optimization – Handling very large numbers in Python

optimization – Handling very large numbers in Python

Python supports a bignum integer type which can work with arbitrarily large numbers. In Python 2.5+, this type is called long and is separate from the int type, but the interpreter will automatically use whichever is more appropriate. In Python 3.0+, the int type has been dropped completely.

Thats just an implementation detail, though — as long as you have version 2.5 or better, just perform standard math operations and any number which exceeds the boundaries of 32-bit math will be automatically (and transparently) converted to a bignum.

You can find all the gory details in PEP 0237.

python supports arbitrarily large integers naturally:


>>> 10**1000

You could even get, for example of a huge integer value, fib(4000000).

But still it does not (for now) supports an arbitrarily large float !!

If you need one big, large, float then check up on the decimal Module. There are examples of use on these foruns: OverflowError: (34, Result too large)

Another reference: http://docs.python.org/2/library/decimal.html

You can even using the gmpy module if you need a speed-up (which is likely to be of your interest): Handling big numbers in code

Another reference: https://code.google.com/p/gmpy/

optimization – Handling very large numbers in Python

You could do this for the fun of it, but other than that its not a good idea. It would not speed up anything I can think of.

  • Getting the cards in a hand will be an integer factoring operation which is much more expensive than just accessing an array.

  • Adding cards would be multiplication, and removing cards division, both of large multi-word numbers, which are more expensive operations than adding or removing elements from lists.

  • The actual numeric value of a hand will tell you nothing. You will need to factor the primes and follow the Poker rules to compare two hands. h1 < h2 for such hands means nothing.

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