Transforming Numerical Methods Education for the STEM Undergraduate
A Wolfram demo on converting a decimal number to floating point binary representation
Here is another Wolfram demo. This one converts a decimal number to a floating point binary representation. To play with the demo, download the free CDF player first.
The total number of bits used for the representation =
one bit for the sign of the number +
one bit for the sign of the exponent +
number of bits for the exponent +
number of bits for the mantissa +
As an example, how would 54.75 be represented in a 9-bit register where the first bit is used for the sign of the number, second bit is used for sign of exponent, next three bits are used for the exponent, and the last four bits are used for the mantissa?
Both the number and the exponent are positive.
As the number is normalized to lie between 1 and 2 (the interval being half-closed at the bottom and half-open at the top), the leading binary digit is always 1. So we do not actually use it in the representation of the mantissa. Hence the mantissa bits are 1011. Moreover the exponent bits are 101, the sign of the number bit is 0, and the sign of the exponent bit is 0.
Autar Kaw (http://autarkaw.com) is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida. He has been at USF since 1987, the same year in which he received his Ph. D. in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University. He is a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award. With major funding from NSF, he is the principal and managing contributor in developing the multiple award-winning online open courseware for an undergraduate course in Numerical Methods. The OpenCourseWare (nm.MathForCollege.com) annually receives 1,000,000+ page views, 1,000,000+ views of the YouTube audiovisual lectures, and 150,000+ page views at the NumericalMethodsGuy blog. His current research interests include engineering education research methods, adaptive learning, open courseware, massive open online courses, flipped classrooms, and learning strategies. He has written four textbooks and 80 refereed technical papers, and his opinion editorials have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune.
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