Low-precision floating-point formats: from general-purpose to application-specific

Amir Sabbagh Molahosseini, Leonel Sousa*, Azadeh Alsadat Emrani Zarandi, Hans Vandierendonck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Low-precision floating-point formats are used to enhance performance by providing the minimal precision required for the application’s requirements. General-purpose formats, such as IEEE Half-Precision floating-point (FP) format, are not practical for all applications. When dealing with small bit widths, careful adjustment of precision and dynamic range is required, and applications require bespoke number format. This chapter provides a comprehensive review of low-precision FP formats identifying: (1) the numerical features (e.g., dynamic range and precision) of each format, (2) their usage in the target applications, (3) their accuracy and performance. Finally, guidelines are provided to design high-performance and efficient applications via customized FP formats.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApproximate computing
EditorsWeiqiang Liu, Fabrizio Lombardi
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)9783030983475
ISBN (Print)9783030983468, 9783030983499
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2022


  • Computer Arithmetic
  • Approximate Computing
  • Transprecise Computing
  • Floating-Point Number Formats


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