Extracting bit fields from an IEEE-784 float

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Mon Jul 30 07:17:22 CEST 2012

On 7/29/2012 8:44 PM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> I wish to extract the bit fields from a Python float, call it x. First I
> cast the float to 8-bytes:
> s = struct.pack('=d', x)
> i = struct.unpack('=q', s)[0]
> Then I extract the bit fields from the int, e.g. to grab the sign bit:
> (i & 0x8000000000000000) >> 63
> Questions:
> 1) Are there any known implementations or platforms where Python floats
> are not C doubles? If so, what are they?

CPython floats are C doubles, which should be IEEE doubles. Other 
implementations have a different to probably the same thing.

> 2) If the platform byte-order is reversed, do I need to take any special
> action? I don't think I do, because even though the float is reversed, so
> will be the bit mask. Is this correct?

The math modules functions to disassemble floats will not care.

Terry Jan Reedy

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