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Robert P. Munafo, 2023 Jun 21.

This term refers to any number format that supports an exponent range of "dynamic range" far greater than the formats with commonly available "native" hardware support.

Ordinary double precision can only express numbers as small as 10-308. If it is used for the deltas in a perturbation method, images are limited to this size or larger, meaning that deep zooms cannot go far beyond 10300×. Using arbitrary-precision arithmetic for the deltas would solve this, but completely cancels the benefit of perturbation modeling in the first place.

As a compromise for this, a "floatexp" format combines a normal floating-point number (usually 32-bit single precision is sufficient) plus an explicit exponent stored as an integer, such as 16- or 32-bit.

See also softfloat.

From the Mandelbrot Set Glossary and Encyclopedia, by Robert Munafo, (c) 1987-2024.

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