Simulator of arbitrary fixed and infinite precision binary floating point

Rob Clewley rob.clewley at
Mon Aug 11 06:07:08 CEST 2008

Dear list,

I have written a module to simulate the machine representation of
binary floating point numbers and their arithmetic. Values can be of
arbitrary fixed precision or infinite precision, along the same lines as
python's in-built decimal class. The code can be found here:

The design is loosely based on that decimal module, and the primary
intended use of this module is educational. You can play with different
IEEE 754 representations with different precisions and rounding modes,
and compare with infinite precision Binary numbers. For instance, it
is easy to explore machine epsilon, representation/rounding error
using a much simpler format such as a 4-bit exponent and 6-bit

The usual arithmetic operations are permitted on these objects, as
well as representations of their values in decimal or binary form.
Default contexts for half, single, double, and quadruple IEEE 754
precision floats are provided. Binary integer classes are also
provided, and some other utility functions for converting between
decimal and binary string representations. The module is compatible
with the numpy float classes and requires numpy to be installed.

The source code is released under the BSD license, but I am amenable
to other licensing ideas if there is interest in adapting the code for
some other purpose. Full details of the functionality and known issues
are in the module's docstring, and many examples of usage are in the
accompanying file (which also acts to validate the
common representations against the built-in floating point types). I
look forward to hearing feedback, especially in case of bugs or
suggestions for improvements.


Robert H. Clewley, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Georgia State University
720 COE, 30 Pryor St
Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

tel: 404-413-6420 fax: 404-413-6403

<P><A HREF="">Binary 0.1</A> - Simulator
         of arbitrary fixed and infinite precision binary floating
point.  (12-Aug-08)

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