Decimal Floating Point - Implementations


Early mechanical uses of decimal floating point are evident in the abacus, slide rule, the Smallwood calculator, and some other calculators that support entries in scientific notation. In the case of the mechanical calculators, the exponent is often treated as side information that is accounted for separately.

Some computer languages have implementations of decimal floating point arithmetic, including Java with big decimal, emacs with calc, python, and in Unix the bc and dc calculators.

In 1987, the IEEE released IEEE 854, a standard for computing with decimal floating point, which lacked a specification for how floating point data should be encoded for interchange with other systems. This is being addressed in IEEE 754-2008 which standardizes the encodings of decimal floating point data, albeit with two different alternative encodings.

IBM POWER6 includes DFP in hardware, as does the IBM System z9. SilMinds offers SilAx; a configurable vector DFP coprocessor. IEEE 754-2008 defines this in more detail.

Microsoft C#, or .NET, uses System.Decimal.

Read more about this topic:  Decimal Floating Point

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