[Numpy-discussion] Re: Numpy-discussion digest, Vol 1 #112 - 8 msgs

Paul F. Dubois pauldubois at home.com
Thu Oct 12 10:17:53 CDT 2000


If I may ask, what kind of platforms are there where
people do math where the hardware *won't* support IEEE-754?
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The problem isn't that the hardware doesn't support it, although there used
to be some important machines that didn't. (Burton Smith once told me that
adding this to a supercomputer architecture slows down the cycle time by a
very considerable amount, he guessed at least 20% if I recall correctly.)
The problem is that access to control the hardware has no standard. Usually
you have to get out the Fortran manual and look in the back if you're lucky.
I've had computers where I couldn't find this information at all. Probably
things have improved in the last few years but this situation is still not
great.

Worse, it needs to be a runtime control, not a compile option.

As everyone who has tried it found out, actually using the Infs and NaN's in
any portable way is pretty difficult. I prefer algorithmic vigor to prevent
their appearance. While my opinion is a minority one, I wish the "standard"
had never been born and I had my cycles back. It isn't really a standard, is
it?







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