Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Notes for Homework 1
Notes on rounding and rounding error with fractions.
Notes on binary and decimal representation of numbers.
Notes on rounding to significant digits.
The link to rounding to significant digits deals with rounding a number great than 1. For example 2^16 = 65,536.
65,536 rounded to one significant digit = 70,000
65,536 rounded to two significant digits = 66,000
65,536 rounded to three significant digits = 65,500
Let's consider rounding a number less than 1.
2^(-16) = 0.000015258789...
If we were asked to round this to the nearest thousandth, we would get 0.000. It's never a good idea to round a number that isn't zero to zero. Doing this means we aren't thinking at the right scale. Rounding to significant digits ensures we will never round a non-zero number to zero.
0.000015258789... rounded to one significant digit = 0.00002
0.000015258789... rounded to two significant digits = 0.000015
0.000015258789... rounded to three significant digits = 0.0000153
In most cases except scientific papers, rounding to three significant digits is considered sufficient.