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Static and Dynamic Numerical Characteristics of Floating-Point Arithmetic

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1 Author(s)
Cody, William J. ; Applied Mathematics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill. 60439.

The appearance of hexadecimal floating-point arithmetic systems has prompted a continuing discourse on the relative numerical merits of various choices of base. Until lately this discourse has centered around the static properties of the floating-point representation of numbers, and has primarily concerned only binary and hexadecimal representations. Recent events may change this discourse considerably. A third numerically attractive alternative for the choice of base has been proposed, and a comparison of the dynamic numerical properties of floating-point arithmetic systems has been completed. This paper surveys these recent events and summarizes our current knowledge of the numerical characteristics of floating-point arithmetic systems.

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Computers, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:C-22 ,  Issue: 6 )