In order to use a library function, it is necessary to call the appropriate header file at the beginning of the program. The header file informs the program of the name, type, and number and type of arguments, of all of the functions contained in the library in question. A header file is called via the preprocessor statement
filenamerepresents the name of the header file.
A library function is accessed by simply writing the function name, followed by a list of arguments, which represent the information being passed to the function. The arguments must be enclosed in parentheses, and separated by commas: they can be constants, variables, or more complex expressions. Note that the parentheses must be present even when there are no arguments.
The C math library has the header file math.h, and contains the following useful functions:
Function Type Purpose -------- ---- ------- acos(d) double Return arc cosine of d (in range 0 to pi) asin(d) double Return arc sine of d (in range -pi/2 to pi/2) atan(d) double Return arc tangent of d (in range -pi/2 to pi/2) atan2(d1, d2) double Return arc tangent of d1/d2 (in range -pi to pi) cbrt(d) double Return cube root of d cos(d) double Return cosine of d cosh(d) double Return hyperbolic cosine of d exp(d) double Return exponential of d fabs(d) double Return absolute value of d hypot(d1, d2) double Return sqrt(d1 * d1 + d2 * d2) log(d) double Return natural logarithm of d log10(d) double Return logarithm (base 10) of d pow(d1, d2) double Return d1 raised to the power d2 sin(d) double Return sine of d sinh(d) double Return hyperbolic sine of d sqrt(d) double Return square root of d tan(d) double Return tangent of d tanh(d) double Return hyperbolic tangent of dHere, Type refers to the data type of the quantity that is returned by the function. Moreover, d, d1, etc. indicate arguments of type double.
A program that makes use of the C math library would contain the statement
#include <math.h>close to its start. In the body of the program, a statement like
x = cos(y);would cause the variable x to be assigned a value which is the cosine of the value of the variable y (both x and y should be of type double).
Note that math library functions tend to be extremely expensive in terms of CPU time, and
should, therefore, only be employed when absolutely necessary. The classic illustration
of this point is the use of the pow() function. This function assumes that, in general,
it will be called with a fractional power, and, therefore, implements a full-blown (and
series expansion. Clearly, it is not computationally efficient to use this function to
square or cube a quantity. In other words, if a quantity needs to be raised to a small,
positive integer power then this should be implemented directly, instead of
using the pow() function: i.e., we should write
x * x rather than
pow(x, 2), and
x * x * x rather than pow(x, 3), etc.
(Of course, a properly designed exponentiation function would realize that it is more
efficient to evaluate small positive integer powers by the direct method. Unfortunately,
the pow() function was written by computer scientists!)
The C math library comes with a useful set of predefined mathematical constants:
Name Description ---- ----------- M_PI Pi, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. M_PI_2 Pi divided by two. M_PI_4 Pi divided by four. M_1_PI The reciprocal of pi (1/pi). M_SQRT2 The square root of two. M_SQRT1_2 The reciprocal of the square root of two (also the square root of 1/2). M_E The base of natural logarithms.
The other library functions commonly used in C programs will be introduced, as appropriate, during the remainder of this discussion.