This section needs to be rewritten, it currently describes the algorithms used before GMP 4.3.
Conversions from a power-of-2 radix into binary use a simple and fast O(N) bitwise concatenation algorithm.
Conversions from other radices use one of two algorithms. Sizes below
SET_STR_PRECOMPUTE_THRESHOLD use a basic O(N^2) method. Groups
of n digits are converted to limbs, where n is the biggest
power of the base b which will fit in a limb, then those groups are
accumulated into the result by multiplying by b^n and adding. This
saves multi-precision operations, as per Knuth section 4.4 part E
(see References). Some special case code is provided for decimal, giving
the compiler a chance to optimize multiplications by 10.
SET_STR_PRECOMPUTE_THRESHOLD a sub-quadratic algorithm is used.
First groups of n digits are converted into limbs. Then adjacent
limbs are combined into limb pairs with x*b^n+y, where x
and y are the limbs. Adjacent limb pairs are combined into quads
similarly with x*b^(2n)+y. This continues until a single block
remains, that being the result.
The advantage of this method is that the multiplications for each x are
big blocks, allowing Karatsuba and higher algorithms to be used. But the cost
of calculating the powers b^(n*2^i) must be overcome.
SET_STR_PRECOMPUTE_THRESHOLD usually ends up quite big, around 5000 digits, and on
some processors much bigger still.
SET_STR_PRECOMPUTE_THRESHOLD is based on the input digits (and tuned
for decimal), though it might be better based on a limb count, so as to be
independent of the base. But that sort of count isn’t used by the base case
and so would need some sort of initial calculation or estimate.
The main reason
SET_STR_PRECOMPUTE_THRESHOLD is so much bigger than the
GET_STR_PRECOMPUTE_THRESHOLD is that
much faster than
mpn_divrem_1 (often by a factor of 5, or more).