## Defect Report #025

Submission Date: 10 Dec 92
Submittor: WG14
Source: X3J11/91-005 (Fred Tydeman)
Question 1
What is meant by ``representable floating-point value?'' Assume double precision, unless stated otherwise.
First, some definitions based partially upon the floating-point model in subclause 5.2.4.2.2, on pages 14-16 of the C Standard:

1. +Normal Numbers: DBL_MIN to DBL_MAX, inclusive; normalized (first significand digit is non-zero), sign is +1.
2. -Normal Numbers: -DBL_MAX to -DBL_MIN, inclusive; normalized.
3. +Zero: All digits zero, sign is +1; (true zero).
4. -Zero: All digits zero, sign is -1.
5. Zero: Union of +zero and -zero.
6. +Denormals: Exponent is ``minimum'' (biased exponent is zero); first significand digit is zero; sign is +1. These are in range +DBL_DeN (inclusive) to +DBL_MIN (exclusive). (Let DBL_DeN be the symbol for the minimum positive denormal, so we can talk about it by name.)
7. -Denormals: same as +denormals, except sign, and range is -DBL_MIN (exclusive) to -DBL_DeN (inclusive).
8. +Unnormals: Biased exponent is non-zero; first significand digit is zero; sign is +1. These overlap the range of +normals and +denormals.
9. -Unnormals: Same as +unnormals, except sign; range is over -normals and -denormals.
10. +infinity: From IEEE-754.
11. -infinity: From IEEE-754.
12. Quiet NaN (Not a Number); sign does not matter; from IEEE-754.
13. Signaling NaN; sign does not matter; from IEEE-754.
14. NaN: Union of Quiet NaN and Signaling NaN.
15. Others: Reserved (VAX?) and Indefinite (CDC/Cray?) act like NaN.
On the real number line, these symbols order as:
```[   1   )[   2   ](   3   ](  4 )(  6 )[   7   )[   8   ](   9   ]
+--------+-------+--------+------+-+------+--------+-------+--------+
-INF -DBL_MAX -DBL_MIN -DBL_Den -0 +0 +DBL_Den +DBL_MIN +DBL_MAX +INF
```
Non-real numbers are: SNaN, QNaN, and NaN; call this region 10.
Regions 1 and 9 are overflow, 2 and 8 are normal numbers, 3 and 7 are denormal numbers (pseudo underflow), 4 and 6 are true underflow, and 5 is zero.
So, the question is: What does ``representable (double-precision) floating-point value'' mean:
1. Regions 2, 5 and 8 (+/- normals and zero)
2. Regions 2, 3, 5, 7, and 8 (+/- normals, denormals, and zero)
3. Regions 2 through 8 [-DBL_MAX ... +DBL_MAX]
4. Regions 1 through 9 [-INF ... +INF]
5. Regions 1 through 10 (reals and non-reals)
6. What the hardware can represent
7. Something else? What?
Subclause 5.2.4.2.2 Characteristics of floating types <float.h>, page 14, lines 32-34:
The characteristics of floating types are defined in terms of a model that describes a representation of floating-point numbers and values that provide information about an implementation's floating-point arithmetic.
Same section, page 15, line 6:
A normalized floating-point number x ... is defined by the following model: ...
That model is just normalized numbers and zero (appears to include signed zeros). It excludes denormal and unnormal numbers, infinities, and NaNs. Are signed zeros required, or just allowed?
Subclause 6.1.3.1 Floating constants, page 26, lines 32-35: ``If the scaled value is in the range of representable values (for its type) the result is either the nearest representable value, or the larger or smaller representable value immediately adjacent to the nearest value, chosen in an implementation-defined manner.''
A B y C x D E z F
-DBL_Den 0.0 +DBL_Den +DBL_MIN +DBL_MAX +INF
The representable numbers are A, B, C, D, E, and F. The number x can be converted to B, C, or D! But what if B is zero, C is DBL_DeN (denormal), and D is DBL_MIN (normalized). Is x representable? It is not in the range DBL_MIN ... DBL_MAX and its inverse causes overflow; so those say not valid. On the other hand, it is in the range DBL_DeN ... DBL_MAX and it does not cause underflow; so those say it is valid.
What if B is zero, A is -DBL_DeN (denormal), and C is +DBL_DeN (denormal); is y representable? If so, its nearest value is zero, and the immediately adjacent values include a positive and a negative number. So a user-written positive number is allowed to end up with a negative value!
What if E is DBL_MAX and F is infinity (on a machine that uses infinities, IEEE-754)? Does z have a representation? If z came from 1.0/x, then z caused overflow which says invalid. But on IEEE-754 machines, it would either be DBL_MAX or infinity depending upon the rounding control, so it has a representation and is valid.
What is ``nearest?'' In linear or logarithmic sense? If the number is between 0 and DBL_DeN, e.g.,
10-99999, it is linear-nearest to zero, but log-nearest to DBL_DeN. If the number is between DBL_MAX and INF, e.g., 10+99999, it is linear- and log-nearest to DBL_MAX. Or is everything bigger than DBL_MAX nearest to INF?
Subclause 6.2.1.3 Floating and integral, page 35, Footnote 29: ``Thus, the range of portable floating values is (-1,Utype_MAX+1).''
Subclause 6.2.1.4 Floating types, page 35, lines 11-15: ``When a double is demoted to float or a long double to double or float, if the value being converted is outside the range of values that can be represented, the behavior is undefined. If the value being converted is in the range of values that can be represented but cannot be represented exactly, the result is either the nearest higher or nearest lower value, chosen in an implementation-defined manner.''
Subclause 6.3 Expressions, page 38, lines 15-17: ``If an exception occurs during the evaluation of an expression (that is, if the result is not mathematically defined or not in the range of representable values for its type), the behavior is undefined.''
w = 1.0 / 0.0 ; /* infinity in IEEE-754 */
x = 0.0 / 0.0 ; /*
NaN in IEEE-754 */
y = +0.0 ; /*
plus zero */
z = - y ; /*
minus zero: Must this be -0.0? May it be +0.0? */
Are the above representable?
Subclause 7.5.1 Treatment of error conditions, page 111, lines 11-12: ``The behavior of each of these functions is defined for all representable values of its input arguments.''
What about non-numbers? Are they representable? What is sin(NaN)? If you got a NaN as input, then you can return NaN as output. But, is it a domain error? Must errno be set to EDOM? The NaN already indicates an error, so setting errno adds no more information. Assuming NaN is not part of Standard C ``representable,'' but the hardware supports it, then using NaNs is an extension of Standard C and setting errno need not be required, but is allowed. Correct?
Subclause 7.5.1 Treatment of error conditions, on page 111, lines 20-27 says: ``Similarly, a range error occurs if the result of the function cannot be represented as a double value. If the result overflows (the magnitude of the result is so large that it cannot be represented in an object of the specified type), the function returns the value of the macro HUGE_VAL, with the same sign (except for the tan function) as the correct value of the function; the value of the macro ERANGE is stored in errno. If the result underflows (the magnitude of the result is so small that it cannot be represented in an object of the specified type), the function returns zero; whether the integer expression errno acquires the value of the macro ERANGE is implementation-defined.''
What about denormal numbers? What is sin(DBL_MIN/3.0L)? Must this be considered underflow and therefore return zero, and maybe set errno to ERANGE? Or may it return DBL_MIN/3.0, a denormal number? Assuming denormals are not part of Standard C ``representable,'' but the hardware supports it, then using them is an extension of Standard C and setting errno need not be required, but is allowed. Correct?
What about infinity? What is exp(INF)? If you got an INF as input, then you can return INF as output. But, is it a range error? The output value is representable, so that says: no error. The output value is bigger than DBL_MAX, so that says: an error and set errno to ERANGE. Assuming infinity is not part of Standard C ``representable,'' but the hardware supports it, then using INFs is an extension of Standard C and setting errno need not be required, but is allowed. Correct?
What about signed zeros? What is sin(-0.0)? Must this return -0.0? May it return -0.0? May it return +0.0? Signed zeros appear to be required in the model in subclause 5.2.4.2.2 on page 15.
What is sqrt(-0.0)? IEEE-754 and IEEE-854 (floating-point standards) say this must be -0. Is -0.0 negative? Is this a domain error?
Subclause 7.9.6.1 The fprintf function on page 132, lines 32-33 says: ``(It will begin with a sign only when a negative value is converted if this flag is not specified.)''
What is fprintf(stdout, "%+.1f", -0.0);? Must it be -0.0? May it be +0.0? Is -0.0 a negative value? The model on page 15 appears to require support for signed zeros.
What is fprintf(stdout, "%f %f", 1.0/0.0, 0.0/0.0);? May it be the IEEE-854 strings of inf or infinity for the infinity and NaN for the quiet NaN? Would NaNQ also be allowed for a quiet NaN? Would NaNS be allowed for a signaling NaN? Must the sign be printed? Signs are optional in IEEE-754 and IEEE-854. Or, must it be some decimal notation as specified by subclause 7.9.6.1, page 133, line 19? Does the locale matter?
Subclause 7.10.1.4 The strtod function on page 151, lines 2-3 says: ``If the subject sequence begins with a minus sign, the value resulting from the conversion is negated.''
What is strtod("-0.0", &ptr)? Must it be -0.0? May it be +0.0? The model on page 15 appears to require support for signed zeros. All floating-point hardware I know about support signed zeros at least at the load, store, and negate/complement instruction level.
Subclause 7.10.1.4 The strtod function on page 151, lines 12-15 say: ``If the correct value is outside the range of representable values, plus or minus HUGE_VAL is returned (according to the sign of the value), and the value of the macro ERANGE is stored in errno. If the correct value would cause underflow, zero is returned and the value of the macro ERANGE is stored in errno.''
If HUGE_VAL is +infinity, then is strtod("1e99999", &ptr) outside the range of representable values, and a range error? Or is it the ``nearest'' of DBL_MAX and INF?
Response
Principles for C floating-point representation:
(These principles are intended to clarify the use of some terms in the standard; they are not meant to impose additional constraints on conforming implementations.)
1. ``Value'' refers to the abstract (mathematical) meaning; ``representation'' refers to the implementation data pattern.
2. Some (not all) values have exact representations.
3. There may be multiple exact representations for the same value; all such representations shall compare equal.
4. Exact representations of different values shall compare unequal.
5. There shall be at least one exact representation for the value zero.
6. Implementations are allowed considerable latitude in the way they represent floating-point quantities; in particular, as noted in Footnote 10 on page 14, the implementation need not exactly conform to the model given in subclause 5.2.4.2.2 for ``normalized floating-point numbers.''
7. There may be minimum and/or maximum exactly-representable values; all values between and including such extrema are considered to ``lie within the range of representable values.''
8. Implementations may elect to represent ``infinite'' values, in which case all real numbers would lie within the range of representable values.
9. For a given value, the ``nearest representable value'' is that exactly-representable value within the range of representable values that is closest (mathematically, using the usual Euclidean norm) to the given value.

(Points 3 and 4 are meant to apply to representations of the same floating type, not meant for comparison between different types.)
This implies that a conforming implementation is allowed to accept a floating-point constant of any arbitrarily large or small value.

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