pep proposal : A date object for the standard library

Robin Becker robin at
Fri Dec 7 03:46:40 EST 2001

In article <3C100EFF.6EEA6C7A at>, Greg Ewing
<greg at> writes
>Chris Barker wrote:
>> I would
>> argue that applications that deal with nanoseconds are of a different
>> breed than those that deal with day, month, year type calculations.
>I'm not sure that's true. Consider something like generating
>timestamps for transactions. They need to be unique over
>a long time, and need quite fine-grained accuracy as well,
>certainly much less than a second. Even microseconds might
>be too coarse -- today's processors can do a LOT of
>computation in a microsecond!
>I suggest femtoseconds. It's the smallest time unit I've
>heard anyone talk about. If you need something smaller
>you're probably a bleeding-edge particle physicist with
>more things to worry about than finding a time module...
I think there may be a need for a long term dating system, but that
isn't the same as counting femtoseconds. The IAU routinely adjust
sidereal time with leap seconds etc as the Earth's rotation changes.

A true dating system would need to take such events into account as
otherwise transactions could take place in non-time. Of course the
difficulty is not that of counting the femtoseconds but of mapping them
back into our familiar days and months.
Robin Becker

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