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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Addendum to a multiple-precision division algorithm

In [1] Mifsud presented a generalized division algorithm for positive integral operands. The uniqueness of the method was advertised as causing each trial cipher in the quotient to be either equal to or one greater than its final replacement. The method of describing the algorithm was intended to stress the simple mathematical facts that were the basis of the algorithm. However, some difficulty arises with the programming and implementation of the algorithm. Article [1] addressed itself to the calculation of the trial cipher by using the first two digits of the partial dividend (step 6); i.e. it formed [pr+1pr/dr], with pr+1 < dr, where the bracket is used to indicate the integral part of its content. Thus the paper conveniently avoided the possibility of overflow which would happen if pr+1 = dr.

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