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*To*: George J. Carrette <GJC at MIT-MC>*Subject*: Re: Quotation concerning rational arithmetic*From*: Guy.Steele at CMU-10A*Date*: Thu ,8 Jan 81 12:31:00 EDT*Cc*: lisp-forum at MIT-MC

In reply to GJC's message of 7 Jan: True, Stoutemeyer did not mention those (modular and Boolean arithmetic); but on the other hand, the New Math has been for the most part a resounding failure, I suspect because it was poorly organized and because it really is more useful to most people just to be able to add than to understand why it works. New Math tried to produce a generation of mathematicians instead of (human) computers; the trouble is, the world needs computers. Imagine the disaster if we had thousands of hydraulic physicists and no plumbers. End of tirade about New Math. (Feel free to disagree. But I feel lucky to have barely missed it. My brother got New Math, and it was awful.) As for accommodating these arithmetics in LISP: (2) Boolean arithmetic is provided by the LOGxxx functions, on either single bits or on sets of unbounded size (one may use signed integers as sets over a countably infinite universe provided that either the set is finite or its complement is finite). (1) Modular arithmetic would be nice -- some algorithms can be more clever if it is known that the result need only be mod some number. *But* it is nice to be able to pick your own modulus, rather than having some single arbitrary power-of-two imposed! --Guy

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