Decimals not equalling themselves (e.g. 0.2 = 0.2000000001)

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVE-THIS-cybersource.com.au
Mon Aug 4 01:02:47 CEST 2008


On Sun, 03 Aug 2008 17:30:29 -0500, Larry Bates wrote:

>> As you can see, the last two decimals are very slightly inaccurate.
>> However, it appears that when n in 1/n is a power of two, the decimal
>> does not get 'thrown off'. How might I make Python recognise 0.2 as 0.2
>> and not 0.20000000000000001?
>> 
>> This discrepancy is very minor, but it makes the whole n-th root
>> calculator inaccurate. :\
> 
> What are they teaching in computer science classes these days?


I don't know about these days, but 20-odd years ago there was no 
discussion of floating point accuracy in the Comp Sci classes I did at 
Melbourne Uni. I did a class in computational mathematics, run by the 
maths department, and it discussed a lot of issues about accuracy in 
float calculations. However, if they mentioned anything about e.g. 0.2 
not being exactly representable in binary, I slept through it.

Maybe that's why I failed that class. *wry grin*


-- 
Steven



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