Single precision

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When it comes to computers and/or computer programming, IEEE single-precision floating point computer numbering format, is usually binary that occupies 4 bytes, 32 bits in modern computers, in computer memory.

In IEEE 754-2008 the 32-bit base 2 format is officially referred to as binary32. It was called single in IEEE 754-1985. In older computers, some older floating point format of 4 bytes was used.

One of the first programming languages to provide single- and double-precision floating-point data types was Fortran. Before the widespread adoption of IEEE 754-1985, the representation and properties of the double float data type depended on the computer manufacturer and computer model.

Single precision binary floating-point is used due to its wider range over fixed point (of the same bit-width), even if at the cost of precision.

Single precision is known as float in C, C++, C#, Java[1], and Haskell, and as single in Pascal and MATLAB. However, float in Python and single in versions of Octave prior to 3.2 refer to double precision numbers.

IEEE 754:
16-bit: Half (binary16)
32-bit: Single (binary32), decimal32
64-bit: Double (binary64), decimal64
128-bit: Quadruple (binary128), decimal128
Minifloat · Extended precision


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