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2. Data representation in memory and real numbers

Exercise outline

  1. basic data types (integer number) storage in computer memory, program in C
  2. integer representation, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
  3. real number represetation (in IEEE 754)

What should I repeat before the first exercise

  1. binary representation and hexadecimal numbers
  2. C language syntax
  3. terms little and big endian
  4. the second complement code
  5. logic operations (and, or, invert, rotation, …)
  6. two's complement code and IEEE 754.
  7. to understand the program from the last class.

What shall we do on the first exercise

The exercise will be based on following C code. It prints number representation in computer memory. We shall modify the code during the class.

#include <stdio.h>

#define PRINT_MEM(a) print_mem((unsigned char*)&(a), sizeof(a))

void print_mem(unsigned char *ptr, int size) {
  int i;
  printf("address = 0x%08lx\n", (long unsigned int)ptr);

  for (i = 0; i < size; i++) {
    printf("0x%02x ", *(ptr+i));


int main() {
  unsigned int unsig = 5;
  int sig = -5;

  printf("value = %d\n", unsig);

  printf("\nvalue = %d\n", sig);

  return 0;

To compile the program: gcc -Wall -ansi -pedantic ./program.c

Python language alternative


import struct

a = 1234.56789
b = -11.1111111111111111111111
c = a + b

buf = struct.pack('<f', c)

print ('C float LE:' + ' '.join(["{0:02x}".format(b) for b in buf]))
print ('C float LE:' + str(struct.unpack('<f', buf)[0]))

buf = struct.pack('>f', c)

print ('C float BE:' + ' '.join(["{0:02x}".format(b) for b in buf]))
print ('C float BE:' + str(struct.unpack('>f', buf)[0]))

buf = struct.pack('<d', c)

print ('C double LE:' + ' '.join(["{0:02x}".format(b) for b in buf]))
print ('C double LE:' + str(struct.unpack('<d', buf)[0]))

buf = struct.pack('>d', c)

print ('C double BE:' + ' '.join(["{0:02x}".format(b) for b in buf]))
print ('C double BE:' + str(struct.unpack('>d', buf)[0]))

See Python struct module for more struct — Interpret bytes as packed binary data.


  1. Compile and execute program above
    • Explain output of the program
    • Alter the code to print representation of other data types (float, char, double, long, etc…)
    • Alter the code to print numbers and their representation between -16…15.
    • Modify the program to add and subtract integer numbers and print arguments and results (in “normal” form and computer representation).
    • Try to add and subtract negative and positive numbers. Try to cause integer overflow and underflow.
  2. Integer addition and subtraction in two's complement representation
    • add and subtract two integer numbers. For example 5+(-6) and 5-(-6).
    • repeat the operations with different numbers and check your results with the computer program from the first exercise.
    • When the underflow and overflow can happen? How can we detect, that it had occured?
  3. Integer multiplication
    • multiply two integers, For example 7*6.
    • is there any difference when multiplying negative numbers? (e.g. -7*6, (-7)*(-6), etc…)
    • show how to speed-up the multiplier? (use many adders instead repetitively using one).
  4. Integer division
    • divide integers 42/7, 43/7
    • does the algorithm change when we use negative numbers?
  5. Real number representation (IEEE 754)
    • binary representation of real numbers (float - 32bit, double - 64bit)
    • show binary representation of -0.75. Check your result with program from the last exercise.
    • find decimal number for float binary number 0xC0A00000 in IEEE754.
    • explain who to add numbers 9.999*10^1 and 1.1610*10^(-1) in decimal representation. Assume that it is possible to store only 4 digits in mantisa and 2 digits in exponent.
      • Hint: 1) align numbers 2) addition 3) normalization 4) round numbers.
    • in binary representation add 0.5 and -0.4375
    • in decimal representation show multiplication of 1.110*10^10 * 9.200*10^(-5)
    • in binary representation multiply 0.5 and -0.4375
courses/b35apo/en/tutorials/02/start.txt · Last modified: 2021/01/23 09:54 (external edit)