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19 Mathematics

This chapter contains information about functions for performing mathematical computations, such as trigonometric functions. Most of these functions have prototypes declared in the header file math.h. The complex-valued functions are defined in complex.h.

All mathematical functions which take a floating-point argument have three variants, one each for double, float, and long double arguments. The double versions are mostly defined in ISO C89. The float and long double versions are from the numeric extensions to C included in ISO C99.

Which of the three versions of a function should be used depends on the situation. For most calculations, the float functions are the fastest. On the other hand, the long double functions have the highest precision. double is somewhere in between. It is usually wise to pick the narrowest type that can accommodate your data. Not all machines have a distinct long double type; it may be the same as double.