# [Tutor] while loop ends prematurly

Dave Angel d at davea.name
Mon Jan 2 15:01:02 CET 2012

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On 01/02/2012 01:00 AM, Sarma Tangirala wrote:
> On 2 Jan 2012 08:56, "Dave Angel"<d at davea.name>  wrote:
>>
>> Easiest answer is to use integers.  Scale everything up by a factor of
> 100, and you won't need floats at all.  Just convert when printing (and
> even then you may get into trouble).
>
> Just to add a bit here. I've seen a couple of people do it this way -
> subtract the two numbers and check if the result is above a particular
> threshold value, and if so they are not equal.
>
That was also in that Fortran reference from '67.  The trick on that is
to subtract, and compare the absolute value to an epsilon value.

if abs(a-b)< threshold:
equals-logic goes here
else:
unequals-logic goes here

It can get tricky to pick a good threshold. In this case, a thousandth
of a penny is clearly enough.  But for many programs the threshold also
has to be calculated.

In APL, this comparison logic is automated, via a concept called fuzz.
You typically specify the fuzz value once, and the threshold is
automatically calculated by something like multiplying fuzz by the
larger (in absolute value) of the two numbers being compared.

These approaches are also tricky, and when they fail, debugging them can
be very difficult.

>>
>> Another answer is to use Decimal class, which CAN represent decimal
> values exactly.
>>
>>

When I implemented the microcode math package for a processor (which
predated microprocessors like the 8080 and 8086), it was all decimal.