Saturday, February 4, 2012

precision floating point numbers

precision floating point numbers:

floating point describes a method of representing real numbers in a way that can support a wide range of values. Numbers are, in general, represented approximately to a fixed number of significant digits and scaled using an exponent.

Significant digits × baseexponent

Consider the fraction 1/3. The decimal representation of this number is 0.33333333333333… with 3′s going out to infinity. An infinite length number would require infinite memory, and we typically only have 4 or 8 bytes. Floating point numbers can only store a certain number of digits, and the rest are lost. The precision of a floating point number is how many digits it can represent without information loss.

When outputting floating point numbers, cout has a default precision of 6 — that is, it assumes all variables are only significant to 6 digits, and hence it will truncate anything after that.

The following program shows cout truncating to 6 digits:


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