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On Finite Wordlength Properties of Block-Floating-Point Arithmetic

Authors: Abhijit Mitra


A special case of floating point data representation is block floating point format where a block of operands are forced to have a joint exponent term. This paper deals with the finite wordlength properties of this data format. The theoretical errors associated with the error model for block floating point quantization process is investigated with the help of error distribution functions. A fast and easy approximation formula for calculating signal-to-noise ratio in quantization to block floating point format is derived. This representation is found to be a useful compromise between fixed point and floating point format due to its acceptable numerical error properties over a wide dynamic range.

Keywords: Block floating point, Roundoff error, Block exponent dis-tribution fuction, Signal factor

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