use decimal

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.org
Wed Sep 17 19:35:45 PDT 2008


On Sep 17, 2008, at 10:13 PM, Mark S. Miller wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 6:50 PM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com>  
> wrote:
>
>>
>> I agree that typeof 1.5m == typeof 1.1m. However, I do not agree  
>> that 1.1m == 1.1. These should be !=, since they represent  
>> distinct real numbers.
>
> It seems to me that Brendan said 1.1m != 1.1 and did not question  
> this.
>
> Brendan, please correct me if I misrepresent your argument.
>
> I took Brendan to be saying that
>
> 1) If typeof 1.1m were 'number' then we'd be obligated to have 1.1m  
> == 1.1.
>
> 2) We want 1.1m != 1.1.
>
> 3) Therefore, typeof 1.1m must not be 'number'.
>
> I disagree with #1 and thus #3.

Here is what I wrote:

> Without "use decimal", typeof 1.1m must not be "number" to preserve
> this same invariant [that a === b  <=>  typeof a == typeof b && a  
> == b].
> Otherwise (without "use decimal") 1.5m == 1.5
> but 1.1m != 1.1, so without making typeof 1.5m != typeof 1.1m, we
> cannot have typeof 1.5m == "number".


Please expand your syllogistic reasoning:

Major premise #1: a == b
Minor premise #1: typeof a == typeof b
Conclusion #1: a === b
(you can switch == and === above -- the implication goes both ways  
and choice of == or === for typeof a OP typeof b does not matter  
since typeof's result is of string type.)

Major premise #2: 1.5m == 1.5
Minor premise #2: typeof 1.5m == "number" (your position, IIUC)
Conclusion #2: 1.5m === 1.5
(by Conclusion #1 and ES1-3 (which define typeof 1.5 == "number"))

Counter-example: 1.1m != 1.1
but typeof 1.1m == typeof 1.1 in your proposal (again IIUC)

This is a for-all problem. If there exists some double value x such  
that, for the decimal form y spelled literally using the same digits  
but with an 'm' suffix, x != y, yet typeof x == typeof y, then typeof  
must depend on whether its operand value converts losslessly to  
decimal from double and double from decimal.

This is broken -- typeof should depend on type, not value.

Hence my position (Waldemar's too) that typeof 1.1m == typeof 1.5m &&  
typeof 1.1m == "decimal".


> However, with the introduction of decimal, we've got cohorts  
> galore. 1.1m has a different operational behavior than 1.1000m, but  
> we've agree they should be ===. With the introduction of decimal,  
> === no longer approximates a test of operational equivalence, and  
> we still need such a test.

=== does approximate operational equivalence apart from significance.  
Right? (I'm asking because I could be wrong, not rhetorically!)

> 0/-0 != 0/0. Does it thus seem wrong that -0 === 0?
>
> Well, yes, actually it does seem wrong to me, but we all accept  
> that particular wrongness. This is just more of the same.

A lot more.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

One exception to the rule is better than two, or 2^53 or larger.

/be

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