Decimal Arithmetic FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)
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Most computers today support binary floating-point in hardware. While suitable for some purposes, such as mathematical analysis, this form of arithmetic is unsuitable for financial, commercial, and human-centric (such as Web) applications. These pages explain why this is so, and also attempt to answer some common questions about decimal floating-point arithmetic.

Please send any comments, new questions, and corrections directly to me (Mike Cowlishaw,
For information on decimal implementations, standards, and other links, please see the General Decimal Arithmetic page.


  1. General

  2. Definitions

  3. Decimal Arithmetic and Hardware

  4. Decimal Arithmetic Specification

  5. Decimal Encodings

  6. Miscellaneous

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