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6.3.5.1 Mitigating round-off error with increased precision

### 6.3.5.1 Mitigating round-off error with increased precision

The use of decimal floating point eliminates decimal representation error (making it possible to represent 0.1 exactly); however, some operations can still incur round-off error when non-zero digits exceed the fixed precision.

The effects of round-off error can be amplified by the addition or subtraction of nearly offsetting quantities resulting in loss of significance. Knuth provides two instructive examples where rounded floating point arithmetic with insufficient precision causes the breakdown of the associative and distributive properties of addition:

```# Examples from Seminumerical Algorithms, Section 4.2.2.
>>> from decimal import Decimal, getcontext
>>> getcontext().prec = 8

>>> u, v, w = Decimal(11111113), Decimal(-11111111), Decimal('7.51111111')
>>> (u + v) + w
Decimal("9.5111111")
>>> u + (v + w)
Decimal("10")

>>> u, v, w = Decimal(20000), Decimal(-6), Decimal('6.0000003')
>>> (u*v) + (u*w)
Decimal("0.01")
>>> u * (v+w)
Decimal("0.0060000")
```

The decimal module makes it possible to restore the identities by expanding the precision sufficiently to avoid loss of significance:

```>>> getcontext().prec = 20
>>> u, v, w = Decimal(11111113), Decimal(-11111111), Decimal('7.51111111')
>>> (u + v) + w
Decimal("9.51111111")
>>> u + (v + w)
Decimal("9.51111111")
>>>
>>> u, v, w = Decimal(20000), Decimal(-6), Decimal('6.0000003')
>>> (u*v) + (u*w)
Decimal("0.0060000")
>>> u * (v+w)
Decimal("0.0060000")
```   