Week 2: Getting Started with Floating Point

This week, to better understand the floating point module, I was tasked with developing a way to test the module’s functionality. However, before I accomplish this, I needed to have a thorough understanding of how floating point numbers are represented inside a computer. At this time, pretty much every piece of hardware follows the IEEE-754 standard for representing floating point numbers. In the 32 precision standard, one bit is used to represent the sign, eight bits are used to represent the exponent, and the remaining 23 bits are used to represent the mantissa. Since negative exponents also need to be represented, the value of the exponent is subtracted by 127. More information on IEEE-754 single precision can be found on Wikipedia. An example of the representation is shown below.

Unfortunately, the test vectors provided in the source did not function, so I needed to find a way to test the module myself. In the program IEEE_number_gen, I created a way to generate random bits, then convert them into the correct IEEE-754 floating point format. The program can also convert an input into IEEE format and numbers in IEEE format into floats. After thorough tests, the module seemed to function as intended.

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