This math scares me

Steven D. Majewski sdm7g at virginia.edu
Tue Mar 13 23:50:33 CET 2001


On Tue, 13 Mar 2001, Grant Edwards wrote:

> In article <jwbnews-09D75F.13313313032001 at corp.supernews.com>, John W. Baxter wrote:
> >In article <984518199.127140 at newsmaster-04.atnet.at>,
> > "Werner Schiendl" <ws-news at gmx.at> wrote:
> >
> >Bill Gates got this right in the early days, delivering two
> >Basic interpreters: binary floating point for speed, and
> >decimal floating point for money and such.  
> 
> I don't know if you can credit Gates with doing anything other
> than following the pack.  Back when I first started doing
> software (CP/M 1.7), all language packages for "personal"
> computers came with both BCD and binary FP math libraries so
> you could do exact monetary calculations if you wanted.

Exactly what pack do you believe Gates was following ? 

You do know (don't you?) that Bill's BASIC predates not just
MS-DOS (which microsoft bought from another company) but CP/M
and just about any other "PC" software (and most of the hardware)
since the first version was written to run on the Altair computer --
which was the first microprocessor based personal computer. 
( I think you probably had to boost the memory up to 4K to get 
  Basic to run. ) 

> Of course we'd never imagined we'd ever see hardware FP and BCD
> libraries were only marginally slower than binary ones. Now
> that FP is usually in hardware, BCD FP (or fixed point) will be
> pretty slow by comparison.

-- Steve Majewski






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