I was interested in tye's quip about dealing with unit specifications such as 'kg/m/m' vs 'kg/m^2'...so I started digging around on CPAN for tokenizers that might assist in normalizing unit representations. There's some infix/postfix stuff, as well as various tokenizers such as Math::Expr that might be of assistance here.
Perhaps more importantly, there's some unit conversion modules already out there that might bear further scrutiny:
Math::Units
ConvertUnits
Math::Calc::Units
Of these, the ConvertUnits bundle seems to be on the money, since in the author's words:
It is intentionally distinct from the Math::Units module. Why? The
Math::Units module implies that unit conversions are exact,
with onetoone relationships. This is fine for scientific work.
It's even fine for some general purpose/realworld uses (such as
converting Fehrenheight to Celcius).
Realworld measurement systems are conflicting. For instance, a "point"
in typography is equivalent to 1/72 inch, according to PostScript specs
and common usage. Other type systems consider it 1/72.27 inch, or 0.01383
inches, or 0.0148 inches. Outside of that context, a point may be 1/120
or 1/144 inch.
Common notations and abbreviations also depend on context. Does "12 pt"
mean "12 point", "12 parts" or "12 pints"?
Even without conflicts in the definition of a particular unit, there's no
need to convert point sizes for fonts into miles or lightyears. Typesetters,
surveyors and astronomers user different scales as well as systems.
Hope these are of assistance. At the very least, you can mine the modules for conversion tables!
Matt
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