# [Python-ideas] Why not picoseconds?

Alexander Heger python at 2sn.net
Mon Oct 16 07:03:18 EDT 2017

```w/r relativistic effects and continental drift - not really.  The speed is
about 1cm/yr or v = 1e-18 c.  Relativistic effect would go like 0.5 *
(v/c)**2, so more like 5E-37 in relative rate of proper time.  You can just
barely capture a few minutes of that even with int128 resolution.  As for
financial incentive for int128, considering the super-rich will get
exponentially more rich while inflation devalues the possession of the
rest, the super-rich will eventually have demand for int128 to be able to
count their wealth down to the last ct.  It's a lot for money, though.  A
lot more than the net value of all real things on the planet.  But the net
value of assets on people's bank accounts already exceeds that number by
some factor 50-100, and this factor will grow exponentially as more
financial "products" are being created.  When I was a student (~1990) we
had to create new bookkeeping software using int64 ("comp") because the
investment company could not deal with billions of dollars worth of Italian
Lira down to centimos otherwise.  Accounting needs will get us int128,
sooner than you think, don't worry.

Yes, it would be good to create routines than can handle time in units
provided, maybe as a string.  Or you could just create a time object that
handles this internally, e.g., algebraic operations, similar to numpy, at
the accuracy available.  You can access its value by providing the desired
divisor, and you may inquires the available precision.  If you want to
handle this properly, it may get you back to interval arithmetics.

Regarding concerns about the effect of gravity on your computer, there will
be a press release in a few h that may be of interest to some
https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/news/ligo20171011

-Alexander

On 16 October 2017 at 18:53, Greg Ewing <greg.ewing at canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

> Stephan Houben wrote:
>
>> Do we realize that at this level of accuracy, relativistic time
>> dilatation due to continental drift starts to matter?
>>
>
> Probably also want an accurate GPS position for your computer
> so that variations in the local gravitational field can be
> taken into account.
>
> --
> Greg
>
>
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