integer division

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by Darius Fatakia, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. hi,
    i'm new to MS Visual Studio and C++ but not to C programming in general. i'm
    trying to divide two integers and get their actual quotient (eg 5/3 =
    1.666667 etc). i thought i had type cast correctly, but please let me know,
    because it appears to be rounding off. my code follows. Thanks!

    void DrawLine(GLint x1, GLint y1, GLint x2, GLint y2)

    int i, pk, dy, dx, yc, xc, inc, temp;
    float m;
    x1 = 100;
    y1 = 200;
    x2 = 110;
    y2 = 206;

    if((x1 >= x2) && (y1 >= y2)) {
    temp = x1;
    x1 = x2;
    x2 = temp;
    temp = y1;
    y1 = y2;
    y2 = temp;

    dy = y2 - y1;
    dx = x2 - x1;
    if (dx != 0) m = (float)(dy/dx);
    else m = -999;

    // Debugging info
    printf("\nDrawLine called!\n");
    printf("x1 = %d\n", x1);
    printf("y1 = %d\n", y1);
    printf("x2 = %d\n", x2);
    printf("y2 = %d\n", y2);
    printf("dx = %d\n", dx);
    printf("dy = %d\n", dy);
    if (dx != 0) printf("dy/dx = %d\n", dy/dx);
    printf("m = %.2f\n", m);

    DrawLine called!
    x1 = 286
    y1 = 204
    x2 = 309
    y2 = 187
    dx = 23
    dy = -17
    dy/dx = 0
    m = 0.00
    Darius Fatakia, Jan 28, 2004
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  2. Darius Fatakia

    Jim Lambert Guest

    One solution would be:

    if (dx != 0) m = (float)dy/(float)dx;
    Jim Lambert, Jan 28, 2004
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  3. You are typecasting the result of the INTEGER
    arithmetic (dy/dx) to a FLOAT. You should rather
    typecast both dy and dx to a FLOAT (or double)
    in the expression.


    m = ( float(dy)/float(dx) );

    or declare float( or double) variables to which you
    assign the integer values of dy and dx.
    Nick Landsberg, Jan 28, 2004
  4. Darius Fatakia

    Jack Klein Guest

    The type of an expression in C depends solely on the type of its
    arguments, and is not influenced in any way by what you might do with
    the result of the expression.

    dy and dx are ints, so dx/dy is an int division expression which
    produces an int result, that is truncates the quotient to an int.

    The fact that you cast the result afterwards does not change this.
    The int result, with no fractional part, will be converted to float
    even without the cast, simply by assigning it to the float object m.

    To force the expression to be performed as a float operation, one or
    both of the operands must be a float. So you need to do one of:

    if (dx != 0) m = ((float)dy/dx);

    if (dx != 0) m = (dy/(float)dx);

    if (dx != 0) m = ((float)dy/(float)dx);

    If you convert either of the operands to float by a cast, the compiler
    must automatically promote the other float, perform a float divide,
    and produce a float result.
    Jack Klein, Jan 28, 2004
  5. This answer is, of course, correct, but I want to seize on it as
    a simple example of the advantages of *Low-level* (WYSIWYG) languages.

    One needn't be a C expert to deduce Mr. Klein's correct answer.
    Just examining the parentheses one sees (dy/dx) or (5/3)
    "should" be evaluated before the (float) part. Since (5/3) is 1,
    (float)(5/3) is (float)(1) is 1.0000, not 1.6667. In this simple
    case, if you understand parentheses you understand C.

    Now perhaps a "friendly" high-level language would remember where
    the (1) came from and evaluate (float)(1) as 1.6667. Would you like
    that? Not I, but I gather some people find such "friendly" features
    .... er, friendly!

    C++ will also evaluate (float)(5/3) as 1.0000 but that's only because
    the friendly C++ designers haven't gotten around to letting parentheses
    be overloadable :)

    In slightly less egregious cases, C++ prides itself on doing the friendly
    thing rather than the WYSIWYG thing.

    That's what the debate is about between C++ fans and C fans.
    The C fans aren't too lazy to construct operator inheritance mazes;
    we just put more of a premium on transparent clarity.

    James Dow Allen, Jan 28, 2004
  6. Darius Fatakia

    ark Guest

    IMHO, compilers are not created equal, and while these three options are
    mathematically equivalent, a compiler may have a better chance of optimizing
    the 1st variant (essentially, by dividing integer mantissa of the
    not-necessarily-fully-formed float). It may be more important for targets
    without a hardware FPU or even a division instruction. For the same reason,
    one may want to keep the divisor in an unsigned type when possible.
    As a separate note, I believe there are 100% integral line drawing
    algorithms out there (cannot give references now, try search).
    ark, Jan 28, 2004
  7. Darius Fatakia

    Jack Klein Guest

    Optimization is not a language issue, and whether certain compilers
    might generate more efficient code for one of the expressions above is
    irrelevant in this group. What might be the "most efficient" on one
    compiler might be least on another, or even on the same compiler with
    a different set of options.

    As for the algorithm you are referring to, a Google search on "Integer
    Bresenham Algorithm" should turn up the references. Twenty years ago
    I used it to generate pixel coordinates for displaying machine tool
    contours on a Tecmar Grahpics Master (this was before such things as
    EGA and VGA video) with an 8088.

    There was no Internet or search engines in those days, so I invented
    my own integer only algorithm similar to Breshenham's for circles and
    circular arcs.
    Jack Klein, Jan 28, 2004
  8. Darius Fatakia

    Zoran Cutura Guest

    That would be C++, but in C typecasts must be written (float)dx ...
    Also Note that it should be enough to cast either of the operands
    to float (or even better double) to force the calculation to be done
    in float. The other operand will be magically converted according to
    usual arithmetic conversions.
    Zoran Cutura, Jan 28, 2004
  9. Darius Fatakia

    ark Guest


    Languages are made to accomplish certain tasks, not just for syntactic fun.
    For instance,
    unsigned x; ..., x/=2;
    is equivalent to x>>=1;
    int x; ..., x/=2;
    is roughly equivalent to
    if(x<0) x+=1; x>>=1;
    or about 200% overhead plus possible pipeline break, if any.
    So I am not convinced that efficiency is totally off topic here...
    - Ark
    ark, Jan 28, 2004
  10. Darius Fatakia

    Richard Bos Guest

    True, but the language specification cannot rule over everything. And
    the topic of this newsgroup is ISO C, not C-as-it-happens-to-run-on-
    your-system, because tomorrow you may have a new computer which may make
    these micro-optimisations completely unreliable.
    True, because it is guaranteed by the Standard; but you do not know
    which of them will turn out to be more efficient on any particular
    system until you measure it, and those measurements will not be valid
    for most other systems. And in fact, many good compilers will compile
    these two expressions to the very same machine code.
    Wrong, wrong, utterly wrong.
    For positive values and zero, the same equivalence as for unsigned int
    holds. For negative values, however, the result of the shift is
    implementation-defined. It is certainly possible that _your_
    implementation happens to define it as the above code; but this is by no
    means guaranteed, and anyone relying on it is setting himself up for a
    The division, OTOH, is perfectly defined for all values. So the division
    and the shift-complex aren't equivalent at all, not even roughly.
    You do not know any of that. You do not know that the +=1 gives you a
    200% overhead. You do not know that the target computer even _has_ a
    pipeline, let alone that this code could break it. You do not know that
    the end result is the same. And finally, you do not know how efficiently
    the target system implements signed integral divisions and shifts, so
    you have no idea which of the two alternatives actually _is_ the most
    efficient until you measure it.
    It is. It is totally system-dependent, and therefore totally off-topic.

    Richard Bos, Jan 29, 2004
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