# Arbitrary Precision Arithmetic (The GNU Awk User’s Guide)

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## 16 Arithmetic and Arbitrary-Precision Arithmetic with gawk

This chapter introduces some basic concepts relating to how computers do arithmetic and defines some important terms. It then proceeds to describe floating-point arithmetic, which is what `awk`

uses for all its computations, including a discussion of arbitrary-precision floating-point arithmetic, which is a feature available only in `gawk`

. It continues on to present arbitrary-precision integers, and concludes with a description of some points where `gawk`

and the POSIX standard are not quite in agreement.

NOTE:Most users of`gawk`

can safely skip this chapter. But if you want to do scientific calculations with`gawk`

, this is the place to be.

• Computer Arithmetic | A quick intro to computer math. | |

• Math Definitions | Defining terms used. | |

• MPFR features | The MPFR features in `gawk` .
| |

• FP Math Caution | Things to know. | |

• Arbitrary Precision Integers | Arbitrary Precision Integer Arithmetic with `gawk` .
| |

• Checking for MPFR | How to check if MPFR is available. | |

• POSIX Floating Point Problems | Standards Versus Existing Practice. | |

• Floating point summary | Summary of floating point discussion. |