class inheritance

Robert Kern robert.kern at
Wed Mar 17 00:32:04 CET 2010

On 2010-03-16 17:55 PM, JLundell wrote:
> On Mar 16, 8:06 am, Robert Kern<robert.k... at>  wrote:
>> On 2010-03-16 07:35 AM, Dave Angel wrote:
>>> Carl Banks wrote:
>>>> On Mar 15, 4:34 pm, JLundell<jlund... at>  wrote:
>>>>> It's also unfortunate that Python doesn't have an approximately-equal
>>>>> operator; it'd come in handy for floating-point applications while
>>>>> preserving hash. If only there were a ~=r ≈ operator I could
>>>>> overload. And ~ is unary, so no joy.
>>>> One problem with it is that there's no way to make it universal;
>>>> different appiplications have different ideas of close. Conceivably
>>>> it could be usefully defined for a user type though..
>>>> Bacause of this problem almost no languages have an almost equal
>>>> operator. I'm curious what languages do, of if there are any with a
>>>> trinary operator that also takes a threshold.
>>>> Carl Banks
>>> If I recall correctly, APL has a *fuzz* value, which is used in all(?)
>>> comparisons. But I do not recall anything about how it was defined. I do
>>> recall that you could change the threshold, and suspect it was relative
>>> to the operands. For symmetry, it would probably have to be relative to
>>> the average of the two values, or some such.
>> The problem is that frequently there is no system-wide fuzz value which is
>> appropriate for all comparisons in a given program. You need to choose the right
>> value for each comparison. Consequently, you might as well use a function
>> instead of an operator and a global variable.
>> --
>> Robert Kern
> APL scaled their fuzz to the larger of the values being compared.

I know. My statement stands for relative fuzz values as well as it does for 
absolute fuzz values. :-)

> In
> my case, my domain permits me to use a constant fuzz; all my units are
> the same (votes, as it happens). I've seen abs(a/b-1) used instead of
> abs(a-b); obviously you'd need to treat comparison with zero
> specially.

One usually uses a combination of relative and absolute tolerances to account 
for the case when the values are close to zero.

> But yeah, it's really a domain-specific problem.

Right. And a single program might need to deal with multiple domains, so a 
single global setting to control a language feature is pretty fragile.

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
  that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
  an underlying truth."
   -- Umberto Eco

More information about the Python-list mailing list