[Rd] Why doesn't R have a float data type?

Charles Determan cdetermanjr at gmail.com
Tue Jun 30 19:32:01 CEST 2015

Hi Greg, I was referring to the single precision type.  Your points were
what I expected.  I just wanted to ask the R community if there was any
other reason than 'there wasn't any reason to implement it'.


On Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:29 PM, Greg Snow <538280 at gmail.com> wrote:

> My understanding is that R does have a float type, it is just called
> "double" instead of "float".
> If you are referring to a single precision floating point type, then R
> does have the "as.single" function, but that does not really change
> the way the number is stored, just sets a flag so that the proper
> conversion is done when passing to the ".C" or ".fortran" functions.
> The original S language and S+ would store things in single precision
> if needed, but for computations these values were almost always
> converted to doubles for precision.  By the time R was developed the
> memory saving of using single precision instead of double precision
> was not as big an issue, so I expect that nobody ever considered it
> worth the effort to fully implement the single precision storage.
> If you mean something else other than the above by "float data type"
> then please give us more details so that we can better answer the
> question.
> On Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 10:42 AM, Charles Determan
> <cdetermanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
> > This is strictly a curiosity question.  I am aware the R doesn't possess
> a
> > float data type.  I also don't mean to request that such functionality be
> > implemented as I'm sure it would require a large amount of work with
> > potential back compatibility conflicts.  But I wanted to know why R has
> > never had a float data type available?
> >
> > Regards,
> > Charles
> >
> >         [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
> >
> > ______________________________________________
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> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
> --
> Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
> 538280 at gmail.com

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