A floatingpoint context defines the environment for arithmetic operations. It governs precision, sets rules for rounding, and limits the range for exponents. The context has the following primary components:
tableieeeformats lists the precision and exponent field values for the basic IEEE754 binary formats:
Name  Total bits  Precision  emin  emax


Single  32  24  −126  +127

Double  64  53  −1022  +1023

Quadruple  128  113  −16382  +16383

Table 15.1: Basic IEEE Format Context Values
NOTE: The precision numbers include the implied leading one that gives them one extra bit of significand.
A floatingpoint context can also determine which signals are treated as exceptions, and can set rules for arithmetic with special values. Please consult the IEEE754 standard or other resources for details.
gawk ordinarily uses the hardware double precision representation for numbers. On most systems, this is IEEE754 floatingpoint format, corresponding to 64bit binary with 53 bits of precision.
NOTE: In case an underflow occurs, the standard allows, but does not require, the result from an arithmetic operation to be a number smaller than the smallest nonzero normalized number. Such numbers do not have as many significant digits as normal numbers, and are called denormals or subnormals. The alternative, simply returning a zero, is called flush to zero. The basic IEEE754 binary formats support subnormal numbers.