PEP 238 (revised)

Chris Barker chrishbarker at
Mon Jul 30 19:50:59 CEST 2001

James Logajan wrote:

> Is the intent to do
> IEEE-754 FP arithmetic on all platforms when FP is involved? What if the
> underlying hardware isn't conformant? Sorry, since this seems to be going
> through the python-list mailing list, the "References:" header isn't being
> included for some reason, so I missed the introduction of IEEE-754 into the
> discussion. Can't find it mentioned in that PEP (unless it is in another PEP
> or is documented elsewhere).

There is no mention of it in the PEP. I think IEEE-754 was brought up

a) it is a standard for floating point computation
b) it is a very good standard. HTe only piece of it that I have heard
serious objection to is the number of bits in the exponent for doubles.
c) it is implimented (most of it anyway) on the vast majority of
hardware sold today.

Because of these points, it is a good context in which to test possible
computation schemes. IF you can't comply with IEEE-754 with a given
proposal, it probably has an important flaw.

By the way, I think a number of us on this list would love to see Python
be IEEE-754 compliant. Unfortunately, that is very difficult given that
not all hardware and C libraries support it.


Christopher Barker,
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