Volume 28, pp. 168-173, 2007-2008.

Variable-precision arithmetic considered perilous - a detective story

Dirk Laurie


The scene of the crime. In 2002, I was interested in computations to very high precision, having been challenged by Nick Trefethen to compute a number he called $\tau$ to 10 000 digits. This number is the sum of ten other numbers, each of which was defined by a difficult computational problem. The story is told in [F. Bornemann, D. Laurie et al.: The SIAM 100-Digit Challenge: A Study in High-Accuracy Numerical Computing, SIAM, PA, 2004].

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