[Numpy-discussion] printoption to allow hexified floats?

Ken Basye kbasye1 at jhu.edu
Thu Dec 2 12:17:07 EST 2010

Thanks for the replies.

Robert is right; many numerical operations, particularly complex ones, 
generate different values across platforms, and we deal with these by 
storing the values from some platform as a reference and using 
allclose(), which requires extra work.  But many basic operations 
generate the same underlying values on IEEE 754-compliant platforms but 
don't always format floats consistently (see 
http://bugs.python.org/issue1580 for a lengthy discussion on this).  My 
impression is that Python 2.7 does a better job here, but at this point 
a lot of differences also crop up between 2.6 (or less) and 2.7 due to 
the changed formatting built into 2.7, and these are the result of 
formatting differences; the numbers themselves are identical (in our 
experience so far, at any rate).  This is a current pain-point which an 
exact representation would alleviate.

In response to David, we haven't implemented a separate print; we rely 
on the Numpy repr/str for ndarrays and the printoptions that allow some 
control over float formatting.  I'm basically proposing to add a bit 
more control there.  And thanks for the info on supported versions of 


On 12/2/10 8:14 AM, Robert Kern wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 13:18, Ken Basye<kbasye1 at jhu.edu>  wrote:
>> Hi Numpy folks,
>> ? ? When working with floats, I prefer to have exact string
>> representations in doctests and other reference-based testing; I find it
>> helps a lot to avoid chasing cross-platform differences that are really
>> about the string conversion rather than about numerical differences.
> Unfortunately, there are still cross-platform numerical differences
> that are real (but are irrelevant to the validity of the code under
> test). Hex-printing for floats only helps a little to make doctests
> useful for numerical code.

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