Defect Report #023

Submission Date: 10 Dec 92
Submittor: WG14
Source: X3J11/91-003 (Fred Tydeman)
Question 1
Assuming that 99999 is larger than DBL_MAX_10_EXP, what is the result of:
strtod("0.0e99999", &ptr);
Is it 0.0, HUGE_VAL, or undefined?
Subclause Floating constants on page 26, lines 30-32 says: ``The significand part is interpreted as a decimal rational number; the digit sequence in the exponent part is interpreted as a decimal integer. The exponent indicates the power of 10 by which the significand part is to be scaled.'' In this case 0.0e99999 means 0.0 times 10 to the power 99999, or 0.0x1099999, which has a scaled value of 0.0; therefore, return 0.0.
Subclause The strtod function on page 151, lines 12-14 says: ``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.'' Since the exponent (99999 in this case) is larger than DBL_MAX_10_EXP, the value is outside the range of representable values (overflow). Therefore, return HUGE_VAL.
Subclause Characteristics of floating types <float.h>, pages 14-16, describes the model that defines the floating-point types. The number 0.0e99999, as written, is not part of that model (it cannot be represented since the exponent is larger than emax). From subclause Floating types page 35, lines 11-13, ``... if the value being converted is outside the range of values that can be represented, the behavior is undefined.'' Therefore, since this number, as written, has no representation, the behavior is undefined.
According to our response to Defect Report #025, Question 1, the result of strtod("0.0e99999", &ptr) is exactly representable, i.e., it lies within the range of representable values. Therefore, by subclause, Returns, the value zero shall be returned in this case, and errno shall not be set. (This means that implementations have to test for the special case of zero when creating floating-point representations from characters.)
Note also that strtod("0.0e-99999", &ptr) is not a case of underflow, so errno shall not be set to ERANGE in this case either.
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