Numerical ‘health check’ for scientific codes: the CADNA approach

Stan Scott, F. Jèzèquel, C. Denis, J-M. Chesneaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Scientific computation has unavoidable approximations built into its very fabric. One important source of error that is difficult to detect and control is round-off error propagation which originates from the use of finite precision arithmetic. We propose that there is a need to perform regular numerical `health checks' on scientific codes in order to detect the cancerous effect of round-off error propagation. This is particularly important in scientific codes that are built on legacy software. We advocate the use of the CADNA library as a suitable numerical screening tool. We present a case study to illustrate the practical use of CADNA in scientific codes that are of interest to the Computer Physics Communications readership. In doing so we hope to stimulate a greater awareness of round-off error propagation and present a practical means by which it can be analyzed and managed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-521
Number of pages15
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Volume176 (8)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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