[PYTHON MATRIX-SIG] type coercion one more time

Guido van Rossum guido@CNRI.Reston.VA.US
Thu, 25 Jan 1996 11:27:05 -0500

>    > No automatic coercion will take place between these precisions.
>    This surprises me (especially since C does support float -> double
>    coercions).  Would you care to explain it?
> Naive users of the system are only expected to use arrays of longs,
> doubles, and complex doubles.  I wanted to make sure that all of the
> automatic coercion rules would work for these most frequently used
> types so that they'll work just like the corresponding python scalars.
> On the other hand, I see the other types as being used for cases where
> the programmer really wants to use a particular precision, ie. 2-byte
> integers for dealing with 16-bit sound data.  In a case like this it
> seems decidely unfriendly to automatically coerce to another
> precision.
> One can imagine dividing each sample in a sound by 2, and then trying
> to play it back and hearing garbage because it got automatically
> converted to an array of longs during the division.

I see your point, but I am uneasy with the solution.  Shouldn't there
be a "divide in place" operation for this case that coerces constants
the other way?  (I haven't followed all the details -- you may have it
already or you may have a good reason for not having it.)

I guess that you also don't check for overflow on such operations --
suppose I multiply each sample by 2 and it doesn't fit...  This is
also different than Python's own numeric operations, but again I can
see the reason why (and I don't object in this case).

I guess I won't complain too loudly as long as you also have a way to
coerce an array of shorts into an array of longs.

(BTW, on 64-bit machines, there are three relevant int sizes.  Do you
support this?)

> I do have one other possible set of rules that I would be happy with.
> These are basically the same as the last post, except:
> 4) Coercion to a higher precision is allowed within the main
> groupings.
> 5) The precision of a python scalar is allowed to change to match the
> other arguments (3.14 can be either a float or a double depending on
> which one is "desired").

Some examples, please?  Where else is coercion applied?  It does sound
like it could be a good compromise.

> I don't like this rule, but without it I think that it is too easy to
> get bitten by python scalars when writing "real" code.


> Does this make sense?
> Do people prefer this revised scheme?

I'm not sure.  More input, please...

--Guido van Rossum <guido@CNRI.Reston.VA.US>
URL: <http://www.python.org/~guido/>

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