Re: st: RE: sum: collapse vs egen Date Sat, 05 Sep 2009 18:40:01 +0200

```Hello Nick,

Quoting "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>:
3. Not your question, but -egen, sum()- is a poor way to do a sum.

but in the numerical example I provided egen,sum() turns out to
provide the exact answer (8.76), which I can't get using collapse (sum).
My problem is that I never use "egen, sum" when working with real data
while I often use "collapse (sum)", that seems to be not very
appropriate.

I think the problem is in the way the "collapse" command and the "round"
function are related: I verified that if the line "gen double
r2=round(a*100)/100" (see after the "collapse" command) is separated
in 2 parts, like:
collapse (sum) a
gen double temp=a*100
gen double r2=round(temp)/100

The resulting r2  is correct (but I don't know why).

Many thanks,
Carlo

Quoting "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>:

```
```I have three comments here.

1. -egen- by default will generate -float- variables (unless you have
-set type double-). So, you shouldn't be surprised to lose a little
precision there. Functions like -round()- that may make knife-edge
decisions are likely to show this up. The first FAQ cited below is a
similar case.

2. This is all part of a larger issue: Stata works in binary. Stata does
not do decimal arithmetic!

See for example

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Results of the mod(x,y)
function
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N. J. Cox and T. J.
Steichen
2/03    Why does the mod(x,y) function sometimes give
puzzling results?
Why is mod(0.3,0.1) not equal to 0?
http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/data/mod.html

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  The accuracy of the float
data type
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . W.
Gould
5/01    How many significant digits are there in a float?
http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/data/prec.html

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . Comparing floating-point values (the float
function)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J.
Wernow
3/01    Why can't I compare two values that I know are equal?
http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/data/float.html

FAQ     . . . . . . . . .  Why am I losing precision with large whole
numbers?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  UCLA Academic Technology
Services
7/08    http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/faq/longid.htm

SJ-8-2  pr0038  Mata Matters: Overflow, underflow & IEEE floating-point
format
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J. M.
Linhart
Q2/08   SJ 8(2):255--268                                 (no
commands)
focuses on underflow and overflow and details of how
floating-point numbers are stored in the IEEE 754
floating-point standard

SJ-6-4  pr0025  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Mata matters:
Precision
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . W.
Gould
Q4/06   SJ 6(4):550--560                                 (no
commands)
looks at programming implications of the floating-point,
base-2 encoding that modern computers use

SJ-6-2  dm0022  . Tip 33: Sweet sixteen: Hexadec. formats & precision
problems
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  N.
J. Cox
Q2/06   SJ 6(2):282--283                                 (no
commands)
tip for using hexadecimal formats to understand precision
problems in Stata

3. Not your question, but -egen, sum()- is a poor way to do a sum. A
better way is -summarize, meanonly-. However, I guess that your real
problem is understanding what -egen- does with some real data, but
nevertheless note using -summarize- directly and picking up r(sum) is
always better for a single sum.

Nick
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk

Carlo

Here is my code:

clear
version 9.2
set obs 1
gen double a=3.86
save data1,replace

clear
set obs 1
gen double a=4.895
save data2,replace

use data1,clear
append using data2
egen sum=sum(a)
gen double r1=round(sum*100)/100
list
collapse (sum) a
gen double r2=round(a*100)/100
list

Why are r1 and r2 not equal ?

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```
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