floating point

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floating point

A method for storing and calculating numbers in which the decimal points do not line up as in fixed point numbers. The significant digits are stored as a unit called the "mantissa," and the location of the radix point (decimal point in base 10) is stored in a separate unit called the "exponent." Floating point methods are used for calculating a large range of numbers quickly.

Floating point operations can be implemented in software or in a floating point unit (FPU), which may be a separate "math coprocessor" chip or a circuit in the CPU. See math coprocessor, numbers and NaN.

```FLOATING POINT EXAMPLESMantissa  Exponent  Value

71        0           71
71        1          710
71        2         7100
71        -1           7.1
```

How Numbers Are Stored Floating point is one of four primary ways numbers are stored in the computer.

Floating Point

a form of representation of numbers in a digital computer, with variable position of the point that separates the whole part of the number from the fraction. A floating point corresponds to the normal or semilogarithmic form of representation of numbers. For example, the numbers 5671.31 (a decimal number) and 1101.1 (a binary number) are represented in normalized form as follows: 0.567131 x 10+4 and 0.11011 x 10+100. The range of numbers that can be represented is much broader in a digital computer with a floating point than in one with a fixed point.

A floating point improves the accuracy of calculations and excludes large coefficients for most problems, thus facilitating the process of programming and problem preparation, but operations involving numbers with a floating point are more labor-intensive and digital computers with a floating point are structurally more intricate than are digital computers with a fixed point. The representation of numbers with a floating point is used in most Soviet digital computers, such as the Minsk-22, Ural-14, BESM-4, BESM-6, and M-220.

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The floating point numerals are different from the normal integer numbers.
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Microway's CTO, Stephen Fried, commented, "The latest Intel architecture is especially interesting for applications that can take advantage of the SIMD floating point units found in Dual-Core Intel(R) Xeon(R) processors.
The CSX600 Advance(TM) PCI-X board contains two CSX600 co-processors and sustains 50 GFLOPS double precision floating point performance at about 25 Watts.
As the first commercial ClearSpeed product, the CSX600 will offer 64-bit, IEEE 754 double-precision floating point reaching 25 GFLOPS sustained performance (DGEMM), while the dual-chip CSX600 board will offer 50 GFLOPS sustained.
We licensed CellMath Builder to gain access to floating point functions that significantly improve the performance and the area of our graphics processor products," said Tatsuo Yamamoto, CEO, Digital Media Professionals Inc.

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