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On Properties of Floating Point Arithmetics: Numerical Stability and the Cost of Accurate Computations
, 1992
"... Floating point arithmetics generally possess many regularity properties in addition to those that are typically used in roundoff error analyses; these properties can be exploited to produce computations that are more accurate and cost effective than many programmers might think possible. Furthermore ..."
Abstract

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Floating point arithmetics generally possess many regularity properties in addition to those that are typically used in roundoff error analyses; these properties can be exploited to produce computations that are more accurate and cost effective than many programmers might think possible. Furthermore, many of these properties are quite simple to state and to comprehend, but few programmers seem to be aware of them (or at least willing to rely on them). This dissertation presents some of these properties and explores their consequences for computability, accuracy, cost, and portability. For example, we consider several algorithms for summing a sequence of numbers and show that under very general hypotheses, we can compute a sum to full working precision at only somewhat greater cost than a simple accumulation, which can often produce a sum with no significant figures at all. This example, as well as others we present, can be generalized further by substituting still more complex algorith...
Type System Support for FloatingPoint Computation
, 2001
"... Floatingpoint arithmetic is often seen as untrustworthy. We show how manipulating precisions according to the following rules of thumb enhances the reliability of and removes surprises from calculations: • Store data narrowly, • compute intermediates widely, and • derive properties widely. Further, ..."
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Floatingpoint arithmetic is often seen as untrustworthy. We show how manipulating precisions according to the following rules of thumb enhances the reliability of and removes surprises from calculations: • Store data narrowly, • compute intermediates widely, and • derive properties widely. Further, we describe a typing system for floating point that both supports and is supported by these rules. A single type is established for all intermediate computations. The type describes a precision at least as wide as all inputs to and results from the computation. Picking a single type provides benefits to users, compilers, and interpreters. The type system also extends cleanly to encompass intervals and higher precisions. 1