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IBM developerWorks: Mondo math libs, A look at some of the math libraries for Linux

Jan 09, 2000, 15:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lou Grinzo)

"Programmers generally fall into two groups when it comes to using math. One group doesn't use floating point much, if at all, and typically needs integers only for the usual mundane purposes like loop control variables, counters, address arithmetic, and other simple calculations. This group's math needs rarely require the use of anything more exotic than a 32-bit signed integer. They deal with floating point arithmetic only when necessary. And when floating point arithmetic cannot be avoided, they tend to head for the path of least resistance, using whichever FP format is handy or forced on them. This group includes most system programmers, as well as non-scientific and non-financial coders."

"The second group includes the financial, scientific, and hobbyist programmers who don't just crunch numbers but mercilessly grind them until their CPU glows cherry red. They use online handles like "mantissaMan" and "sqrt-neg-one," and tell jokes with scientific notation punch lines. If you're wondering whether you are in this second group, you probably aren't."

"This sort of thinking let me to write about multiple-precision math (hereafter MPM) libraries. The fact that there's a seemingly endless list of implementations of MPM libs available on the net for Linux makes this topic valuable to both groups in our little programmer taxonomy."

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