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Re^3: Is this odd behavior a floating point problem?

by davido (Archbishop)
on Mar 23, 2012 at 18:09 UTC ( #961274=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: Is this odd behavior a floating point problem?
in thread Is this odd behavior a floating point problem?

It's not a Perl problem, it's the problem of representing a non-terminating series for base 2 using a finite number of binary digits. You are accustomed to seeing it in base ten when you try to represent 1/3rd, yet I hear no complaints that your ten counting fingers are malfunctioning. Your calculator gets it right by rounding to the eight or ten significant digits that you see on its little LCD display. In other words, it really doesn't get it right; it just covers up the ugliness. And, in fact, I see a nearly identical question every day in reference to C, C++, PHP, and myriad other programming languages over on StackOverflow. It's not a problem unique to Perl.

I understand that the "What every computer scientist should know..." article is a little beyond what someone who just wants to get the job done might want to digest. That's fine, the article goes into painful details. Try this response (shameless plug, I wrote it), which tries to spell it out in less technical terms: Re: shocking imprecision.


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