infinite precision (was Re: Against PEP 240)

Gareth McCaughan Gareth.McCaughan at pobox.com
Tue Jun 5 00:32:41 CEST 2001


Alex Martelli wrote:

> > >>>provide infinite-precision INTEGRAL arithmetic, what Roman was asking,
> > >>
> > >> C'mon, Alex, you know better than that: longs are unbounded precision,
> > >> not infinite precision.
> > >
> > >http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=infinite:
> >
> > The dictionary definitions don't represent the standard distinctions
> > used in CS.
> 
> Can you back up this bold assertion with quotes supporting
> your contention that (if I get you right?) "infinite precision"
> means nothing attainable on a (necessarily finite) computer
> while "unbounded precision" means something attainable?  I
> have quite a few counter-examples, such as:
[SNIP quite a few counter-examples]

For what it's worth, in mathematicians' usage there is definitely
a big difference between "infinite" and "unbounded". I conjecture,
without good evidence, that the same is true in computer science
apart from ... the very specific phrase "infinite precision". :-)

-- 
Gareth McCaughan  Gareth.McCaughan at pobox.com
.sig under construc



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