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double data type ... question ?????

Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Currently using a double data to run an accumulator in a for loop. I am adding .1 to each cycle of the loop, however, the expected result is off by a very minor number ie - .000000000022, can't give much more info because it relates to an assignment in the cattle drive.
Any ideas?
Stephanie Grasson
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Joined: Jun 14, 2000
Posts: 347
Here is a quote from "Java 2 for Professional Developers" by Michael Morgan:

"Floating point numbers are like piles of sand -- whenever you move them you lose a little sand, and pick up a little dirt. This happens because the computer stores the significant bits (called the mantissa separately from the exponent. As you do arithmetic that changes the exponent, the significance of the bits in the mantissa changes. Bits that are insignificant in one step may show up as significant parts of the number later in the calculation."

Hope this helps.
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Thanks for the input ... part of the learning process. You answered my question ... only to bring up another, so in the "real world" .... how do I perform a calculation and maintain the integrity of the data being processed (ie. paychecks. order entries, etc...)
If I'm doing math with a double or float, do I have to convert it to an int or long, then convert it back. Perhaps a few desired method calls from the math package with do the trick ??? .......... I dunno ?? just wondering.
Steve Fahlbusch

Joined: Sep 18, 2000
Posts: 601

If you are doing fix point (ie like dollars and cents) you
would use ints or longs to hold the numbers not floating
point numbers.
The reason for this is exactally the point you led with, you
get precision error. for most financial type software we
handle this with fixed point number that we "shift" when we
input, calcluate or output.
The best example of the is good old Cobol, where we would
define a number (it would be stored as an integer) with a
picture (a mask used to "fix" the number when transformations
would occur, like:
then you could calcuate amount = rate * hours.
which would internally yeild a number with 4 decimal point, and
would automatically truncate to two decimal points.
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Cobol ??? WOW - I haven't touch that in 7+ years !!! .... but I did understand your explaination.
Thanks for the response.
Garann Means
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Joined: Jan 28, 2002
Posts: 214
Admittedly, this is a judgement call, but I hope someone can advise me on whether I should worry about the mantissa affecting the integrity of my variables. I only need the tenths place, and so far the unexpected number only show up starting at about the ten-millionths place. I'm testing this on the server where it will run, and it's all going to stay on the server as it's part of the backend to a web app. However, we're going to be getting a new server within the year. Should I worry that on the new server, the mantissa may approach the tenths place enough to affect how it is rounded?
Thanks in advance for your thoughtful elucidation.
Ilja Preuss

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
No, you should not need to worry about this. There might be small differences in results between JVMs, but not that big that you will likely be affected.
If you *really* need the same result on every JVM, you can use the strictfp keyword (http://java.about.com/library/glossary/bldef-strictfp.htm) in your variable declarations.
This way calculations are guaranteed to get the exactly same results on every JVM, though you might lose some performance.

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