# What Is Real Number Data Type?

//

Scott Campbell

What Is Real Number Data Type?

The real number data type is a fundamental concept in computer programming and mathematics. It represents numbers that can be expressed as decimal or fractional values. Real numbers include both rational numbers (numbers that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers) and irrational numbers (numbers that cannot be expressed as a simple fraction).

## Real Numbers in Programming

In programming, real numbers are often used to represent quantities that require precision beyond whole numbers. They are commonly used in scientific calculations, financial applications, and graphics rendering.

Most programming languages provide a built-in data type for real numbers. These data types are typically called “float” or “double”. The term “float” stands for floating-point, which refers to the ability to represent both integer and fractional parts of a number.

### Floating-Point Representation

Floating-point representation allows for a wide range of values, but it comes with limitations in terms of precision. Real numbers are stored in memory using a binary format known as IEEE 754 standard.

There are two main types of floating-point representations:

• Single Precision (float): This data type uses 32 bits to store a real number. It provides approximately 7 decimal digits of precision.
• Double Precision (double): This data type uses 64 bits to store a real number. It provides around 15 decimal digits of precision.

### Numeric Operations on Real Numbers

Real numbers support various mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These operations can be performed using arithmetic operators provided by the programming language.

It’s important to note that due to the limitations of floating-point representation, some operations may result in small inaccuracies. These inaccuracies are known as rounding errors and can accumulate over multiple calculations.

## Examples of Real Numbers

Here are a few examples of real numbers:

• 3.14: This is a rational number, commonly known as pi, which represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
• -1.732: This is an irrational number, commonly known as the square root of 3. It cannot be expressed as a simple fraction.
• 0.5: This is a rational number representing one-half.

Real numbers are a fundamental concept in computer programming and mathematics. Understanding their properties and limitations is crucial for writing accurate and efficient code.

Now that you have a better understanding of what real number data type is, you can confidently work with real numbers in your programming projects.