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Bad calculator design
Authored by: wkunz on Oct 10, '02 04:48:23AM

As several people have pointed out, these non-zero digits way behind the decimal point are normal in floating-point binary-to-decimal conversions. Modern calculators don't show these digits because they do the calculations using two or more digits than are shown on the display. You can still see "wrong" results sometimes in old or cheap models.
One way to avoid conversion errors is to implement the floating-point routines using BCD (binary-coded-decimal) digits, where each digit 0..9 is encoded as a 4-bit number. I worked with such packages back in the homebrew computer era (i.e. the late 70's). One reason this method is used rarely is that it's slower than pure binary math and it's less standardized (if at all, I'm not sure about that).
So the "bug" described is not really a bug but the consequence of bad calculator design. The calculator is showing too many digits. Hiding one or (better) two digits would result in a very precise calculator.



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