Haskell 98 - Standard Prelude - Floating Class

Kent Karlsson [email protected]
Mon, 15 Oct 2001 15:52:06 +0200


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jerzy Karczmarczuk" <[email protected]>
...
> Simon Peyton-Jones:
> > 
> > Russell O'Connor suggests:
> 
> > | but sinh and cosh can easily be defined in terms of exp
> > |
> > | sinh x = (exp(x) - exp(-x))/2
> > | cosh x = (exp(x) + exp(-x))/2
> 
> > | I suggest removing sinh and cosh from the minimal complete
> > | definition, and add the above defaults.
> > 
> > This looks pretty reasonable to me.  We should have default methods
> > for anything we can.
> > 
> > Comments?
> 
> Three.
> 
> 1. Actually, I wouldn't even call that "default definitions". These ARE
>    definitions of sinh and cosh.

Mathematically, yes.  Numerically, no.  Even if 'exp' is implemented
with high accuracy, the suggested defaults may return a very inaccurate
(in ulps) result.  Take sinh near zero.  sinh(x) with x very close to 0 should
return x.  With the above 'default' sinh(x) will return exactly 0 for a relatively
wide interval around 0, which is the wrong result except for 0 itself.

In general, this is why LIA-2 (Language Independent Arithmetic, part 2,
"Elementary numerical functions", ISO/IEC 10967-2:2001) rarely attempts to
define one numerical operation in terms of other numerical operations.  That
is done only when the relationship is exact (even if the operations themselves
are inexact).  That is not the case for the abovementioned operations. But
it is the case for the relationship between the complex sin operation and the
complex sinh operation, for instance. (Complex will be covered by LIA-3.)

                Kind regards
                /Kent Karlsson