Expressing Mathematical Subroutines Constructively

Unknown author (1987-11-01)

The typical subroutines that compute $\\sin(x)$ and $\\exp(x)$ bear little resemblance to our mathematical knowledge of these functions: they are composed of concrete arithmetic expressions that include many mysterious numerical constants. Instead of programming these subroutines conventionally, we can express their construction using symbolic ideas such as periodicity and Taylor series. Such an approach has many advantages: the code is closer to the mathematical basis of the function, less vulnerable to errors, and is trivially adaptable to various precisions.