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Re: Another newbie question

From: Fausto Arinos de A. Barbuto
Subject: Re: Another newbie question
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 08:47:28 -0600

Dear Mr. Eaton,

At 10:44 PM 7/30/2003 -0500, you wrote:

Octave does floating point arithmetic.  It is not an arbitray
precision calculator.

        Thank you, but I learnt that already. :-) What intrigues me
is why does Octave show so many inexact, deceiving digits after
the 15th decimal place. Take Excel as an example. One can increase
the floating point representation of any real number by as many
decimal places as he/she wants. However, only zeroes are shown
from the 14th decimal place on. It also marvels me that a much-
less-than-professional program such as Windows Calculator can
represent real numbers with 31 exact decimal places -- and Octave
can't. Whether or not improved real number representation can
be implemented in Octave in the future is another story. But I
can't help pondering about those two points.

Perhaps a warning should be issued if you try to set output_precision
too high.  It should be relatively easy to do so.  Would someone like
to provide a patch?

        For the time being, a warning in Octave's manual would
suffice. That can be easily done -- or can't?



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