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6.11. Hex Floats

ISO C99 supports floating-point numbers written not only in the usual decimal notation, such as 1.55e1, but also numbers such as 0x1.fp3 written in hexadecimal format. As a GNU extension, GCC supports this in C89 mode (except in some cases when strictly conforming) and in C++. In that format the 0x hex introducer and the p or P exponent field are mandatory. The exponent is a decimal number that indicates the power of 2 by which the significant part will be multiplied. Thus 0x1.f is 1 15/16, p3 multiplies it by 8, and the value of 0x1.fp3 is the same as 1.55e1.

Unlike for floating-point numbers in the decimal notation the exponent is always required in the hexadecimal notation. Otherwise the compiler would not be able to resolve the ambiguity of, e.g., 0x1.f. This could mean 1.0f or 1.9375 since f is also the extension for floating-point constants of type float.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire