Re: Arithmetic accuracy, was Compiler bugs

Joachim Durchholz <>
16 Jan 2002 23:37:58 -0500

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Re: Arithmetic accuracy, was Compiler bugs (2002-01-24)
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From: Joachim Durchholz <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 16 Jan 2002 23:37:58 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 02-01-015 02-01-029 02-01-054
Keywords: errors, arithmetic
Posted-Date: 16 Jan 2002 23:37:58 EST

David Chase wrote:

> I'm a little curious about one thing -- does anyone, besides a
> specifications- and-exact-correctness weenie like myself, actually
> care about this level of detail in machine floating point?

I can identify several groups of people who would be fussy about such

Numeric algorithm implementors (because some algorithms depend
crucially on such precision, or - even more relevant - that the
round-off behaviour is predictable because the algorithm cancels them

Anybody who uses this type of numeric library (typically scientific
computations and simulation).

People who are doing calculations for stuff that's safety-critical
(bridge construction, building construction) - not because any serious
problems are expected, but because these people cannot easily evaluate
whether the deficit is serious or not. (Plus there are enough reliable
applications around, so why switch to one with known deficits?)


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