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I am a relative newbie with regards to Lua. I am missing dearly the
presence of a scanf() facility -- I often have to deal with tables of
numbers written in exponential or floating point notation, and the use
of sscanf on a line iteration made it much easier to read in data. I
know i could use the "*number" format but I'd rather read the file
line by line and separate it afterwards.

I am grateful for any pointers you could give me.