# Re: Notation of very large numbers

From: Jukka K. Korpela (jkorpela@cs.tut.fi)
Date: Mon Jan 23 2006 - 01:27:44 CST

• Next message: Jukka K. Korpela: "Re: Ellipsis"

On Mon, 23 Jan 2006, Philippe Verdy wrote:

> * the number "n in a triangle":
> denotes "n to the power of n" (representation is possible
> within existing Unicode plain-text),
> i.e. n^n;

By representation within existing Unicode plain-text, do you mean the
notation n^n literally (it's just an attempt at denoting n to the power n
in ASCII), or n followed by U+207F SUPERSCRIPT LATIN SMALL LETTER N,
or n followed by U+20E4 COMBINING ENCLOSING UPWARD POINTING TRIANGLE?

> * the number "n in a square":
> denotes "n within n triangles" (impossible to represent within
> existing Unicode plain-text),

If n in a triangle is n followed by U+20E4, then n in a square would be
n followed by U+20DE COMBINING ENCLOSING SQUARE.

> * the number "n in a circle" (or pentagon):
> denotes "n within n squares";

Similarly, this could, in theory, be written in Unicode as
n followed by U+20DD COMBINING ENCLOSING CIRCLE. Alternatively,
the character U+24DD CIRCLED LATIN SMALL LETTER N could be used.

> * the number "n in a hexagon":
> denotes "n within n circles" (or pentagons);
>
> * etc (generalized to polygons with growing number of vertices)

Unicode currently has no combining enclosing hexagon, not to mention
"higher" polygons.

> Such notation cannot be strictly represented as such within Unicode
> (but upper-layer mathemetical layout syntaxes may be used).

Some of the notations you mention _can_ be written in Unicode plain text,
when the symbol that is to appear in a triangle, square, or circle is a
single character.

Whether this is a feasible approach is very questionable, since in
contexts where you would use such notations, you probably need
higher-level tools (such as a formula editor, a mathematical markup
language, or some TeX-based system) anyway, and then you get much better
rendering for these notations, too.

```--
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
```

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