Re: Beyond 17 planes, was: Java char and Unicode 3.0+

From: John Cowan (
Date: Thu Oct 16 2003 - 14:12:27 CST

Asmus Freytag scripsit:

> PS: private answer to Jill: make sure that your characters are always
> represented internally by infinite precision integers.

Actually, the intractability of the transfinite ordinals shows us that
there can be no such thing. Ordinary "infinite precision" integers
begin with a fixed-size length word saying how many words (for whatever
definition of "word") follow. But eventually the fixed-size length
word will overflow, and must be replaced by a variable-sized length
word, itself prefixed by a length^2 word. But eventually the length^2
word will overflow, and must be replaced .... But eventually the number
of length words will become too large, and the length-length word will
overflow, requiring ... But then ...

You can't win.

The man that wanders far              
from the walking tree                 
        --first line of a non-existent poem by:         John Cowan

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