Introduction to Computer Data Representation

Floating-Point Representations

Author(s): Peter Fenwick

Pp: 103-126 (24)

DOI: 10.2174/9781608058822114010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


This chapter extends the earlier representations of integers to the equivalent of the real numbers of scientific calculation. It discusses the basic ideas, especially with reference to the IEEE 754 standard, and contrasting with descriptions of the IBM S/360 and Burroughs B6700 representations. There is extensive discussion of the requirements of ideal floating-point representations and the failings of practical implementations. Special mention is made of the requirements of range, precision and rounding. It concludes with examples of straight-forward calculations which can easily overwhelm many floating-point systems.

Keywords: Floating-point basics, IEEE 754 standard, Floating-point precision, Floating-point range, Floating-point rounding, Not a Number (NaNs), examples of range problems.

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