Floating Point/Introduction

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What This Book is About[edit]

This book is about the use of floating point numbers for computers. The beginning parts of this book explore floating-point numbers in general, but we quickly focus our attention on the famous IEEE 754 floating point standard. This book will cover topics of floating-point theory, floating point algorithms, and floating-point hardware.

Who This Book is For[edit]

It has been said that every computer programmer should know about floating-point numbers, because they are so pervasive in modern computers. Beyond that, scientists and engineers should also know about the limitations and quirks of a floating point system. Since this book is going to attempt to explore floating point numbers in their entirety, all people who come in contact with floating-point numbers may find it useful (or even be able to contribute!). This includes software programmers, hardware designers, and casual computer users.

How This Book is Organized[edit]

This book attempts to be organized in a logical manner, with basic and broad subjects being covered in the first section. Subjects that are more specialized and difficult are presented at later chapters. The first section will talk about scientific notation, and introduce the concepts of floating point and fixed-point numbers. The second section will present the IEEE 754 floating point standard, including data formats, special numbers, and normalization. The third section will discuss the topic of floating-point arithmetic, including algorithms, hardware implementation, and related topics. The fourth section will talk about some advanced topics, such as floating point exceptions, flags, and trap handlers. Additional sections may be added later.

Where to Go From Here[edit]

This book aims to be a complete resource for the use of floating-point numbers and therefore there are no other wikibook resources available for further reading on the topic.