Something to keep in mind:

the math module is written in C, and will remain that way for the time being (see recent discussion on, I think, this list and also the discussion when we added math.isclose()

which means it will be for floats only.

My first thought is that not every one line function needs to be in the standard library. However, as this thread shows, there are some complications to be considered, so maybe it does make sense to have them hashed out.

Regarding NaN:

In [4]: nan = float('nan')

In [6]: nan > 5

Out[6]: False

In [7]: 5 > nan

Out[7]: False

This follows the IEEE spec -- so the only correct result from

clip(x, float('nan')) is NaN.

Steven D'Aprano wrote:

I don't care too much whether the parameters are mandatory or have
defaults, so long as it is *possible* to pass something for the lower
and upper bounds which mean "unbounded".

I think the point was that if one of the liimts in unbounded, then you can jsut use min or max...

though I think I agree -- you may have code where the limits are sometimes unbounded, and sometimes not -- nice to have a way to have only one code path.

(1) Explicitly pass -INFINITY or +INFINITY as needed;
but which

that's it then.

infinity, float or Decimal? If you pass the wrong one, you may have to
pay the cost of converting your values to float/Decimal, which could end
up expensive if you have a lot of them.

well, as above, if it's in the math module, it's only float.... you could add one ot the Decimal module, too, I suppose.

(2) Pass a NAN as the bounds. With my implementation, that actually
works! But it's a surprising accident of implementation, it feels wrong
and looks weird,

and violates IEEE754 -- don't do that.

(3) Use some special Infimum and Supremum objects which are smaller
than, and greater than, every other value. But we don't have such
objects, so you'd need to create your own.

that's what float('inf') already is -- let's use them.

(4) Use None as a placeholder for "no limit". That's my preferred
option.

reasonable enough -- and would make the API a bit easier -- both for matching different types, and because there is no literal or pre-existing object for Inf.

-Chris

On Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 7:47 PM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
On Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 09:38:44PM +0200, Victor Stinner wrote:
> I dislike this API. What's the point of calling clamp(x)? clamp(b, a) is
> min(a, b) and clamp(a, max_val=b) is just max(a, b).

You have that the wrong way around. If you supply a lower-bounds, you
must take the max(), not the min(). If you supply a upper-bounds, you
take the min(), not the max(). It's easy to get wrong.

> My point is that all parameters must be mandatory.

I don't care too much whether the parameters are mandatory or have
defaults, so long as it is *possible* to pass something for the lower
and upper bounds which mean "unbounded". There are four obvious
alternatives (well three obvious ones and one surprising one):

(1) Explicitly pass -INFINITY or +INFINITY as needed; but which
infinity, float or Decimal? If you pass the wrong one, you may have to
pay the cost of converting your values to float/Decimal, which could end
up expensive if you have a lot of them.

(2) Pass a NAN as the bounds. With my implementation, that actually
works! But it's a surprising accident of implementation, it feels wrong
and looks weird, and again, it may require converting the values to
float/Decimal.

(3) Use some special Infimum and Supremum objects which are smaller
than, and greater than, every other value. But we don't have such
objects, so you'd need to create your own.

(4) Use None as a placeholder for "no limit". That's my preferred
option.

Of course, even if None is accepted as "no limit", the caller can still
explicitly provide an infinity if they prefer.

As I said, I don't particularly care whether the lower and upper bounds
have default values. But I think it is useful and elegant to accept None
(as well as infinity) to mean "no limit".

--
Steve
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