Extending TeX and METAFONT with Floating-Point Arithmetic
Nelson H. F. Beebe
University of Utah
Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB
155 S 1400 E RM 233
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090
USA
Email: beebe@math.utah.edu, beebe@acm.org,
beebe@computer.org (Internet)
WWW URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe
Telephone: +1 801 581 5254
FAX: +1 801 581 4148
This paper examines how TeX and METAFONT handle numbers, and the
historical reasons for the design of their arithmetic. It briefly
surveys historical and current computer arithmetic, and suggests how
TeX and METAFONT could enjoy a more flexible computational system
WITHOUT loss of their important and distinguishing feature of
platform-independent results for typesetting, and for font design.
This work is based on current progress in standardization of computer
arithmetic, on proposals for extending the C and C++ programming
languages, and on the development by the current author of a large
portable numerical function library that significantly enhances the
computational environments of more than a half dozen widely-used
programming languages, and could do so as well for many scripting
languages.