Fix Python – Handling very large numbers in Python

Question

Asked By – Yes – that Jake.

I’ve been considering fast poker hand evaluation in Python. It occurred to me that one way to speed the process up would be to represent all the card faces and suits as prime numbers and multiply them together to represent the hands. To whit:

class PokerCard:
    faces = '23456789TJQKA'
    suits = 'cdhs'
    facePrimes = [11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 53, 59, 61]
    suitPrimes = [2, 3, 5, 7]

AND

    def HashVal(self):
      return PokerCard.facePrimes[self.cardFace] * PokerCard.suitPrimes[self.cardSuit]

This would give each hand a numeric value that, through modulo could tell me how many kings are in the hand or how many hearts. For example, any hand with five or more clubs in it would divide evenly by 2^5; any hand with four kings would divide evenly by 59^4, etc.

The problem is that a seven-card hand like AcAdAhAsKdKhKs has a hash value of approximately 62.7 quadrillion, which would take considerably more than 32 bits to represent internally. Is there a way to store such large numbers in Python that will allow me to perform arithmetic operations on it?

Now we will see solution for issue: Handling very large numbers in Python


Answer

Python supports a “bignum” integer type which can work with arbitrarily large numbers. In Python 2.5+, this type is called long and is separate from the int type, but the interpreter will automatically use whichever is more appropriate. In Python 3.0+, the int type has been dropped completely.

That’s just an implementation detail, though — as long as you have version 2.5 or better, just perform standard math operations and any number which exceeds the boundaries of 32-bit math will be automatically (and transparently) converted to a bignum.

You can find all the gory details in PEP 0237.

This question is answered By – Ben Blank

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