Data: Numbers
The infinite set that a mathematician thinks of as the real numbers can only be approximated
on a computer, since the computer only has a finite number of bits to store an infinite number
of, um, numbers.
Internally, your computer represents floatingpoint numbers in binary. Floatingpoint numbers
read in from a file or appearing as literals in your program are converted from their decimal
floatingpoint representation (eg, 19.95) to an internal binary representation.
However, 19.95 can't be precisely represented as a binary floatingpoint number, just like
1/3 can't be exactly represented as a decimal floatingpoint number. The computer's binary
representation of 19.95, therefore, isn't exactly 19.95.
When a floatingpoint number gets printed, the binary floatingpoint representation is
converted back to decimal. These decimal numbers are displayed in either the format you specify
with printf(), or the current output format for numbers. (See perlvar/"$#" if
you use print. $# has a different default value in Perl5 than it did in Perl4.
Changing $# yourself is deprecated.)
This affects all computer languages that represent decimal floatingpoint numbers in
binary, not just Perl. Perl provides arbitraryprecision decimal numbers with the Math::BigFloat
module (part of the standard Perl distribution), but mathematical operations are consequently
slower.
If precision is important, such as when dealing with money, it's good to work with integers
and then divide at the last possible moment. For example, work in pennies (1995) instead of
dollars and cents (19.95) and divide by 100 at the end.
To get rid of the superfluous digits, just use a format (eg, printf("%.2f",
19.95) ) to get the required precision. See perlop/"Floatingpoint
Arithmetic".
Perl only understands octal and hex numbers as such when they occur as literals in your
program. Octal literals in perl must start with a leading "0" and hexadecimal literals
must start with a leading "0x". If they are read in from somewhere and assigned, no
automatic conversion takes place. You must explicitly use oct() or hex() if you want the values
converted to decimal. oct() interprets both hex ("0x350") numbers and octal ones
("0350" or even without the leading "0", like "377"), while hex()
only converts hexadecimal ones, with or without a leading "0x", like
"0x255", "3A", "ff", or "deadbeef". The inverse mapping
from decimal to octal can be done with either the "%o" or "%O" sprintf()
formats. To get from decimal to hex try either the "%x" or the "%X" formats
to sprintf().
This problem shows up most often when people try using chmod(), mkdir(), umask(), or sysopen(),
which by widespread tradition typically take permissions in octal.
chmod(644, $file); # WRONG
chmod(0644, $file); # right


Note the mistake in the first line was specifying the decimal literal 644, rather than the
intended octal literal 0644. The problem can be seen with:
printf("%#o",644); # prints 01204


Surely you had not intended chmod(01204, $file);  did you? If you want to use
numeric literals as arguments to chmod() et al. then please try to express them as octal
constants, that is with a leading zero and with the following digits restricted to the set 0..7.
Remember that int() merely truncates toward 0. For rounding to a certain number of digits,
sprintf() or printf() is usually the easiest route.
printf("%.3f", 3.1415926535); # prints 3.142


The POSIX module (part of the standard Perl distribution) implements ceil(), floor(), and a
number of other mathematical and trigonometric functions.
use POSIX;
$ceil = ceil(3.5); # 4
$floor = floor(3.5); # 3


In 5.000 to 5.003 perls, trigonometry was done in the Math::Complex module. With 5.004, the
Math::Trig module (part of the standard Perl distribution) implements the trigonometric
functions. Internally it uses the Math::Complex module and some functions can break out from the
real axis into the complex plane, for example the inverse sine of 2.
Rounding in financial applications can have serious implications, and the rounding method
used should be specified precisely. In these cases, it probably pays not to trust whichever
system rounding is being used by Perl, but to instead implement the rounding function you need
yourself.
To see why, notice how you'll still have an issue on halfwaypoint alternation:
for ($i = 0; $i < 1.01; $i += 0.05) { printf "%.1f ",$i}
0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.7
0.8 0.8 0.9 0.9 1.0 1.0


Don't blame Perl. It's the same as in C. IEEE says we have to do this. Perl numbers whose
absolute values are integers under 2**31 (on 32 bit machines) will work pretty much like
mathematical integers. Other numbers are not guaranteed.
As always with Perl there is more than one way to do it. Below are a few examples of
approaches to making common conversions between number representations. This is intended to be
representational rather than exhaustive.
Some of the examples below use the Bit::Vector module from CPAN. The reason you might choose
Bit::Vector over the perl built in functions is that it works with numbers of ANY size, that it
is optimized for speed on some operations, and for at least some programmers the notation might
be familiar.
 How do I convert hexadecimal into
decimal

Using perl's built in conversion of 0x notation:
$int = 0xDEADBEEF;
$dec = sprintf("%d", $int);


Using the hex function:
$int = hex("DEADBEEF");
$dec = sprintf("%d", $int);


Using pack:
$int = unpack("N", pack("H8", substr("0" x 8 . "DEADBEEF", 8)));
$dec = sprintf("%d", $int);


Using the CPAN module Bit::Vector:
use Bit::Vector;
$vec = Bit::Vector>new_Hex(32, "DEADBEEF");
$dec = $vec>to_Dec();


 How do I convert from decimal to
hexadecimal

Using sprint:
$hex = sprintf("%X", 3735928559);


Using unpack
$hex = unpack("H*", pack("N", 3735928559));


Using Bit::Vector
use Bit::Vector;
$vec = Bit::Vector>new_Dec(32, 559038737);
$hex = $vec>to_Hex();


And Bit::Vector supports odd bit counts:
use Bit::Vector;
$vec = Bit::Vector>new_Dec(33, 3735928559);
$vec>Resize(32); # suppress leading 0 if unwanted
$hex = $vec>to_Hex();


 How do I convert from octal to decimal

Using Perl's built in conversion of numbers with leading zeros:
$int = 033653337357; # note the leading 0!
$dec = sprintf("%d", $int);


Using the oct function:
$int = oct("33653337357");
$dec = sprintf("%d", $int);


Using Bit::Vector:
use Bit::Vector;
$vec = Bit::Vector>new(32);
$vec>Chunk_List_Store(3, split(//, reverse "33653337357"));
$dec = $vec>to_Dec();


 How do I convert from decimal to octal

Using sprintf:
$oct = sprintf("%o", 3735928559);


Using Bit::Vector
use Bit::Vector;
$vec = Bit::Vector>new_Dec(32, 559038737);
$oct = reverse join('', $vec>Chunk_List_Read(3));


 How do I convert from binary to decimal

Perl 5.6 lets you write binary numbers directly with the 0b notation:
Using pack and ord
$decimal = ord(pack('B8', '10110110'));


Using pack and unpack for larger strings
$int = unpack("N", pack("B32",
substr("0" x 32 . "11110101011011011111011101111", 32)));
$dec = sprintf("%d", $int);
# substr() is used to left pad a 32 character string with zeros.


Using Bit::Vector:
$vec = Bit::Vector>new_Bin(32, "11011110101011011011111011101111");
$dec = $vec>to_Dec();


 How do I convert from decimal to binary

Using unpack;
$bin = unpack("B*", pack("N", 3735928559));


Using Bit::Vector:
use Bit::Vector;
$vec = Bit::Vector>new_Dec(32, 559038737);
$bin = $vec>to_Bin();


The remaining transformations (e.g. hex > oct, bin > hex, etc.) are left as an
exercise to the inclined reader.
The behavior of binary arithmetic operators depends on whether they're used on numbers or
strings. The operators treat a string as a series of bits and work with that (the string "3"
is the bit pattern 00110011 ). The operators work with the binary form of a number
(the number 3 is treated as the bit pattern 00000011 ).
So, saying 11 & 3 performs the "and" operation on numbers
(yielding 1 ). Saying "11" & "3" performs the
"and" operation on strings (yielding "1" ).
Most problems with & and  arise because the programmer thinks
they have a number but really it's a string. The rest arise because the programmer says:
if ("\020\020" & "\101\101") {
# ...
}


but a string consisting of two null bytes (the result of "\020\020" &
"\101\101" ) is not a false value in Perl. You need:
if ( ("\020\020" & "\101\101") !~ /[^\000]/) {
# ...
}


Use the Math::Matrix or Math::MatrixReal modules (available from CPAN) or the PDL extension
(also available from CPAN).
To call a function on each element in an array, and collect the results, use:
@results = map { my_func($_) } @array;


For example:
@triple = map { 3 * $_ } @single;


To call a function on each element of an array, but ignore the results:
foreach $iterator (@array) {
some_func($iterator);
}


To call a function on each integer in a (small) range, you can use:
@results = map { some_func($_) } (5 .. 25);


but you should be aware that the .. operator creates an array of all integers in
the range. This can take a lot of memory for large ranges. Instead use:
@results = ();
for ($i=5; $i < 500_005; $i++) {
push(@results, some_func($i));
}


This situation has been fixed in Perl5.005. Use of .. in a for loop
will iterate over the range, without creating the entire range.
for my $i (5 .. 500_005) {
push(@results, some_func($i));
}


will not create a list of 500,000 integers.
Get the http://www.cpan.org/modules/bymodule/Roman module.
If you're using a version of Perl before 5.004, you must call srand once at the
start of your program to seed the random number generator. 5.004 and later automatically call srand
at the beginning. Don't call srand more than onceyou make your numbers less
random, rather than more.
Computers are good at being predictable and bad at being random (despite appearances caused
by bugs in your programs :). see the random artitcle in the "Far More Than You Ever
Wanted To Know" collection in http://www.cpan.org/olddoc/FMTEYEWTK.tgz , courtesy of Tom
Phoenix, talks more about this. John von Neumann said, ``Anyone who attempts to generate random
numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin.''
If you want numbers that are more random than rand with srand
provides, you should also check out the Math::TrulyRandom module from CPAN. It uses the
imperfections in your system's timer to generate random numbers, but this takes quite a while.
If you want a better pseudorandom generator than comes with your operating system, look at
``Numerical Recipes in C'' at http://www.nr.com/ .
Use the following simple function. It selects a random integer between (and possibly
including!) the two given integers, e.g., random_int_in(50,120)
sub random_int_in ($$) {
my($min, $max) = @_;
# Assumes that the two arguments are integers themselves!
return $min if $min == $max;
($min, $max) = ($max, $min) if $min > $max;
return $min + int rand(1 + $max  $min);
}



