Does python suck or I am just stupid?

Steve Holden sholden at
Mon Feb 24 14:20:10 CET 2003

"Gareth McCaughan" <Gareth.McCaughan at> wrote in message
news:slrnb5igjn.1b05.Gareth.McCaughan at g.local...
> News M Claveau /Hamster-P wrote (replying to me):
> > >>> Unfortunately, there's no way to make computer arithmetic work
> > >>> the way everyone expects
> >
> >  and BCD ?
> What about it? Working in decimal is not enough, on its own,
> to make everyone happy. If you work in limited precision,
> there will *always* be nasty numerical gotchas. If you work
> in unlimited precision, then you're doing full rational
> arithmetic rather than decimal as such, and there will be
> nasty performance gotchas instead. Not to mention that some
> people may be freaked out by getting answers expressed in
> rational form...

Not to mention that some numbers are irrational, and therefore can never be
computed no matter how far you extend precision.

The real (no pun intended) problem is that if a person doesn't understand
that many number representations are approximate anyway it's difficult to
persuade them than a digital calculator with ten significant digits doesn't
represent Absolute Truth.

whereas-we-know-you-need-at-least-fifteen-digits-ly y'rs  - steve
Steve Holden                        
Python Web Programming       
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