[swift-evolution] Feature proposal: Range operator with step

Rainer Brockerhoff rainer at brockerhoff.net
Thu Mar 31 13:16:46 CDT 2016

On 3/31/16 15:06, Dave Abrahams via swift-evolution wrote:
> on Thu Mar 31 2016, Xiaodi Wu <xiaodi.wu-AT-gmail.com> wrote:
>> Thoughts on an edge case: so long as it's possible to use
>> `stride(from:to:by:)` with Double, we'll need to figure out what
>> happens when you have `stride(from: 0.0, to: DBL_MAX, by: DBL_MIN)`.
>> Bounds may be unknown at compile time, obviously.
>> Currently (this is by reasoning through the code, not actually
>> observing it run), `for i in stride(from: 0.0, to: DBL_MAX, by:
>> DBL_MIN) { }` degenerates into an infinite loop once you reach
>> sufficient large values such that `current + stride == current`, which
>> for a stride of DBL_MIN should happen pretty quickly.
>> In Erica's proposed floating point Stride, an Int is used to count
>> iterations (and iterations need to be counted in order to avoid
>> accumulating error). Thus, one must break from `for i in stride(from:
>> 0.0, to: DBL_MAX, by: DBL_MIN) { }` before the iteration counter
>> overflows or it will trap. IMO, trapping at some point is fine, but I
>> think a limit of Int.max iterations might be rather arbitrary for a
>> StrideTo<Double> (or whatever it will be named) and I'm not sure how
>> one can justify why the behavior of StrideTo<Double> would change from
>> machine to machine based on the size of Int.
>> I've been waffling between using an Int counter as Erica does or a
>> counter of type Strideable.Stride in `StrideTo<Strideable where
>> Strideable.Stride : FloatingPoint>`. In the latter alternative, no
>> trapping occurs, but error begins to accumulate when the iteration
>> counter is too large to represent integers exactly (e.g., 2^53 for
>> Double). In that case, `for i in stride(from: 0.0, to: DBL_MAX, by:
>> DBL_MIN) { }` degenerates into an infinite loop eventually (once
>> `iterationCount + 1.0 == iterationCount`) and never traps, which I'm
>> not sure I like, but a limit of 2^53 iterations bears at least a
>> rational connection to Double and is known at compile time independent
>> of the supplied bounds. We could alternatively return nil on reaching
>> 2^53 iterations, trap, etc.
>> Comments?
> I think I want to hear Steve Canon's input on this one.  I defer to him
> on most things numeric.

In particular, should Steve confirm that the IEEE754 Decimal128 format
is being worked on, and if simple decimal constants like those in
	`for i in stride(from: 0.0, to: DBL_MAX, by: DBL_MIN) { }`
will be type-inferred as Decimal128, all that would "just work".

Rainer Brockerhoff  <rainer at brockerhoff.net>
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
"In the affairs of others even fools are wise
In their own business even sages err."

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