Analog Integers in Python

This fantastic post by Eelis asks the question, “Have you ever felt that integer literals like “4” don’t convey the true size of the value they denote?” Uh, well, honestly, no.

If, however, you’re intrigued enough to keep reading, then his solution is to define an “analog literal” which gives a proper visualization of its own size:

assert( I-I == 0 );
assert( I---I == 1 );
assert( I-----I == 2 );
assert( I-------I == 3 );

(According to the author, “Due to the way C++ operators work, we must use N * 2 + 1 dashes between the I’s to get a value of N”)

Thinking that this could be a fun opportunity to play with some of the weirder overloads that Python allows, I decided to implement this on my own.

This turned out to be surprisingly easy, and I was even able to get around the 2N+1 dashes rule:

>>> from analogInt import *
>>> (I---I) == 3
>>> (I----I) / (I--I)
>>> (I--I) + (I--I)
>>> (I---I) - (I-I)
>>> (I---I) / (II)
ZeroDivisionError: integer division or modulo by zero
>>> (I---I) ** (I--I)

PyAnalogInt at github.

Next up: implementing 2- and 3-dimensional analog literals in Python…

Robin Deits 03 March 2012