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Home > iSGTW - 29 September 2010 > Feature - New ISO standard for special math functions

Feature - New ISO standard for special mathematical functions


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A new standard for mathematical special functions in C++ has been published by the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO. The functions included in the standard are frequently used in applications of high-energy physics and other mathematical, scientific, and engineering disciplines.

“Vendors will slowly choose to incorporate these functions in libraries they produce,” said Walter Brown, the project editor for the standard. In fact, this has already begun to happen, according to Brown, who is based at Fermilab in the United States. Vendor adoption is desirable to ensure code portability.

ISO ensures that standards are kept up-to-date by reviewing them periodically. As part of that process, the C++ working group submitted a technical report proposing additions to the existing standard. After the report was approved in 2005, the section on special mathematical functions was split off, becoming its own standard.

Normally, the draft for a new standard must go through three rounds of review, comment, and revision before it is approved. In the second round, the draft of the C++ standard for mathematical special functions was approved unanimously without additional comments.

According to Brown, that distinction is shared by only one other standard – a standard for mathematical special functions in the C programming language which was created based on the C++ standard Brown and his colleagues collaborated to create.

The standard was published by ISO 3 September 2010, under the name “Information technology – Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces – Extensions to the C++ Library to support mathematical special functions.”

—Miriam Boon, iSGTW

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