# Questions tagged [floating-point]

A method of representing numbers by a fixed number of significant digits, and the exponent of some base number. They are characterized in the form ${(significant digits)}*base^{exponent}$. Typically, numbers are represented with respect to base = 2 (binary).

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### When should log1p and expm1 be used?

I have a simple question that is really hard to Google (besides the canonical What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic paper). When should functions such as ...
667 views

### Is there software that can autogenerate numerically-accurate floating point C routines from symbolic formulae?

Given a real function of real variables, is there software available that can automatically generate numerically-accurate code to calculate the function over all inputs on a machine equipped with IEEE ...
7k views

### How to add large exponential terms reliably without overflow errors?

A very common problem in Markov Chain Monte Carlo involves computing probabilities that are sum of large exponential terms, $e^{a_1} + e^{a_2} + ...$ where the components of $a$ can range from ...
6k views

### Which algorithm is more accurate for computing the sum of a sorted array of numbers?

Given is an increasing finite sequence of positive numbers $z_{1} ,z_{2},.....z_{n}$. Which of the following two algorithms is better for computing the sum of the numbers? ...
3k views

### Analyzing Numerical Error in C++ Function

Suppose that I have a function that takes as input several floating-point values (single or double), does some computation, and produces output floating-point values (also single or double). I am ...
380 views

### Catastrophic cancellation in logsum

I'm trying to implement the following function in double-precision floating point with low relative error: $$\mathrm{logsum}(x,y) = \log(\exp(x) + \exp(y))$$ This is used extensively in statistical ...
3k views

### Is half precision supported by modern architecture?

I am new to computer science and I was wondering whether half precision is supported by modern architecture in the same way as single or double precision is. I thought the 2008 revision of IEEE-754 ...
1k views

### Are BLAS implementations guaranteed to give the exact same result?

Given two different BLAS implementations, can we expect that they make the exact same floating point computations and return the same results? Or can it happen, for instance, that one computes a ...
10k views

### Do currently available GPUs support double precision floating point arithmetic?

I have run the molecular dynamics (MD) code GROMACS on a Ubuntu Linux cluster consisting of nodes containing 24 Intel Xeon CPUs. My particular point of interest turns out to be somewhat sensitive to ...
66k views

### How to determine the amount of FLOPs my computer is capable of

I would like to determine the theoretical number of FLOPs (Floating Point Operations) that my computer can do. Can someone please help me with this. (I would like to compare my computer to some ...
857 views

### Robust computation of the mean of two numbers in floating-point?

Let x, y be two floating-point numbers. What's the right way to compute their mean? The naive way ...
3k views

### How to avoid catastrophic cancellation in python function?

I am having trouble implementing a function numerically. It suffers from the fact that at large input values the result is a very large number times a very small number. I am not sure if catastrophic ...
506 views

### In floating point arithmetic, why does numerical imprecision result from adding a small term to a difference of large terms?

I have been reading the book Computer Simulation of Liquids by Allen and Tildesley. Starting on page 71, the authors discuss the various algorithms that are used to integrate Newton's equations of ...
6k views

### FLOP counting for library functions

When evaluating the number of FLOPs in a simple function, one can often just go down the expression tallying basic arithmetic operators. However, in the case of mathematical statements involving even ...
271 views

### Are there Improved ways of computing $p \log(p)$?

Most math libraries have a number of versions of logarithm functions. Most of the time we assume them to be perfect, but actually quite a lot of them just offer a certain number of digits of precision....
17k views

### How to set double precision values in Fortran

Recently, I've encountered a bizarre problem with FORTRAN95. I initialized variables X and Y as follows: X=1.0 Y=0.1 Later I add them together and print the ...
1k views

### Relative comparison of floating point numbers

I have a numerical function f(x, y) returning a double floating point number that implements some formula and I want to check that it is correct against analytic ...
361 views

### Small, unpredictable results in runs of a deterministic model

I have a sizable model (~5000 lines) written in C. It is a serial program, with no random number generation anywhere. It makes use of the FFTW library for functions using FFT - I do not know the ...
653 views

### Relevance of fixed-point and arbitrary precision computations

I see very few non-floating point computing libraries/packages around. Given the various inaccuracies of floating point representation, the question arises why there aren't at least some fields where ...
270 views

### Order of operations, numerical algorithms

I have read that (1) Ill conditioned operations should be performed before well conditioned ones. As an example, one should calculate $xz-yz$ as $(x-y)z$ since subtraction is ill conditioned while ...
704 views

### Integer operations vs floating point operations

I have been working with an algorithm, which uses additions of floating point vectors, (sparse matrix of floats)x(dense vector of floats) dot products I recently found out that I can get the same ...
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### Testing equality of two floats: Realistic example

When does it typically make sense in programming to be testing the equality of two floating point numbers? i.e. a == b where both a & b are floats. My ...
541 views

### What's the right way to compare vectors in floating-point?

I know that I should use a tolerance for comparing floating point numbers. But for comparing vectors, I can think of 3 possible solutions corresponding to different distance metrics: Compare the ...
530 views

### Implementing std::nextafter: Should denormals-are-zero mode affect it? If so, how?

This might be the wrong stackexchange site for this question. math.SE, cs.SE, programmers.SE, and of course stackoverflow are all possibilities. I'm hoping to reach an audience that might actually ...
586 views

### What algorithm for solving a set of stiff ODEs would be easiest to port to high precision floating point arithmetic?

I want to solve a relatively small system of stiff ODEs (< 10 first-order equations) using high precision floating point arithmetic (using MPFR or alike). What would be the easiest algorithm to ...
270 views

### Why should I renormalize physical variables?

I am working with legacy physical codes and I develop new ones based on the output of them. They all use their own internal normalization of variables (for example all distances are divided by the ...
600 views

### Hardware performance, floating point functions

First of all, hope I've found the right forum for this question, if I haven't please pass me on to a one which would fit better. Out of curiosity from an argument with someone who may or may not be ...
1k views

### Choosing epsilons

Most numerical algorithms require an epsilon to be chosen in order to be robust and provide meaningful results. Choosing machine epsilon is usually too aggressive. Barring any special knowledge ...
744 views

### Accurate Polynomial Evaluation in Floating Point

What are the most accurate algorithms for evaluating a polynomial using floating point arithmetic? The internet seems to suggest that Horner's method is commonly used. In particular I have a cubic ...
635 views

### transitive floating point comparison with (absolute) tolerance

I want to compare two floating point numbers for equality relative to a known absolute tolerance. However, this is inside an algorithm I wrote quite some time ago, and I believe the logic of that ...
465 views

### Does there exist an arbitrary-precision convex optimization solver?

I have a relatively simple convex optimization problem that involves less than 100 variables but contains a terribly ill-conditioned matrix. I have tried CVX and CPLEX; even though both can typically ...
548 views

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### Krylov subspace iterative methods in floating point arithmetic

Is there any work that considers Krylov subspace iterative methods in floating point arithmetic? I'm especially interested in how rounding errors influence the convergence and the accuracy of the ...
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### cancellation problem in float-point numbers

In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_point#Addition_and_subtraction, it gives an example about cancellation problem in float-point numbers, see I don't understand why it is written : ...
206 views

### Is it possible to proof a-b+b = a for all double floating-point numbers?

I want to know whether the equation : a-b+b = a is always true for a, b belongs to double precision floating-point number and |a|>=|b|. If the equation is true, how can I proof it? If not, what ...
254 views

### Is Highams' computation of mean worth the price?

In Accuracy and Stability of Numerical Algorithms, equation 1.6a, Higham gives the following update formula for the mean: $$M_{1} := x_1, \quad M_{k+1} := M_{k} + \frac{x_k - M_k}{k}$$ Ok, one ...
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### Numerical computation of the complex elliptic integral $E(k)$ for medium $|k|$

I have implemented Carlson's algorithm for $E(k)$ from Numerical computation of real or complex elliptic integrals (available from ArXiv eprint, see also DLMF). It is essentially his formula (46) ...
431 views

### Using Log Gamma function to avoid overflow

I have to do some numerical calculus using gamma functions. I am using the tgamma incluided in the C++ cmath library. The ...
131 views

### Does the IEEE-754 standard mandate that exp2 is rounded correctly?

The IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic section "9.2 Recommended correctly rounded functions" lists functions that are recommended (but not required) by a language standard to provide, among ...
143 views

### Accurate evaluation of the sign of a polynomial

Let $p$ be a polynomial with floating-point coefficients and let $a$ be a floating-point value. Is there a method for accurately evaluating the sign of $p(a)$ in floating-point arithmetic? I don't ...