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# Floating-Point Notation Definition/Meaning:

A representation of real numbers that enables both very small and very large numbers to be conveniently expressed. A floating-point number has the general form

± m x Re

where m is called the mantissa, R is the radix (or base) of the number system, and e is the exponent.

The following format is typical of the floating-point representation used in computers. The first bit is a sign bit, denoting the sign of the mantissa. This is followed by a fixed number of bits representing the exponent, which is in turn followed by another fixed number of bits representing the magnitude of the mantissa. The exponent is often represented using excess-n notation, whereby a number, called the characteristic (or biased exponent), is stored instead of the exponent itself. To derive the characteristic for a floatingpoint number from its exponent, the bias (or excess factor) n is added to the exponent. For example, for an 8-bit characteristic, exponents in the range -128 to + 127 are represented in excess -128 notation by characteristics in the range 0 to 255.

A nonzero floating-point number is normalized if the leading digit in its mantissa is nonzero.

## Near by Terms:

 Flag Flat Addressing Flatbed Plotter Flexible Array Flexible Disk Cartridge Flexi-Disk Flip-Flop (bistable; flop; FF) Float Floating-Point Notation Floating-Point Operation Flop Floppy Disk (diskette; flexi-disk) Floppy-Disk Drive (diskette drive) Flops Flowchart Flow Control Fluid Logic (pneumatic logic) Flynn's Classification

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