IEEE 754


The IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic (IEEE 754) is a technical standard for floating-point arithmetic established in 1985 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The standard addressed many problems found in the diverse floating-point implementations that made them difficult to use reliably and portably. Many hardware floating-point units use the IEEE 754 standard.

The standard defines:

  • arithmetic formats: sets of binary and decimal floating-point data, which consist of finite numbers (including signed zeros and subnormal numbers), infinities, and special "not a number" values (NaNs)
  • interchange formats: encodings (bit strings) that may be used to exchange floating-point data in an efficient and compact form
  • rounding rules: properties to be satisfied when rounding numbers during arithmetic and conversions
  • operations: arithmetic and other operations (such as trigonometric functions) on arithmetic formats
  • exception handling: indications of exceptional conditions (such as division by zero, overflow, etc.)

IEEE 754-2008, published in August 2008, includes nearly all of the original IEEE 754-1985 standard, plus the IEEE 854-1987 Standard for Radix-Independent Floating-Point Arithmetic. The current version, IEEE 754-2019, was published in July 2019.[1] It is a minor revision of the previous version, incorporating mainly clarifications, defect fixes and new recommended operations.


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