### Author Topic: Factorial Bug  (Read 707 times)

#### melsmith

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• Posts: 5
##### Factorial Bug
« on: June 04, 2020, 04:47:16 pm »
Hi All:
This is my first post.

Environment: C Compiler PellesC64 and running a short Harbour program to test factorial computations.

When running a Factorial function FACT(21), the result is:

51,090,942,171,709,430,000

Other compilers (e.g., Borland BCC 7.4 and MinGW 10.2) show the correct answer should be:

51,090,942,171,709,440,000

The PellesC64 results from FACT(1) thru FACT(20) are *correct* and identical to other compilers. However, FACT(21) is *incorrect*.

-Mel Smith

#### melsmith

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• Posts: 5
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2020, 08:13:09 pm »
Hi All:

Simplifying:

The following multiplication is incorrect:

21 * 2432902008176640000  *should be* equal to  51090942171709440000

Instead, Pelles64 produces the result: 51090942171709430000

MinGW 10.1 and BCC 7.4 produce the correct answer.

-Mel

#### frankie

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• Posts: 1764
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2020, 11:48:33 am »
Hi All:

Simplifying:

The following multiplication is incorrect:

21 * 2432902008176640000  *should be* equal to  51090942171709440000

Instead, Pelles64 produces the result: 51090942171709430000

MinGW 10.1 and BCC 7.4 produce the correct answer.

-Mel
Such a big number requires a 128bits integer to hold it, or a long double.
In the first case if the Harbour compiler generated a 64bit user you should have experienced an overflow (negative result probably), in the second case, using floats, the different result simply could be due to rounding.
In any case the problem is related to which 'C' types generates the Harbour compiler with different back-end C-compilers.
I suggest you to ask the question on the Harbour forum.
Personally I'll be glad if you'll share the naswer with us.

#### Pelle

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• Posts: 2076
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2020, 03:26:06 pm »
Oh joy, binary floating-point. My favorite subject. Not!

Well, if I try this code...

Code: [Select]
`#include <stdio.h>double tail_recursive_factorial_aux(double n, double acc) {    return n < 1 ? acc : tail_recursive_factorial_aux(n - 1, acc * n);}double tail_recursive_factorial(double n) {    return tail_recursive_factorial_aux(n, 1);}int main(void) {    for (double n = 1; n < 25; n++) {        union {            double d;            unsigned char b[8];        } u;        u.d = tail_recursive_factorial(n);        printf("%3.0f! = %40.15f - 0x%02hhX:0x%02hhX:0x%02hhX:0x%02hhX:0x%02hhX:0x%02hhX:0x%02hhX:0x%02hhX\n", n, u.d, u.b[7], u.b[6], u.b[5], u.b[4], u.b[3], u.b[2], u.b[1], u.b[0]);    }}`
... the output looks a bit better with MSVC (Version 19.25.28614 for x64) than with Pelles C (I tried v10.0, but whatever).

For stuff like this I use the C runtime by P.J. Plauger, Dinkumware.

A quick web search turned up this, and little else:
https://github.com/Justme0/CLIB
This version (possibly unlicenced) is older than my version (which I bought many years ago). For example no C99 support like %a, but for the printf("%f", ...)  case the code looks the same.

In the STDIO folder, the files forming the call chain for printf("%f", ...) looks like:
PRINTF.C -> XPRINTF.C -> XPUTFLD.C -> XLDTOB.C -> XGENLD.C
where the most interesting part is probably a loop in XLDTOB.C forming a sequence of "ASCII" digits. I can't immediately figure out if there is a reasonably easy way to improve the code/precision.

Does anyone here feels like more of an expert on this...?

/Pelle

#### melsmith

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• Posts: 5
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 04:15:08 pm »
Hi Pelle and Frankie:

Thanks for the response(s).

-Mel Smith
(a 'Repositarian' for the Harbour Language)
www.whosaway.com

#### melsmith

• Member
• Posts: 5
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 04:27:17 pm »
Hi Pelle and Frankie:

Below is the Harbour C Function that is the basis of the Bug Report. This function is part of
a larger file with several related functions and many 'headers'

You'll note that any value factorial argument greater than 21 results in a return of -1

-Mel

**** the Factorial Function from Harbour *****

HB_FUNC( FACT )
{
if( ISNUM( 1 ) )
{
int      iInput   = hb_parni( 1 );
int      i;
double   dResult  = 1.0;

if( ( iInput >= 0 ) && ( iInput < 22 ) )
{
for( i = 1; i <= iInput; i++ )
{
dResult *= ( double ) i;
}
hb_retnd( dResult );
}
else
{
hb_retnd( -1.0 );
}
}
else
{
PHB_ITEM pSubst         = NULL;
int      iArgErrorMode  = ct_getargerrormode();
if( iArgErrorMode != CT_ARGERR_IGNORE )
{
pSubst = ct_error_subst( ( USHORT ) iArgErrorMode, EG_ARG, CT_ERROR_FACT,
NULL, "FACT", 0, EF_CANSUBSTITUTE, 1, hb_paramError( 1 ) );
}

if( pSubst != NULL )
{
hb_itemRelease( hb_itemReturnForward( pSubst ) );
}
else
{
hb_retnd( 0.0 );
}
}
}

***********

#### Akko

• Member
• Posts: 21
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 04:43:51 pm »
Frankie's statement is correct. A 64-bit double number holds 54 mantissa bits which means about max. 19 valid decimal digits precision., error accumulation not accounted. Some C compilers work with 80-bit long doubles internally under the hood to increase precision and to keep error accumulation below 19 decimal digits if possible. This seems to have happened here.

Why one would calculate integer factorials with floating-point numbers at all is beyond me. Any 64-bit C compiler has int64_t integer math, some support even int128_t. Even if not, it is a simple task to add 128-integer functions, e.g. by using some intrinsics or hard-coded.

#### frankie

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• Posts: 1764
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2020, 07:56:11 pm »
... the output looks a bit better with MSVC (Version 19.25.28614 for x64) than with Pelles C (I tried v10.0, but whatever).
That's the real news  Waiting for the release...

Now going back to the issue, I think that there is something strange in the conversion routines. Maybe a simplification algorithm, or a small bug can't say.
It is obvious that computing a factorial using natural numbers, meaning integers, can't give back real numbers, I mean numbers having a fractional part. This is the first point that is strange in the output from the double conversion. This should be enforced for values which exceeds the mantissa dimension (I mean the number requires more bits than those available in the mantissa field), that can't have any fractional part (due to left shifting to align the exponent).
Starting from  'double' layout, which uses 1 bit of sign, 11 bits for biased exponent (bias 1023), and 52bits for mantissa, I wrote a simple conversion routine to check the output. My code limits conversion up to numbers that requires less than 64bits for sake of simplicity (to handle larger code require 128bits variables at least). So data is available up to 20!.
Code: [Select]
`#include <stdio.h>#include <stdint.h>#include <string.h>double tail_recursive_factorial_aux_double(double n, double acc){ return n < 1 ? acc : tail_recursive_factorial_aux_double(n - 1, acc * n);}double tail_recursive_factorial_double(double n){ return tail_recursive_factorial_aux_double(n, 1);}char *FromDouble2Asc(double val, char *buf){ uint64_t out; union { double val; uint8_t b[8]; uint64_t h; } cvt; cvt.val = val; int      sign     = (cvt.h & 0x8000000000000000) ? -1 : 1; int      exponent = (int)((cvt.h >> 52) & 0xfff) - 1023; uint64_t mantissa = (cvt.h & 0xfffffffffffff) | 0x10000000000000;// printf("\tval=%20.3f => hex=0x%08llx - sign=%+d - exponent=%+04d - mantissa=%llu (0x%llx)\n", val, cvt.h, sign, exponent, mantissa, mantissa); if (!cvt.h) { strcpy(buf, "0.0"); return buf; } if (exponent < 0) { strcpy(buf, "[exp < 0]"); return buf; } else if (exponent <= 52) { out = mantissa >> (52-exponent); } else if (exponent<64) { out = mantissa << (exponent-52); } else { strcpy(buf, "[exp > 63]"); return buf; } sprintf(buf, "%c%llu", sign>0 ? ' ':'-', out); return buf;}int main(void){ char buf[128]; for (double n = 1; n < 25; n++) { union { double d; unsigned char b[8]; uint64_t uint64; } u; u.d = tail_recursive_factorial_double(n); FromDouble2Asc(u.d, buf); printf("%3.0f! = %40.15f - 0x%016llx - %20s\n", n, u.d, u.uint64, buf); }}`Running the program you can note something strange starting from 12!
Below I copy the program output for reference. The last value is the output of my conversion routine:
Code: [Select]
`  1! =                        1.000000000000000 - 0x3ff0000000000000 -                    1  2! =                        2.000000000000000 - 0x4000000000000000 -                    2  3! =                        6.000000000000000 - 0x4018000000000000 -                    6  4! =                       24.000000000000000 - 0x4038000000000000 -                   24  5! =                      120.000000000000000 - 0x405e000000000000 -                  120  6! =                      720.000000000000000 - 0x4086800000000000 -                  720  7! =                     5040.000000000000000 - 0x40b3b00000000000 -                 5040  8! =                    40320.000000000000000 - 0x40e3b00000000000 -                40320  9! =                   362880.000000000000000 - 0x4116260000000000 -               362880 10! =                  3628800.000000000000000 - 0x414baf8000000000 -              3628800 11! =                 39916800.000000000000000 - 0x418308a800000000 -             39916800 12! =                479001600.000000034924000 - 0x41bc8cfc00000000 -            479001600 13! =               6227020799.999999580904000 - 0x41f7328cc0000000 -           6227020800 14! =              87178291199.999991804361000 - 0x42344c3b28000000 -          87178291200 15! =            1307674367999.999958550000000 - 0x4273077775800000 -        1307674368000 16! =           20922789887999.999336890000000 - 0x42b3077775800000 -       20922789888000 17! =          355687428096000.012010330000000 - 0x42f437eeecd80000 -      355687428096000 18! =         6402373705727999.657392500000000 - 0x4336beecca730000 -     6402373705728000 19! =       121645100408832004.177300000000000 - 0x437b02b930689000 -   121645100408832000 20! =      2432902008176640141.755300000000000 - 0x43c0e1b3be415a00 -  2432902008176640000 21! =     51090942171709440648.555700000000000 - 0x4406283be9b5c620 -           [exp > 63] 22! =   1124000727777607680764.000000000000000 - 0x444e77526159f06c -           [exp > 63] 23! =  25852016738884979858994.000000000000000 - 0x4495e5c335f8a4ce -           [exp > 63] 24! = 620448401733239370510000.000000000000000 - 0x44e06c52687a7b9a -           [exp > 63]`I haven't tested GCC or MSVC output, but I expect that the output comply with my code.

#### Pelle

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• Posts: 2076
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2020, 07:31:02 pm »
That's the real news  Waiting for the release...
I get that. It should be available within the next couple of weeks.
I have two annoying bugs to fix. Christian is looking at the German translation and web site.

After many trace lines, and searching through the CRT code, I realized that I could reuse some of the code I added to enhance precision for the scanf() family of functions (v9, I think). More floating-point code I didn't write, but it does the job. Now my output compared with MSVC is "good enough".

There are apparently a few modern/popular methods of doing this kind conversion, with possibly slightly better results, but also (AFAICT) involving more code. Nobody wants a big bloated C runtime, so I think "good enough" in this case is good enough.

/Pelle

#### gjacc

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• Posts: 4
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2020, 08:58:08 pm »

I get that. It should be available within the next couple of weeks.
I have two annoying bugs to fix. Christian is looking at the German translation and web site.

What's new in version 10 ?

#### frankie

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• Posts: 1764
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2020, 09:01:36 pm »
There are apparently a few modern/popular methods of doing this kind conversion, with possibly slightly better results, but also (AFAICT) involving more code. Nobody wants a big bloated C runtime, so I think "good enough" in this case is good enough.
Right decision, the issue, if it could really be defined a problem, arise when the magnitude becomes very large (or very small), in a field that should be of interest only to very specific applications that are supposed to use better tools for calculations (i.e. bignum libraries).
I haven't investigated much, I should confess (actually the work takes a lot of energy to recover delays due to COVID-19), but the point seem to be the use of floating variables through the conversion process, which introduce the rounding errors at some point when the converted value exceeds the mantissa capacity, propagating the rounding through the flow. The trick should be to mask resolution when the magnitude of the value becomes large enough (i.e. when reached the max significant digit number for the mantissa just output 0's  ).
Waiting for release...
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 09:31:05 pm by frankie »

#### Akko

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• Posts: 21
##### Re: Factorial Bug
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2020, 11:23:34 am »
Then there is always the fused multiply-add operator fma() with higher internal precision. So:

c = a * b;  <==>  c = fma (a, b, 0.);

I hope that Pelle's upcoming C version will support __int128_t and fp quad math.