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From: Carlo Wood (carlo_at_[hidden])
Date: 2006-06-02 19:39:06

On Fri, Jun 02, 2006 at 11:53:18PM +0200, Maarten Kronenburg wrote:
> The base type unsigned int is a fact.

Historically grown out of the need of that extra bit,
when cpu's didn't have 32 bits yet. If all you have
is 8 bits, then it makes a big difference whether
you can assign -127...128, or 0...255.

> The modular_integer is a mathematical fact,
> and the base type unsigned int is modular.

Only because it's the natural way an overflow occurs.
I don't think it's relevant that an (unsigned)
integer is modulo 2^32 -- anyone USING that fact
is doing something wrong imho (I wouldn't like to
hire them!)

> And users that want an integer that
> is of infinite precision but they want to know
> for sure will never become negative,

That is a very weird demand. Are those users not sure
what they are coding? "Oh, I don't have an idea what
I'm doing, but instead of using an assert, I'll
"recover" from possible bugs by enforcing this
variable to become 4294967295 instead of -1..."
(as if that won't crash the program).

Sorry, but it makes no sense whatsoever to use
unsigned integers with as reason that (only?!)
then you are sure that they won't be negative.
A bug is a bug: if a variable shouldn't become
negative, then it won't. If you don't feel secure
about it, add an assert.
If the fact that an unsigned can't become negative
is used in a _legit_ way then that can only mean one
thing: they REALLY needed modular arithmetics. In the
case of this precision library, that would be
a modular_integer. Thus, if anyone would need
an infinite precision unsigned integer, then they
are doing something seriously wrong. Instead they
should use an infinite precision integer and add
an assertion to make sure it never becomes negative.

I see no reason to replace the "bug catcher" (the
assertion) with a special type, that throws an

Carlo Wood <carlo_at_[hidden]>

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