Math class is tough!

— *Teen Talk Barbie, July 1992*

This section provides a high-level overview of the issues
involved when doing lots of floating-point arithmetic.^{98}
The discussion applies to both hardware and arbitrary-precision
floating-point arithmetic.

CAUTION:The material here is purposely general. If you need to do serious computer arithmetic, you should do some research first, and not rely just on what we tell you.

There
is a very nice paper on floating-point arithmetic by David Goldberg, “What Every
Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic,”
ACM Computing Surveys **23**, 1 (1991-03): 5-48. This is
worth reading if you are interested in the details, but it does require
a background in computer science.