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Subject: [boost] [safe_numerics] [future of boost]questioning the basic idea
From: Robert Ramey (ramey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-12-15 10:42:23

Andrzej Krzemienski wrote
> 2014-11-18 19:45 GMT+01:00 Robert Ramey <

> ramey@

> >:> I'm NOT really pushing for this as a boost library>I am not sure I
> got your message right.Are you saying SafeNumerics library is there in the
> Incubator only to testthe Incubator?

Hmmm - I didn't think about this aspect of it. I don't remember now why I
originally wrote it. But when I needed an example for the incubator I used
it because it's
non-trivial in the issues it raises - there has already been lots of
discussions on this topic. but usually not in terms of a real
non-trivial in it's implementation - but not impossibly hard either.
small enough to serve as an example that everyone can understand
something that might have a wide enough interest to raise these kinds of
As far as submitting it to boost
I've got my hands full just maintaining the serialization library and
flogging the incubator.
safe numerics opens up a huge amount of new territory to conquer:
floating point
modular arithmetic
alternative type promotion policies to
automatically promote types of results of avoid overflows entirely
using safe_range to strict types so that they can never overflow - requires
implementation of range arithmetic at compile time
implementation of safe(type) where type is any numeric type as defined by
So submission to boost would lead to this turning into a huge project for me
if I were to do it. I actually did spend some time exploring the above
extensions but failed to produce what I wanted.
I would hope that one or more of the following might happen
Someone might take responsibility for the library and submit it to boost -
(note someone already suggested it as a candidate for the standard
Someone might decide to sponsor the library (in a monetary sense) which
would justify the spending of more time on it. (How many billions of $
might this have shaved off the F-35 fighter jet program which is currently 7
years behind schedule?).
It might just sit there garnering reviews and accumulating users. That is,
once it's in the incubator, does it really need to be the official boost
distribution (or the standard one) at all? Any one can git-clone or
downloaded into their boost directory structure and start using it in
exactly the same way that they use boost now. That is, for this person it
IS a boost library. Could this be the future of boost - modular deployment
like the incubator has. The incubator isn't there yet - but its headed in
that direction. Maybe boost get's out of the deployment and distribution
business and concentrates it's efforts on certification of library quality.
In any/all of the above, you're review will be really useful. In fact more
useful than a normal boost library review. Normally boost reviews are "lost"
in the developer's list after the review ends. Reviews in the incubator be
seen by anyone who looks at the safe numerics library page and is
considering the library now or in the future.
Robert Ramey

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