Home » How to do integer & float calculations, in bash or other languages/frameworks?

How to do integer & float calculations, in bash or other languages/frameworks?


There are lots of options!!!


$ printf %.10f\n "$((10**9 * 20/7))e-9"   # many shells. Not mksh.
$ echo "$((20.0/7))"                       # (ksh93/zsh/yash, some bash)
$ awk "BEGIN {print (20+5)/2}"
$ zcalc
$ bc <<< 20+5/2
$ bc <<< "scale=4; (20+5)/2"
$ dc <<< "4 k 20 5 + 2 / p"
$ expr 20 + 5
$ calc 2 + 4
$ node -pe 20+5/2  # Uses the power of JavaScript, e.g. : node -pe 20+5/Math.PI
$ echo 20 5 2 / + p | dc 
$ echo 4 k 20 5 2 / + p | dc 
$ perl -E "say 20+5/2"
$ python -c "print(20+5/2)"
$ python -c "print(20+5/2.0)"
$ clisp -x "(+ 2 2)"
$ lua -e "print(20+5/2)"
$ php -r 'echo 20+5/2;'
$ ruby -e 'p 20+5/2'
$ ruby -e 'p 20+5/2.0'
$ guile -c '(display (+ 20 (/ 5 2)))'
$ guile -c '(display (+ 20 (/ 5 2.0)))'
$ slsh -e 'printf("%f",20+5/2)'
$ slsh -e 'printf("%f",20+5/2.0)'
$ tclsh <<< 'puts [expr 20+5/2]'
$ tclsh <<< 'puts [expr 20+5/2.0]'
$ sqlite3 <<< 'select 20+5/2;'
$ sqlite3 <<< 'select 20+5/2.0;'
$ echo 'select 1 + 1;' | sqlite3 
$ psql -tAc 'select 1+1'
$ R -q -e 'print(sd(rnorm(1000)))'
$ r -e 'cat(pi^2, "n")'
$ r -e 'print(sum(1:100))'
$ smjs
$ jspl
$ gs -q  <<< "5 2 div 20 add  ="



You can use POSIX arithmetic expansion for integer arithmetic echo "$((...))":

$ echo "$((20+5))"
$ echo "$((20+5/2))"

Quite portable (ash dash yash bash ksh93 lksh zsh):
Using printf ability to print floats we can extend most shells to do floating point math albeit with a limited range (no more than 10 digits):

$ printf %.10f\n "$((1000000000 *   20/7  ))e-9"

ksh93, yash and zsh do support floats here:

$ echo "$((1.2 / 3))"

only ksh93 (directly) and zsh loading library mathfunc here:

$ echo "$((4*atan(1)))"

(zsh need to load zmodload zsh/mathfunc to get functions like atan ).

Interactively with zsh:

$ autoload zcalc
$ zcalc
1> PI/2
2> cos($1)
3> :sci 12

With (t)csh (integer only):

% @ a=25 / 3; echo $a

In the rc shell family, akanga is the one with arithmetic expansion:

; echo $:25/3

POSIX toolchest

bc (see below for interactive mode), manual here

Mnemonic: best calculator (though the b is in fact for basic).

$ echo 20+5/2 | bc
$ echo 'scale=4;20+5/2' | bc

(supports arbitrary precision numbers)

bc interactive mode:

$ bc
bc 1.06.95
Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type `warranty'. 


Rush’s solution, expr (no interactive mode):

$ expr 20 + 5
$ expr 20 + 5 / 2

Joshua’s solution: awk (no interactive mode):

$ calc() { awk "BEGIN{print $*}"; }
$ calc 1/3

Other more or less portable tools

Arcege’s solution, dc (interactive mode: dc):

Which is even more fun since it works by reverse polish notation.

$ echo 20 5 2 / + p | dc 
$ echo 4 k 20 5 2 / + p | dc 

But not as practical unless you work with reverse polish notation a lot.

Note that dc predates bc and bc has been historically implemented as a wrapper around dc but dc was not standardised by POSIX

DQdims’s calc (required sudo apt-get install apcalc):

$ calc 2 + 4

General purpose language interpreters:

manatwork’s solution, node (interactive mode: node; output function not needed):

$ node -pe 20+5/2  # Uses the power of JavaScript, e.g. : node -pe 20+5/Math.PI

Perl (interactive mode: perl -de 1):

$ perl -E "say 20+5/2"

Python (interactive mode: python; output function not needed):

$ python -c "print(20+5/2)"
22 # 22.5 with python3
$ python -c "print(20+5/2.0)"

Also supports arbitrary precision numbers:

$ python -c 'print(2**1234)'

If you have clisp installed, you can also use polish notation:

$ clisp -x "(+ 2 2)"

Marco’s solution, lua (interactive mode: lua):

$ lua -e "print(20+5/2)"

PHP (interactive mode: php -a):

$ php -r 'echo 20+5/2;'

Ruby (interactive mode: irb; output function not needed):

$ ruby -e 'p 20+5/2'
$ ruby -e 'p 20+5/2.0'

Guile (interactive mode: guile):

$ guile -c '(display (+ 20 (/ 5 2)))'
$ guile -c '(display (+ 20 (/ 5 2.0)))'

S-Lang (interactive mode: slsh; output function not needed, just a ; terminator):

$ slsh -e 'printf("%f",20+5/2)'
$ slsh -e 'printf("%f",20+5/2.0)'

Tcl (interactive mode: tclsh; output function not needed, but expr is):

$ tclsh <<< 'puts [expr 20+5/2]'
$ tclsh <<< 'puts [expr 20+5/2.0]'

Javascript shells:

$ smjs
js> 25/3

$ jspl
JSC: 25/3

RP: 8.33333333333333
RJS: [object Number]
Good bye...

$ node
> 25/3

Various SQL’s:

SQLite (interactive mode: sqlite3):

$ sqlite3 <<< 'select 20+5/2;'
$ sqlite3 <<< 'select 20+5/2.0;'


mysql -BNe 'select 1+1'


psql -tAc 'select 1+1

_The options on mysql and postgres stop the ‘ascii art’ image !

Specialised math-oriented languages:

R in plain mode – lets generate 1000 Normal random numbers and get the standard deviation and print it

$ R -q -e 'print(sd(rnorm(1000)))'
> print(sd(rnorm(1000)))
[1] 1.031997

R using the littler script – lets print pi squared

$ r -e 'cat(pi^2, "n")'
$  r -e 'print(sum(1:100))'
[1] 5050

PARI/GP, an extensive computer algebra system for number theory, linear algebra, and many other things

$ echo "prime(1000)"|gp -q
7919                        // the 1000th prime
$ echo "factor(1000)" | gp -q
[2 3]
[5 3]                       // 2^3*5^3
$ echo "sum(x=1,5,x)" | gp -q
15                          // 1+2+3+4+5

GNU Octave (a high-level interpreted language, primarily intended for numerical computations)

Also supports complex numbers:

$ octave
>> 1.2 / 7
ans =  0.17143
>> sqrt(-1)
ans =  0 + 1i

Julia, high-performance language and interpreter for scientific and numerical computing.

Non-interactive option:

$ julia -E '2.5+3.7'

GhostScript is a PostScript interpreter, very commonly installed even in very old distributions.
See PostScript docs for a list of supported math commands.

Interactive example:

$ GS_DEVICE=display gs
GPL Ghostscript 9.07 (2013-02-14)
Copyright (C) 2012 Artifex Software, Inc.  All rights reserved.
This software comes with NO WARRANTY: see the file PUBLIC for details.
GS>5 2 div 20 add  =

There are many ways to calculate.
For simple expressions you can use bash itself:

echo $((20+5))

or expr:

expr 20 + 5

And for complex cases there is great tool bc:

echo "20+5" | bc

Btw, bc can calculate even very complex expression with roots, logarithms, cos, sin and so on.

Nobody has mentioned awk yet?

Using POSIX shell functions, and awk math power, just define this (one line) function:

calc(){ awk "BEGIN { print $*}"; }

Then just execute things like calc 1+1 or calc 5/2

Note: To make the function always available, add it to ~/.bashrc (or your corresponding shell’s startup file)

Of course, a little script named “calc” with the following contents:

#!/bin/sh -
awk "BEGIN { print $* }"

could also work.

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