Real Numbers: Underflow and overflow

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PAPER 2 - ⇑ Fundamentals of data representation ⇑

← Normalisation Underflow and overflow Character form of decimal digit →

From the Specification : Fundmentals of Data Representation
  • Explain underflow and overflow and describe the circumstances in which they occur.


When a number or the result of an equation is too small, you might not have enough digits in your mantissa and exponent to show it. In the following example the number would register as 0

Try and show 0.0000000000000000000000000001 in 12 bit FP


When the result of a sum is too large to be represented by your number system you might run out of space to represent it and end up storing a much smaller number

Try and show 99,999,999,999,999,999,999 in 12 bit FP