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Concept# IEEE 754-1985

Summary

IEEE 754-1985 was an industry standard for representing floating-point numbers in computers, officially adopted in 1985 and superseded in 2008 by IEEE 754-2008, and then again in 2019 by minor revision IEEE 754-2019. During its 23 years, it was the most widely used format for floating-point computation. It was implemented in software, in the form of floating-point libraries, and in hardware, in the instructions of many CPUs and FPUs. The first integrated circuit to implement the draft of what was to become IEEE 754-1985 was the Intel 8087.
IEEE 754-1985 represents numbers in binary, providing definitions for four levels of precision, of which the two most commonly used are:
The standard also defines representations for positive and negative infinity, a "negative zero", five exceptions to handle invalid results like division by zero, special values called NaNs for representing those exceptions, denormal numbers to represent numbers smaller than shown above, and four rounding modes.
Floating-point numbers in IEEE 754 format consist of three fields: a sign bit, a biased exponent, and a fraction. The following example illustrates the meaning of each.
The decimal number 0.1562510 represented in binary is 0.001012 (that is, 1/8 + 1/32). (Subscripts indicate the number base.) Analogous to scientific notation, where numbers are written to have a single non-zero digit to the left of the decimal point, we rewrite this number so it has a single 1 bit to the left of the "binary point". We simply multiply by the appropriate power of 2 to compensate for shifting the bits left by three positions:
Now we can read off the fraction and the exponent: the fraction is .012 and the exponent is −3.
As illustrated in the pictures, the three fields in the IEEE 754 representation of this number are:
sign = 0, because the number is positive. (1 indicates negative.)
biased exponent = −3 + the "bias". In single precision, the bias is 127, so in this example the biased exponent is 124; in double precision, the bias is 1023, so the biased exponent in this example is 1020.

Official source

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