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MathGroup Archive 2000

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Re: Help! Mathematica on my 500MHz outperforms my GHz machine!

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  • Subject: [mg21844] Re: Help! Mathematica on my 500MHz outperforms my GHz machine!
  • From: paulh at (P.J. Hinton)
  • Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 18:53:27 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: "Wolfram Research, Inc."
  • References: <86158s$> <870ujq$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

In article <870ujq$8kb at>,
 terryis at writes:

> Of the more notable responses, RogerWilson (roger.wilson at
> wrote to say that Mathematica 3 does all floating point calculations
> in software and that the supposedly very fast floating point unit in
> my Athlon was therefore not being used (as far as he knew).
> Is this true? I mean no disrespect to Roger but I had always thought
> that Mathematica uses both arbitrary and machine precision depending on
> the characteristics of the number in question.

As long as your inputs specify machine precision numbers, Mathematica
typically uses machine precision arithmetic to achieve its results.  
It will make use of the floating point capabilities of your CPU.  This
is noted in Section 3.1.6 of _The Mathematica Book_ Fourth Edition.

Note, however, that this does not include CPU-class-specific 
optimizations such as Intel's MMX instructions or AMD's 3DNow!

P.J. Hinton
Mathematica Programming Group           paulh at
Wolfram Research, Inc.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone.

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