# Is there a calculator which supports arbitrary precision?

I have got the standard `gnome-calculator` installed, but as I am dealing with rather large numbers at the moment, I need something more powerful which can actually deal with them without falling over. So for instance at the moment I need to convert this large binary value to decimal, but when using the standard Ubuntu calculator, I find that it is unable to even represent such a large number and simply falls over. I also found a number of online conversion tools which claimed to be able to deal with large numbers, but simply ended up crashing my browser and draining my CPU cores, and not actually giving me an answer, just an error message.

So really my question is, how can I convert and deal with such large numbers in Ubuntu without the tools simply falling over and not being able to deal with it? Can any body recommend me a tool which would be able to deal with such large numbers? Even by splitting the problem up by say calculating small numbers which make up the bigger one and then adding them together or something?

OS Information:

``````Description:    Ubuntu 15.04
Release:    15.04
``````
• If you want arbitrary precision, the command line `bc` supports it, and apparently so does KCalc.
– muru
Commented May 25, 2015 at 15:18
• @muru: For what I am doing I need exact precision. Otherwise things will corrupt.
– user364819
Commented May 25, 2015 at 15:24
• Arbitrary precision is what it's called. Aside from programs, various languages support it to (Python's integer is arbitrary precision by default, IIRC).
– muru
Commented May 25, 2015 at 15:25
• The very first line: "... or sometimes infinite-precision arithmetic". Seriously, Panda, read a little, please!
– muru
Commented May 25, 2015 at 15:27
• @muru: Could you perhaps convert that into an answer and explain how to do that in `bc`, and also in KCalc? :)
– user364819
Commented May 25, 2015 at 15:59

Conversion between bases in `bc` is fairly easy. Just set `ibase` and `obase` to the required bases. The default for both is 10, so we can just set `ibase` to 2. I used a file (named, say, `foo`) containing:

``````ibase=2
001000110010000100101111011000100110100100101111011100110110100000001010000010100100011001000110010001100100011001000100100011001000110010001100100011001000100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110010001100100011001000110000101000100011000010100010001100100000010100100110111101101111011101000110100101110100001000000100100001110101011101000110010101110010001000000110100101110011011101000110000101101100011011000111001000001010001000110010000000101101001011010010110100101101001011010010110100101101001011010010110100101101001011010010110100101101001011010010110100101101001011010010110100101101001011010010110100001010001000110000101000100011001000000110111101110000011110010111001001101001011010000111010000100000010011010110100101101000011000010110010101101100001000000110111101100101011011000110010101101110001010000010000001101101011010010110001101100001011001010110110000100000010000010010000001110010011011110110111101110100011010010111010000100000010001000100111100100000011011100110110000100000001010010010001100100000010100110110010101100101
``````

Then did:

``````BC_LINE_LENGTH=0 bc < foo
``````

And got:

``````54092815572163892408691871320835878843441742154358200739802514193503700106559777912630703034541615293276307819224200216529610622995474680232056774858376334718547821285375114376081380641688861574455188048263035458730436660740197268006588426251054149055769915562896458315940255426857690288226413596255624326240083672097340012495640104988254328375506596881527149793264682898875283386831283176677569732220366162328360810588811635499256107714224425319995211927156053566476068936707073395525965251858046535620328792710424990019324816797091861157483080256515086467988420770175828678269816131716718374687464937485142421262564773518326828210212572233029823313490964052555601556143870139983752255638893351313562174458417807146970811253139555026526587468501736062881388569835594767310207580059286814684649831436689243919443317300904978521884205721935755571070381687653954054937398195074706847548722138580753898298158375889258235615911379793082434824379806754131491669110765780772789926997361233579099450884940231035713506310936384180201385083283303934170511726730027497492217277073938293589724698818626737554066668430985421727416549035850122088059471614754540940343772056897493299753470958960385684392430366688545082785935079904020091033404895457934833108952810568273814930394957285446887568750088074389808116778049629520093092017547341878902799953210446925445859197514860691283366335130995725147193507475044946234168338543429285436422361089215979015959732271512639410655422717190297500373434168408683948862724416169899858102361571649318840917194327706310736454485464427982472620937947108880612484400122593860457056269768087507695838950678327044251743743205654626749240254275099380930123618045009740651572043493635986719179039974562906951976443033138228495369979968181871634957125878431430084717869185857790775495525655579334902279367431407460585907529089638748928485196959746490286139775866211693129873321687454151188486557613224358988009334314437885380995336177176753160760359004599247710059777420122413077016793647324816498431284352281533161852704053912671483724556704609739521854726459636684897638442851084547108177213748186190454876159619303154759736667872431933721442812562134218129682978085323208140247646994871735637651549613947034862154732893111820397091575944655862837886298075825281684451237630834916464271386512852868575681337886140601650995874716013420175208801998204067681352960098738690589597167376370204356032330580212555689328750835858384172584338669942438445602271379222665790032658872883707108620235778767985694321963852727348140896347902470376943510509510302231065287708296976440990396563929299537425354754622549402417400323268469533560531060930533853043419383011517315885731991292407088304184823254459438470248412412138797138855507165270624671526947874838909399309232817568295912765579312428798986086239776749188493660303727925693728519078722634648421480136099173435919230874728505310714135886405135403878099429568601272108930132697675552455639134313832654206027645701229794140159023286291076910415974109797504715218602109096890654258357425522636915253995601613743181205692838364051966424611733842657225457302209847371823598229037538776336506865108507088458221774962934089131753228269823789769533387176055369192508097147345344644417300976713322287869955819332192430989804465022910754143079532806004095835026949675101040577262811916941669185635838048116605470754262058382763920868575728922744693180596167757495370196833051347236587748140280841805664056059151069078191566412057841355862870436144815765008252196698591000963641244182893697007117170041319971691049816879503543863958710248039132977842940530215240356920962198166673920528286734440046532541338078498566877548055239474513354595772835868170892267371656607155087497220123651497511935885448747323298667329391440007620613518444933591785819555531665510388335279822261706048993576236264756536207313467008796523424156780740864694639217130907770377575602629809682704273955976038161301707532591798473912518495928553348836504273443004524513542822184190587613440329382272825318084280146427005975803848381024402119278929511505064604849633014311796551778044381221284682759100549876829316556932070116633547136933048065601022229824162921066379629370724062809836411640098549944749733980125060735713137508929208439072737542233501149290105015167709863186823887287570846228581408319973194146722229442053978058559452854441460948782007033315166901133803044935916528118373507950202412788629335281403059901602121207207430939258287477036689165686322131258520499652185741820668519334617593047537847596864579370318625246638061927743649967517985743376781766614095964097367161551417786910809626851880317452076309474944680102710602415146146677370492765756661885756615002641276135123335691182759074609179802965328318061445995183769938334150282463238051658685766602997878917012498319177740511871037491178224365330311805067805849163747768987574246468937599647192585699067693565035262871338400336713689383767848543418630067445914949860415994866428577625508798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``````

`bc` prints output split into multiple lines if it exceeds the length, so if you have a very long number, set `BC_LINE_LENGTH` to 0 to make it print in one line.

• So is `ibase` the base which I am inputting, and `obase`, they base that is being outputted?
– user364819
Commented May 25, 2015 at 16:32
• Yep, input base and output base, respectively. "ibase and obase define the conversion base for input and output numbers. "
– muru
Commented May 25, 2015 at 16:32
• When I execute the command I just get: `(standard_in) 1: illegal character: _ (standard_in) 1: illegal character: L (standard_in) 1: illegal character: I (standard_in) 1: illegal character: N (standard_in) 1: syntax error (standard_in) 1: illegal character: _ (standard_in) 1: illegal character: L (standard_in) 1: illegal character: N (standard_in) 1: illegal character: G (standard_in) 1: illegal character: T (standard_in) 1: illegal character: H`.
– user364819
Commented May 26, 2015 at 10:09
• @ParanoidPanda where did you put `BC_LINE_LENGTH=0`, I wonder.
– muru
Commented May 26, 2015 at 10:11
• I created the file in my home directory, then went to Terminal and executed the command (after executing `bc`). Is that not where I am meant execute the command?
– user364819
Commented May 26, 2015 at 10:16