[squeak-dev] Re: [Vm-dev] [Fwd: Re: [Pharo-dev] Float hierarchy for 64-bit Spur]

Eliot Miranda eliot.miranda at gmail.com
Fri Nov 21 04:49:47 UTC 2014

Hi Ben,

On Nov 20, 2014, at 8:42 PM, Ben Coman <btc at openInWorld.com> wrote:

> Eliot Miranda wrote:
>> On Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM, Ben Coman <btc at openinworld.com <mailto:btc at openinworld.com>> wrote:
>>    Eliot Miranda wrote:
>>        Hi All,
>>            64-bit Spur can usefully provide an immediate float, a
>>        61-bit subset of the ieee double precision float.     I wonder if class SmallDouble would be more intention revealing?
>>    In practice 61 bits will be "more than enough"(tm) for anyone. But I
>>    can envisage in a business environment environment software needing
>>    to comply with (sometimes irrelevant) feature checklists, with one
>>    of those likely being full 64 bit compliant IEEE Doubles.  Can we
>>    have such a class, to which 61 bit floats are auto-promoted as required?
>> Just as SmallInteger is seamless with the large integers, so SmallFloat is seamless with boxed Float.  The SmallFloat representation is used where ever possible, since it is faster both to decode (no memory fetch) and to encode (no allocation).  But operations overflow into the boxed representation if outside the SmallFloat range.
> (btw, rather than SmallFloat and BoxedFloat, I think SmallFloat and LargeFloat would align better with the Integer hierarchy.)
> So I understand that immediate types will overflow to boxes types :)
> To try to be more clear, integers don't have a well defined size/format.  It varies with architecture word size.  So SmallInteger and LargeInteger are reasonable descriptions.  But floats have a well defined format defined by IEEE. Since you are pivoting around the IEEE Double format (you define it as "61-bit subset of the ieee double precision float"), rather than generic SmallFloat and LargeFloat, use SmallDouble and LargeDouble. (anyway, maybe I'm off track. Its not a big deal).

Ah, I like this.  Thanks.

>>    My first few pages of search results lead to a few references in
>>    conversation, but nothing that described what a boxed float is. Can
>>    someone explain?
>> Boxed datatypes are those where the data is held in a structure (e.g. an object) and accessed throguh a pointer.  So most Smalltalk objects are "boxed", for example, large integers, points, etc.  But some datatypes (immediate SmallIntegers, and in Spur, the Characters, and in languages like C, all basic numeric types) are represented as pure values.
> Thanks.
> cheers -ben

Eliot (phone)

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