The IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic (IEEE 754) is the most widely-used standard for floating-point computation, and is followed by many hardware (CPU and FPU) and software implementations. Many computer languages allow or require that some or all arithmetic be carried out using IEEE 754 formats and operations.


A format is composed of:

  • Finite numbers, composed of:
    • The sign, which may either be zero or one. One means negative, zero otherwise.
    • The significand
    • The exponent. Together with the significand, it can define a number as <significand> × <base><exponent>.
  • Positive infinity and negative infinity
  • A quiet and a signalling NaN (not a number).
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