© 2005,2007,2010,2011,2018 John Abbott and Anna M. Bigatti
GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

CoCoALib Documentation Index


User documentation



The class BigInt is intended to represent integers of practically unlimited range. CoCoALib relies on an external library for handling big integers: currently it is based on GMP, the GNU multiple precision library. This CoCoALib code simply forms the interface to the underlying big integer library.

Computations with BigInt values do not suffer from overflow, but they are significantly slower than with machine integers. All BigInt values are stored on the heap.

It is important not to confuse values of type BigInt with values of type RingElem which happen to belong to the ring RingZZ. In summary, the operations available for RingElem are those applicable to elements of any ordered commutative ring, whereas the range of operations on BigInt values is wider (since we have explicit knowledge of the type).

See BigRat for representing and handling rational numbers.

The Functions Available For Use


A value of type BigInt may be created from:

Note that we use pseudo-ctors for constructing from a string or an mpz_t (this is to avoid problems of ambiguity with BigInt(0) since 0 can be viewed in C++ as a null-pointer).

Note: No direct constructor for creating a BigInt from a char* is provided, however C++ will automatically convert a char* into a std::string, so you can still use a C-string if you want.



  1. Functions violating encapsulation

Maintainer Documentation

The implementation is structurally very simple, just rather long and tedious. The value of a BigInt object is represented as an mpz_t; this is a private data member, but to facilitate interfacing with code which uses mpz_t values directly I have supplied the two functions called mpzref which allow access to this data member.

The output function turned out to be trickier than one might guess. Part of the problem was wanting to respect the ostream settings.

Of course, input is a mess. Nothing clever here.

Check also the documentation for MachineInt to understand how that class is used.

Bugs, shortcomings and other ideas

Currently functions which return BigInt values will copy the result (upon each return) -- an attempt to avoid the waste with proxy classes caused a problem see test-bug4.C Move semantics in C++11 should solve this.

The official GMP interface (mpz_class) is certainly more efficient; should CoCoALib eventually switch to using mpz_class? It seems most unlikely that GMP will be displaced from its position as the foremost library for big integer arithmetic, so such explicit dependence on it should not matter.

No bit operations: bit setting and checking, and/or/xor/not.

The code is long, tedious and unilluminating. Are there any volunteers to improve it?

Main changes