GMP 20 years

Torbjorn Granlund tg at
Thu Mar 10 21:24:16 CET 2011

The first change log in GMP is dated 1991-03-03, and the initial public
release happened in September of the same year.

So finally, GMP is no longer a teenager!

I wrote GMP because there were several bignum libraries of questionable
quality at the time, and many research projects in computational number
theory or computational algebra started with writing a bignum library.
I wanted to create a library that would allow researchers to start at a
higher level, and then also give them better performance.

Back in these days, a 32-bit multiply instruction took from around 20
cycles to around 40 cycles, and CPU clocks were about as many MHz as we
have GHz today.  Today a 64-bit multiply instruction takes just 2 cycles
on the best processors.  All-in-all, hardware developments have allowed
GMP to be perhaps 40000 times faster.

Today GMP has become used in more places than I could imagine back in
1991.  The usage has grown, but as with any software project, source
code has also grown substantially--the initial release's tar file was 50
kbyte while the latest release's tar file was 13 Mbyte.

About 25 people have contributed to GMP directly over the years--but
thousands of people have contributed to GMP indirectly by submitting bug
reports.  Thank you all!
Now, let's look forward to another 20 years of GMP development!
Extrapolating, it will have become 3 Gbyte of source code at the end of
that period...


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