[plt-dev] Re: [PRL] Programming Languages in the Code of Federal Regulations

From: Andrew Reilly (areilly at bigpond.net.au)
Date: Tue Apr 27 04:20:02 EDT 2010

On Tue, 27 Apr 2010 09:11:24 +0200
Michael Sperber <sperber at deinprogramm.de> wrote:

> I'll point out that floating-point vs. BCD or something like it is SO
> not an issue with the real-world financial calculations the SEC is
> worried about.  (Well, it is an issue for the calculations, but it is
> not an issue for the people doing them.)  Most everyone in that
> community has long accepted binary floating-point as completely adequate
> for doing financial calculations for complex products.

That would be why Python and Java (at least) now have decimal
floating point data types, and why the new IBM P7 processors have
decimal floating point in hardware, and why the IEEE have
ratified decimal floating point extensions to IEEE-754.  (Check
out the Wikipedia entry for IEEE 754-2008 for a quick overview.)

I'm in the camp that thinks that this is all stupid, but clearly I
don't have enough to do with the folks who think that it's worth
bothering with (or vital).  It's certainly a lot of extra hair for
the folks who's languages just have a class of "inexact"
arithmetic, I imagine.



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