[rust-dev] Appeal for CORRECT, capable, future-proof math, pre-1.0

Nathan Myers ncm at cantrip.org
Sat Jan 11 17:49:44 PST 2014

On 01/11/2014 03:14 PM, Daniel Micay wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 6:06 PM, Nathan Myers <ncm at cantrip.org> wrote:
>> A big-integer type that uses small-integer
>> arithmetic until overflow is a clever trick, but it's purely
>> an implementation trick.  Architecturally, it makes no sense
>> to expose the trick to users.
> I didn't suggest exposing it to users. I suggested defining a wrapper
> around the big integer type with better performance characteristics
> for small integers.

Your wrapper sounds to me like THE big-integer type.  The thing you
called a "big integer" doesn't need a name.

>> No single big-integer or
>> overflow-trapping type can meet all needs. (If you try, you
>> fail users who need it simple.)  That's OK, because anyone
>> can code another, and a simple default can satisfy most users.
> What do you mean by default? If you don't know the bounds, a big
> integer is clearly the only correct choice. If you do know the
> bounds,you can use a fixed-size integer. I don't think any default
> other than a big integer is sane, so I don't think Rust needs a
 > default inference fallback.

As I said,

 >> In fact, i64 satisifies almost all users almost all the time.

No one would complain about a built-in "i128" type.  The thing
about a fixed-size type is that there are no implementation
choices to leak out.  Overflowing an i128 variable is quite
difficult, and 128-bit operations are still lots faster than on
any variable-precision type. I could live with "int" == "i128".

Nathan Myers

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