View Full Version : Floating point error?

11-07-2004, 12:43 AM
I am trying to use a computer program and keep getting an error message stating"floating point error" What does this mean, how do I find the problem and fix it? Pleas be gentle on me as I never have had Algebra, or much math schooling. I can do simple trig problems such as figuring angles, but computer has fixed that problem.

Paul Alciatore
11-07-2004, 01:06 AM
The error messages you see when using a program as the user are sometimes hard to understand. The program was most likely written in a language like C++ or Basic and the error comes from that language's compiler or interpreter. Even the programmer who wrote the program may have trouble figuting them out.

"Floating Point Error" probably refers to an error that is occuring when the program is doing a floating point math operation such as an addition, subtraction, mupltiplication, etc. Your message does not describe what kind of program this is so it is hard to even guess.

What can you do? First, try changing any input you made in the program prior to getting the message. If it works properly with other numbers, then perhaps you have given it some illegal value. Second, read any instructions you may have. If you have none, try to find them. Many software companies publish instructions, updates, tips, workarounds, and other material on the web. If still no help, try contacting the company or person who wrote/distributes it. Keep in mind that it is entrirly possible that there is a defect in the program.

Paul A.

11-07-2004, 01:39 AM
When asked to enter a value that in your case is zero try entering a very small value instead such as .0000001. The program (due to programmer error) may have encountered a divide by zero error.

11-07-2004, 11:24 AM
I've seen those errors often, but in almost, if not all, cases they had nothing to do with any numeric input on the part of the user. Divide by zero is a common way to way to force an abend. But without access to the code I don't think there's any way for a user to track down the problem based on that message. My guess would be that it's due to some program logic error that's trying to execute some routine inappropriately.
Your math proficiency or lack of isn't likely to have any bearing on tracking the problem down.
Is this a commercial software package? ...or something homegrown?

[This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 11-07-2004).]