[Python-Dev] Caching float(0.0)

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Mon Oct 2 17:34:39 CEST 2006

Michael Hudson schrieb:
>> 1. it is possible to determine whether the value is "special" in
>>    constant time, and also fetch the singleton value in constant
>>    time for ints; the same isn't possible for floats.
> I don't think you mean "constant time" here do you?  

Right; I really wondered whether the code was dependent or independent
of the number of special-case numbers.

> I think most of
> the code posted so far has been constant time, at least in terms of
> instruction count, though some might indeed be fairly slow on some
> processors -- conversion from double to integer on the PowerPC
> involves a trip off to memory for example.

Kristian's code testing only for integers in a range would be of
that kind. Code that tests for a list of literals determined
at compile time typically needs time "linear" with the number of
special-cased constants (of course, as that there is a fixed
number of constants, this is O(1)).

>> 2. it may be that there is a loss of precision in reusing an existing
>>    value (although I'm not certain that this could really happen).
>>    For example, could it be that two values compare successful in
>>    ==, yet are different values? I know this can't happen for
>>    integers, so I feel much more comfortable with that cache.
> I think the only case is that the two zeros compare equal, which is
> unfortunate given that it's the most compelling value to cache...

Thanks for pointing that out. I can believe this is the only case
in IEEE-754; I also wonder whether alternative implementations
could cause problems (although I don't really worry too much
about VMS).


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