Floating-point Accuracy

Due to their nature, not all floating-point numbers can be stored with exact precision. Hardware architecture, the CPU or even the compiler version and optimization level may affect the precision.

If you are comparing DOUBLEs or FLOATs with numeric decimals, it is not safe to use the equality operator.

Sometimes, changing a floating-point number from single-precision (FLOAT) to double-precision (DOUBLE) will fix the problem.


f1, f2 and f3 have seemingly identical values across each row, but due to floating point accuracy, the results may be unexpected.

CREATE TABLE fpn (id INT, f1 FLOAT, f2 DOUBLE, f3 DECIMAL (10,3));
INSERT INTO fpn VALUES (1,2,2,2),(2,0.1,0.1,0.1);

SELECT * FROM fpn WHERE f1*f1 = f2*f2;
| id   | f1   | f2   | f3    |
|    1 |    2 |    2 | 2.000 |

The reason why only one instead of two rows was returned becomes clear when we see how the floating point squares were evaluated.

SELECT f1*f1, f2*f2, f3*f3 FROM fpn;
| f1*f1                | f2*f2                | f3*f3    |
|                    4 |                    4 | 4.000000 |
| 0.010000000298023226 | 0.010000000000000002 | 0.010000 |


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