Thursday, December 25, 2008

[TECH] Simple comparision of real numbers

We know that the fixed precision representation of real numbers is done by mapping them into integer space I from real space R. However the underlying integer representation of the 32-bit floats and 64-bit doubles is a sign magnitude representation (that is the reason why we see -0.00 during output of some numerical algorithms). People seem to be adding a constant to convert the underlying sign magnitude form to 2's compliment. However following is a more logical conversion (since we know that 2's compliment is 1's compliment +1 , the motivation of 2's compliment is to avoid the -0 as we know). The following comparison routine compares two floating point numbers (add the tolerance in the terms of the number the real numbers to make it approximate comparison).

/*Less than or greater than*/
char CompareFloats(float a, float b){
    int aint = *(int *)&a;
    int bint = *(int *)&b;
    aint = (aint & (1UL<<31))? ~(aint^(1UL<<31))+1:aint;
    bint = (bint & (1UL<<31))? ~(bint^(1UL<<31))+1:bint;
    aint -= bint;
    printf("%f %s %f \n",a,(aint <0)?"<":">=",b);
    printf("There are %d real numbers \n",(aint<0)?-aint:aint);
    printf("between %f and %f (in 32 bit float representation)\n",a,b);

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