Quiet NaN

In the IEEE 754-2008 standard (referred to as IEEE 754 henceforth), a quiet NaN or qNaN is a NaN which is quiet in the sense of rarely signaling a floating-point exception. This is in contrast to the signaling NaN (sNaN) which often occurs in conjunction with any number of exceptions and handling mechanisms defined therefor (IEEE Computer Society 2008).

Within the framework documentation, it is suggested that qNaNs be implemented in such a way as to afford useful diagnostic information regarding invalid or unavailable data and results. Under the default exception handling mechanisms provided within IEEE 754, any operation which signals an invalid operation exception and for which a floating-point result is expected shall return a quiet NaN; qNaNs may also result from operations not delivering a floating-point result, though in practice, these operations are far more likely to output sNaNs instead.

See also

Arithmetic, Biased Exponent, Floating-Point Algebra, Floating-Point Arithmetic, Floating-Point Exponent, Floating-Point Normal Number, Floating-Point Number, Floating-Point Preferred Exponent, Floating-Point Quantum, Floating-Point Representation, IEEE 754-2008, Interval Arithmetic, NaN, Signaling NaN, Significand, Subnormal Number

This entry contributed by Christopher Stover

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Goldberg, D. "What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic." ACM Comput. Surv. 23, 5-48, March 1991. Computer Society. "IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic: IEEE Std 754-2008 (Revision of IEEE Std 754-1985)." 2008.

Cite this as:

Stover, Christopher. "Quiet NaN." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource, created by Eric W. Weisstein.

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