08 Mar 2014

Floating Point Numbers Are a Leaky Abstraction

Wolf Rentzsch talks to Andrew Pontious about floating point numbers: how they work, why they’re weird, and when you definitely shouldn’t use them (hint: mo money mo problems).


Rejected Episode Titles:

  • You Bet Your Asset Catalog!
  • All Models Are Wrong, Some Models Are Useful
  • Imagine You’re on the Beach at a Resort
  • Now, Imagine That You Go All Godzilla
  • (Not the Spreadsheet)
  • It’s Not a Trick Question, Although Maybe It Is
  • This Was Science and This Was Truth
  • Numbers! I Know This!
  • Not Your First Floating Point Rodeo
  • If We Went to School, We Probably Would Know That
  • You’re in This Different World
  • Because You’re a Graybeard
  • You’ve Exhausted It
  • There Are No Solutions, There Are Only Tradeoffs
  • That’s a Lot of Zeroes to Say
  • “Aren’t You a Compression Buff?” “It’s More of a Hobby”
  • This Could Be a Very Long Episode
  • Gradual Underflow
  • You’ve Suffered Accuracy Loss
  • Numerically Unsophisticated Programmers
  • This False Sense of Security
  • Then the Wave Comes in and Sweeps You in the Ocean
  • “No One Really Cares About This Stuff” “Except You” “Even I…My Eyes Glaze Over”
  • A Bunch of Decisions That Humans Had to Make
  • Genetically Diverse
  • We Can Pretty Much Thank Intel for It
  • We’re Mentioning DEC Again
  • The First Thing Some Joker Would Do
  • Don’t Use Floating Point Numbers for Money
  • Avoid Floating Point If You Can