Tag Archives: Floating point

My computer can’t add (part 1)

I recently asked some of my colleagues a question relating to the Kahan compensated summation algorithm and was greeted with blank stares and the question “What’s that?”  This caught me off guard as I had known about it for a few years.  I can’t remember how I found out about it, but I think that journey started with a single tutorial question in 2nd year applied maths and when I read “What every computer scientist should know about floating-point arithmetic” by David Goldberg.  I’ll start this off with why this algorithm matters, then what it actually is. Continue reading