On 15 Nov 2009, at 19:13, Rick DeNatale wrote:
> I.E.E.E Floating point is just the culmination of the floating point
> data types which got us to the moon in the 1960s.  They are quite
> usable as long as the programmer understands their properties and
> limitations,  BigDecimal has these limitations as well, just different
> parameters on those limitations.
>
> Engineers back then were very used to working with primitive computers
> which used floating point numbers of extremely limited precision,
> maybe 2 or 3 digits in the fractional part, those computers were
> called slide rules.

Well there were books of log tables for greater precision, but the  
funny thing about the physical world is that it rarely seems to need  
precision higher than that.

> When I was a young lad, it used to be that young programmers took a
> semester long course on numerical analysis, which started with, and
> continuously came back to dealing with the properties of floating
> point numbers.

The fun of coding numerical methods in Fortran and Assembler. That's a  
couple of hundred hours of my life I'll never see again :)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
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raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason