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Generic Math in C# with .NET 6

How to perform math on generic types in C# with .NET 6

Generic types are great, but it has traditionally been difficult to do math with them. Consider the simple task where you want to accept a generic array and return its sum. With .NET 6 (and features currently still in preview), this got much easier!

public static T Sum<T>(T[] values) where T : INumber<T>
    T sum = T.Zero;
    for (int i = 0; i < values.Length; i++)
        sum += values[i];
    return sum;

To use this feature today you must:

  1. Install the System.Runtime.Experimental NuGet package
  2. Add these lines to the PropertyGroup in your csproj file:

Note that the generic math function above is equivalent in speed to one that accepts and returns double[], while a method which accepts a generic but calls Convert.ToDouble() every time is about 3x slower than both options:

// this code works on older versions of .NET but is about 3x slower
public static double SumGenericToDouble<T>(T[] values)
    double sum = 0;
    for (int i = 0; i < values.Length; i++)
        sum += Convert.ToDouble(values[i]);
    return sum;