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An arbitrary precision calculator language



Syntax

bc options file...


Options:

-h, --help

Print the usage and exit.


file A file containing the calculations/functions to perform.

May be piped from standard input


-i, --interactive

Force interactive mode.


-l, --mathlib

Define the standard math library.


-w, --warn

Give warnings for extensions to POSIX bc.


-s, --standard

Process exactly the POSIX bc language.


-q, --quiet

Do not print the normal GNU bc welcome.


-v, --version

Print the version number and copyright and quit.



bc is a language that supports arbitrary precision numbers with interactive execution of statements. bc starts by processing code from all the files listed on the command line in the order listed. After all files have been processed, bc reads from the standard input. All code is executed as it is read. (If a file contains a command to halt the processor, bc will never read from the standard input.)



The most common use of bc is within a shell script, using a "here" document to pass the program details to bc.



Example shell script



#!/bin/bash

# bcsample - An example of calculations with bc

if [ $# != 1 ]

then

echo "A number argument is required"

exit

fi


bc
scale=6

/* first we define the function */

define myfunc(x){

return(sqrt(x) + 10);

}


/* then use the function to do the calculation*/

x=$1

"Processing";x;" result is ";myfunc(x)

quit

END-OF-INPUT


echo "(to 6 decimal places)"[/code]


Run the script above with:

$ chmod a+x bcsample

$ ./bcsample 125




Standard functions supported by bc



length ( expression )




The value of the length function is the number of significant digits in the expression.

read ( )




Read a number from the standard input, regardless of where the function occurs. Beware, this can cause problems with the mixing of data and program in the standard input. The best use for this function is in a previously written program that needs input from the user, but never allows program code to be input from the user.



scale ( expression )




The number of digits after the decimal point in the expression.



sqrt ( expression )


The square root of the expression.



Most standard math expressions are of course supported: + - / * % ^



++ var


increment the variable by one and set the new value as the result of the expression.



var ++


The result of the expression is the value of the variable and the variable is then incremented by one.



-- var


decrement the variable by one and set the new value as the result of the expression.



var --


The result of the expression is the value of the variable and the variable is then decremented by one.



( expr )


Brackets alter the standard precedence to force the evaluation of an expression.



var = expr


The variable var is assigned the value of the expression.



Relational expressions and Boolean operations are also legal, look at the full bc man page for more



Comments


/* In-line comments */


# single line comment. The end of line character is not part of the comment and is processed normally.



“If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics” - Galileo



Related bash commands:



dc - Desk Calculator


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