in [Python]

From: Mark Dickinson on 7 Dec 2009 08:23 On Dec 6, 7:34 pm, Anton81 <gerenu... (a)googlemail.com> wrote:> I do some linear algebra and whenever the prefactor of a vector turns > out to be zero, I want to remove it. Hmm. Comparing against zero is something of a special case. So you'd almost certainly be doing an 'if abs(x) < tol: ...' check, but the question is what value to use for tol, and that (again) depends on what you're doing. Perhaps 'tol' could be something like 'eps * scale', where 'eps' is an indication of the size of relative error you're prepared to admit (eps = 1e-12 might be reasonable; to allow for rounding errors, it should be something comfortably larger than the machine epsilon sys.float_info.epsilon, which is likely to be around 2e-16 for a typical machine), and 'scale' is something closely related to the scale of your problem: in your example, perhaps scale could be the largest of all the prefactors you have, or some sort of average of all the prefactors. There's really no one-size-fits-all easy answer here. > I'd like to keep the system comfortable. So basically I should write a > new class for numbers that has it's own __eq__ operator? That's probably not a good idea, for the reasons that Carl Banks already enumerated. Mark
From: Mark Dickinson on 7 Dec 2009 08:30 On Dec 7, 12:16 am, David Cournapeau <courn... (a)gmail.com> wrote:> If you can depend on IEEE 754 semantics, one relatively robust method > is to use the number of representable floats between two numbers. The > main advantage compared to the proposed methods is that it somewhat > automatically takes into account the amplitude of input numbers: FWIW, there's a function that can be used for this in Lib/test/ test_math.py in Python svn; it's used to check that math.gamma isn't out by more than 20 ulps (for a selection of test values). def to_ulps(x): """Convert a non-NaN float x to an integer, in such a way that adjacent floats are converted to adjacent integers. Then abs(ulps(x) - ulps(y)) gives the difference in ulps between two floats. The results from this function will only make sense on platforms where C doubles are represented in IEEE 754 binary64 format. """ n = struct.unpack('<q', struct.pack('<d', x))[0] if n < 0: n = ~(n+2**63) return n -- Mark
From: dbd on 7 Dec 2009 13:53 On Dec 7, 4:28 am, sturlamolden <sturlamol... (a)yahoo.no> wrote:> ... > > You don't understand this at all do you? > > If you have a sine wave with an amplitude less than the truncation > error, it will always be approximately equal to zero. > > Numerical maths is about approximations, not symbolic equalities. > > > 1.0 + eps is the smallest value greater than 1.0, distinguishable from > > 1.0. > > Which is the reason 0.5*eps*sin(x) is never distinguishable from 0. > ... A calculated value of 0.5*eps*sin(x) has a truncation error on the order of eps squared. 0.5*eps and 0.495*eps are readily distinguished (well, at least for values of eps << 0.01 :). At least one of us doesn't understand floating point. Dale B. Dalrymple
From: Carl Banks on 7 Dec 2009 15:58 On Dec 7, 10:53 am, dbd <d... (a)ieee.org> wrote:> On Dec 7, 4:28 am, sturlamolden <sturlamol... (a)yahoo.no> wrote:> > > ... > > > You don't understand this at all do you? > > > If you have a sine wave with an amplitude less than the truncation > > error, it will always be approximately equal to zero. > > > Numerical maths is about approximations, not symbolic equalities. > > > > 1.0 + eps is the smallest value greater than 1.0, distinguishable from > > > 1.0. > > > Which is the reason 0.5*eps*sin(x) is never distinguishable from 0. > > ... > > A calculated value of 0.5*eps*sin(x) has a truncation error on the > order of eps squared. 0.5*eps and 0.495*eps are readily distinguished > (well, at least for values of eps << 0.01 :). > > At least one of us doesn't understand floating point. You're talking about machine epsilon? I think everyone else here is talking about a number that is small relative to the expected smallest scale of the calculation. Carl Banks
From: dbd on 10 Dec 2009 13:46
On Dec 7, 12:58 pm, Carl Banks <pavlovevide... (a)gmail.com> wrote:> On Dec 7, 10:53 am, dbd <d... (a)ieee.org> wrote:> > ... > > You're talking about machine epsilon? I think everyone else here is > talking about a number that is small relative to the expected smallest > scale of the calculation. > > Carl Banks When you implement an algorithm supporting floats (per the OP's post), the expected scale of calculation is the range of floating point numbers. For floating point numbers the intrinsic truncation error is proportional to the value represented over the normalized range of the floating point representation. At absolute values smaller than the normalized range, the truncation has a fixed value. These are not necessarily 'machine' characteristics but the characteristics of the floating point format implemented. A useful description of floating point issues can be found: http://dlc.sun.com/pdf/800-7895/800-7895.pdf Dale B. Dalrymple |