Safety in Numbers

Safety in numbers

The Solution


The Solution

bounded floating point

True North bounded floating point is a method of performing operations on floating point numbers that calculates and saves the error information with the floating point values.

This is accomplished by adding a bound field to the floating point representation of real numbers.

The error information is saved with the floating point value. Implemented in hardware, this circuit provides real-time, fail safe representation of real numbers.

Features of True North Bounded Floating Point


Guarantees the display of every floating point value to be accurate to plus or minus one in the last fractional digit.


Detects and records how many significant bits have been lost. Allows you to designate how many significant digits you require.


Can be implemented in hardware or software.


Conversion between the bounded floating point format and the current standard floating point format can be accomplished when needed. Therefore, existing software that is dependent upon the current floating point standard need not be discarded.


Standard floating point values are converted to external representation without indication of loss of significant digits - even when no significant digits exist. True North bounded floating point records all loss of significant digits and signals if the result of a computation no longer provides a sufficient number of significant digits.


Stores and provides error information with little impact on space or performance.


Addresses both types of floating point error, rounding error and truncation error.


Operates in mission critical real time.

The Man Behind the Solution

Dr. Alan A. Jorgensen

Educational foundation

  • A long-time computer systems engineer with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. 

Leader in technology

  • Designed a high performance four-channel microprogrammed synchronous communications controller that was still operational 15 years after its introduction.

  • He owned and operated a computer system consulting business that offered system troubleshooting services to operators of real-time process control systems, particularly main plant computers in nuclear power stations. 

  • As adjunct faculty he has taught university courses in microprogrammed design, programming, system design, and other computer science related courses. 

  • He has been an international keynote speaker on software testing and quality. 

Why floating point

  • His interest in floating point dates back to logic and compatibility testing of early floating-point units.  The discovery of system failures that were traced back to floating point error has led him to design and patent a circuit for calculating and retaining bounds on floating point error. 

More about the man

  • He has performed professionally as a musician and loves to read and paint and solve puzzles when he has time.