What Is Double Precision Data Type?


Larry Thompson

The double precision data type is a fundamental concept in computer programming and data representation. It is commonly used to store floating-point numbers with a higher level of precision compared to the single precision data type. In this article, we will explore what the double precision data type is, how it works, and its significance in various applications.

Understanding Double Precision Data Type

The double precision data type is also known as double or double-precision floating-point. It is a numeric data type that allows programmers to represent and manipulate real numbers with increased precision.

The double precision data type typically occupies 8 bytes or 64 bits of memory space. This increased size enables it to represent a wider range of values with more decimal places compared to single precision.

Comparison with Single Precision

To better understand the significance of the double precision data type, let’s compare it with the single precision data type:

  • Precision: Single precision can represent numbers with approximately 7 decimal digits, while double precision can handle around 15 decimal digits.
  • Range: Single precision can represent numbers ranging from approximately -3.4 x 10^38 to 3.4 x 10^38, whereas double precision has a broader range from approximately -1.7 x 10^308 to 1.7 x 10^308.

Applications of Double Precision Data Type

The double precision data type finds extensive use in various domains such as:

  • Scientific Computing: Double precision is crucial for accurate simulations and calculations in scientific fields like physics, engineering, and astronomy where high levels of precision are required.
  • Financial Systems: Double precision is commonly used in financial systems to handle currency conversions, interest calculations, and other financial operations that require precise decimal representations.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS): GIS applications often deal with complex spatial data where accurate representation of coordinates and distances is essential. Double precision allows for more precise measurements and calculations.


The double precision data type plays a crucial role in computer programming, allowing for more accurate and precise representation of real numbers. Its larger size provides a higher level of precision compared to single precision, making it indispensable in scientific computing, financial systems, GIS applications, and many other domains.

In summary, the double precision data type is an essential tool for programmers who require increased accuracy and precision in their calculations or when working with large numbers. Understanding its capabilities and applications can greatly enhance your programming skills and enable you to tackle complex problems effectively.

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