float / double support in Python?

Brandon Van Every vanevery at 3DProgrammer.com
Wed Feb 12 02:30:49 CET 2003

Alexander Schmolck wrote:
> "Brandon Van Every" <vanevery at 3DProgrammer.com> writes:
>> You think we should all use 64-bit integers because some machines do
>> it natively, and others can do it with an emulation library?  You
>> think we should all use 2-byte wide chars because the Japanese need
>> them?  Why stop at 8-byte doubles then?  Why not implement arbitrary
>> precision integer and floating point libraries?  Well, because on
>> real computers, efficiency and storage are issues, duh.
> What exactly is your problem with figuring out that whether individual
> floating points numbers are represented as doubles or singles by
> python makes about 0 difference memory and speedwise, given all the
> object overhead?

Because it's not actually 0.  Making everything in the world a 64-bit int
because that's elegant for your implementation, when the underlying HW does
not directly support it, introduces much more bloat in space and time than
is needed.  The leaner Python is, the more jobs you can do with it before
having to drop down to a lower level language.

> And if you had
> ever bothered to read the docs you'd know that python indeed *has*
> arbitrary precision integer arithmetic.

Maybe you haven't realized that I don't consider it my job to have read the
Python docs.  Having said that, I *did* read the Python docs... about a year
ago.  I did not bite on Python at that time.  I filed it away for future
reference.  I pick people's brain here to save me time, not to prove how
much I know about Python.

> And yes, we should all use
> multibyte chars, because guess what, out of the about 6 billion
> people around only a fraction exclusively uses characters in the
> ascii range

Then why is this newsgroup in English?  Why is so much code written in

> and even some english speakers have been known to use
> mathematical or other symbols, or spell naïve and given the bloat of
> the average word or xml document, the overhead for nonascii really
> isn't going to kill anyone.

Spoken like a guy with a broadband connection.

> So in other words, its OK to waste other people's time asking them
> for free help

Yep!  Damn straight it is.  If it's easy for me to ask, and easy for you to
answer, that's a totally fair exchange.  I *hate* people who think you're
supposed to go RTFM for every F thing.  It's a big waste of time.

> (often about things a 14 year old could look up in seconds)

Spoken like someone who already knows the lay of the land.

> when you are tired, irritable and have even less
> intellectual capacity then when you're awake? Well, I guess by now
> even the most goodwilled will have had enough.

Who the hell cares?  I'm not a worse person because I asked you what you
consider to be a contemptible question.  I'll play this ego game in 3D
graphics, where I try to bill myself as an expert, but I'll be darned if I'm
going to play it for every Tom, Dick, and Harry programming tool / language
/ API out there.  I've got fingers, you've got fingers, we can use 'em if we
feel like it.

> So if python isn't good for 3D programming why are you still here?

To see if any additional information has accrued on the various threads I
started.  But I am pretty close to the end of the cycle.  My "view replies
to my posts" filter only shows your post and someone else's.

> Aren't you missed somewhere?

No I'm not, actually.  Are you genuinely interested in the flow of my life?

Cheers,                         www.3DProgrammer.com
Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

20% of the world is real.
80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.

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