are int, float, long, double, side-effects of computer engineering?

Xah Lee xahlee at
Tue Mar 6 02:11:09 CET 2012

some additional info i thought is relevant.

are int, float, long, double, side-effects of computer engineering?

Xah Lee wrote:
«… One easy way to measure it is whether a programer can read and
understand a program without having to delve into its idiosyncrasies.

Chris Angelico wrote:
«Neither the behavior of ints nor the behavior of IEEE floating point
is a "quirk" or an "idiosyncracy". …»

they are computer engineering by-products. Are quirks and
idiosyncracies. Check out a advanced lang such as Mathematica. There,
one can learn how the mathematical concept of integer or real number
are implemented in a computer language, without lots by-products of
comp engineering as in vast majority of langs (all those that chalks
up to some IEEEEEEE. (which, sadly, includes C, C++, perl, python,
lisp, and almost all. (Common/Scheme lisp idiots speak of the jargon
“number tower” instead IEEEE.) (part of the reason almost all langs
stick to some IEEEEEEEE stuff is because it's kinda standard, and
everyone understand it, in the sense that unix RFC (aka really fucking
common) is wide-spread because its free yet technically worst. (in a
sense, when everybody's stupid, there arise a cost to not be

A friend asked: «Can you enlighten us as to Mathematica's way of
handling numbers, either by a post or a link to suitable
documentation? …»

what i meant to point out is that Mathematica deals with numbers at a
high-level human way. That is, one doesn't think in terms of float,
long, int, double. These words are never mentioned. Instead, you have
concepts of machine precision, accuracy. The lang automatically handle
the translation to hardware, and invoking exact value or infinite
precision as required or requested.

in most lang's doc, words like int, long, double, float are part of
the lang, and it's quick to mention IEEE. Then you have the wide-
spread overflow issue in your lang. In M, the programer only need to
think in terms of math, i.e. Real number, Integer, complex number,
precision, accuracy, etc.

this is what i meat that most lang deals with computer engineering by-
products, and i wished them to be higher level like M.


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