newbie: precision question

Lada Kugis lada.kugis at
Sat Mar 21 05:02:57 CET 2009

On 21 Mar 2009 03:34:18 GMT, Steven D'Aprano
<steve at> wrote:

Hello Steven,
thanks for answering on such short notice,
>Floats in Python don't have infinite precision.
>Ints (or longs) can have infinite precision. Try calculating (say) 
>1234567**315*24689 and you should get 1923 digits. By the way, you can do 
>calculations on ints with tens of thousands of digits *much* faster than 
>you can print those same ints: on my computer, calculating all 75199 
>digits of 1234567**12345 takes less than an eye-blink, while printing it 
>takes ages.

Yes, I've tried things like
>>> print 2**10000
(gives a large, really mind-boggingly huge big number :)

So, if I understood you right, integers can have infinite precision
and floating points are up to 16 digits (if I remember anything they
thought me in my C classes) because they cannot be represented exactly
in binary form. C representation, can of course vary according to
platform, compiler etc.

Normal integers are up to 10 digits, after which they become long
integers, right ?

But if integers can be exactly represented, then why do they need two
types of integers (long and ... uhmm, let's say, normal). I mean,
their error will always be zero, no matter what kind they're of.


>Floats, on the other hand, are effectively the same as double on the C 
>compiler for your platform.
>Does this answer your question?

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