Re: Fixed Point Arithmetic

From: Marshall <>
Date: 29 Mar 2007 10:09:01 -0700
Message-ID: <>

On Mar 29, 7:32 am, "David Cressey" <> wrote:


> These FP numbers do not have closure over multiplication, because the
> product may have up to four significant digits after the decimal point, and
> therefore have to be rounded off for storage purposes.

Yes, and they also have overflow.

> Anyway, I'm going to say that FP numbers with a scale factor of 2 save an
> enormous amount of head-scratching when working with bean counting
> applications. You won't spend time looking for the missing penny. OTOH,
> if you use these numbers for complicated arithmetic (example: amortization
> schedule) you have to think about roundoff errors.

At my company, we often use fixedpoint with a scale factor of 6 for money.

> When it comes to the stock market, it depends on the country. AFAIK, the
> NYSE still records stock "points" in units of dollars, with binary
> fractional points like 1/4, 1/32, and the like.

I flirted with the idea of stockbroker as career. Got the license, had some clients, etc. Watched the SUNW IPO; that was cool. Had a fancy real-time market data device with me on Black Monday '87, that was dramatic. How low can it go? Ultimately it wasn't for me. Back then (mid-eighties) the NYSE still used fractions, but it's decimal now:

(Gosh I love it when the URLs are nice and clean.)

> Are fixed point numbers a useful form for DBMSes to support?

I expect so. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to specify a fixed point type just by supplying the number of bits total and the number of bits to the right of the decimal?

Marshall Received on Thu Mar 29 2007 - 19:09:01 CEST

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