
BC(1) BC(1)
NAME
bc  arbitraryprecision arithmetic language
SYNOPSIS
bc [ c ] [ l ] [ file ... ]
DESCRIPTION
Bc is an interactive processor for a language which resembles C but provides unlimited
precision arithmetic. It takes input from any files given, then reads the standard input.
The l argument stands for the name of an arbitrary precision math library. The syntax
for bc programs is as follows; L means letter az, E means expression, S means statement.
Comments
are enclosed in /* and */.
Names
simple variables: L
array elements: L [ E ]
The words `ibase', `obase', and `scale'
Other operands
arbitrarily long numbers with optional sign and decimal point.
( E )
sqrt ( E )
length ( E ) number of significant decimal digits
scale ( E ) number of digits right of decimal point
L ( E , ... , E )
Operators
+  * / % ^ (% is remainder; ^ is power)
++  (prefix and postfix; apply to names)
== <= >= != < >
= =+ = =* =/ =% =^
Statements
E
{ S ; ... ; S }
if ( E ) S
while ( E ) S
for ( E ; E ; E ) S
null statement
break
quit
Function definitions
define L ( L ,..., L ) {
auto L, ... , L
S; ... S
return ( E )
}
Functions in l math library
s(x) sine
c(x) cosine
e(x) exponential
l(x) log
a(x) arctangent
j(n,x) Bessel function
All function arguments are passed by value.
The value of a statement that is an expression is printed unless the main operator is an
assignment. Either semicolons or newlines may separate statements. Assignment to scale
influences the number of digits to be retained on arithmetic operations in the manner of
dc(1). Assignments to ibase or obase set the input and output number radix respectively.
The same letter may be used as an array, a function, and a simple variable simultaneously.
All variables are global to the program. `Auto' variables are pushed down during function
calls. When using arrays as function arguments or defining them as automatic variables
empty square brackets must follow the array name.
For example
scale = 20
define e(x){
auto a, b, c, i, s
a = 1
b = 1
s = 1
for(i=1; 1==1; i++){
a = a*x
b = b*i
c = a/b
if(c == 0) return(s)
s = s+c
}
}
defines a function to compute an approximate value of the exponential function and
for(i=1; i<=10; i++) e(i)
prints approximate values of the exponential function of the first ten integers.
Bc is actually a preprocessor for dc(1), which it invokes automatically, unless the c
(compile only) option is present. In this case the dc input is sent to the standard out
put instead.
FILES
/usr/lib/lib.b mathematical library
dc(1) desk calculator proper
SEE ALSO
dc(1)
L. L. Cherry and R. Morris, BC  An arbitrary precision deskcalculator language
BUGS
No &&, , or ! operators.
For statement must have all three E's.
Quit is interpreted when read, not when executed.
BC(1) 
