Java News from Tuesday, October 28, 2008

IBM's developerWorks has published my latest article, Java's new math, Part 1: Real numbers. Sometimes you're so familiar with a class you stop paying attention to it. If you could write the documentation for java.lang.Foo, and Eclipse will helpfully autocomplete the functions for you, why would you ever need to read its Javadoc? Such was my experience with java.lang.Math, a class I thought I knew really, really well. Imagine my surprise, then, when I recently happened to be reading its Javadoc for possibly the first time in half a decade and realized that the class had almost doubled in size with 20 new methods I'd never heard of. Obviously it was time to take another look.

Java 5 added 10 new methods to java.lang.Math and Java 6 added another 10. In this article, I focus on the more purely mathematical functions provided, such as log10 and cosh. In Part 2, I'll explore the functions more designed for operating on floating point numbers as opposed to abstract real numbers.

I will confess there are at least two mathematical errors in this article. They'll be fixed tomorrow. In the meantime, see if you spot them. For part 2, I'll have to ask a mathematician to proofread.