Browse Definitions:
Definition

rounding error

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

Rounding error is the difference between a rounded-off numerical value and the actual value. A rounded quantity is represented by a numeral with a fixed number of allowed digits, with the last digit set to the value that produces the smallest difference between the rounded quantity and the actual quantity.

Rounding can produce a value that is easier to deal with than the actual value, especially if the actual value contains a lot of digits. Rounding can also be done to indicate the relative precision of a value. For example, the irrational number pi equals approximately 3.14, rounded to two decimal places or three significant digits.

As an example of rounding error, consider the speed of light in a vacuum. The official value is 299,792,458 meters per second. In scientific (power-of-10) notation, that quantity is expressed as 2.99792458 x 108. Rounding it to three decimal places yields 2.998 x 108. The rounding error is the difference between the actual value and the rounded value, in this case (2.998 - 2.99792458) x 108, which works out to 0.00007542 x 108. Expressed in the correct scientific notation format, that value is 7.542 x 103, which equals 7542 in plain decimal notation.

This was last updated in June 2012

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

SearchCompliance

• PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

• cyborg anthropologist

A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

• RegTech

RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

• email spam

Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

• distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack

A distributed denial-of-service attack occurs when an attack originates from multiple computers or devices, usually from multiple...

• application whitelisting

Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

SearchHealthIT

• national provider identifier (NPI)

A national provider identifier (NPI) is a unique ten-digit identification number required by HIPAA for covered healthcare ...

• athenahealth Inc.

Based in Watertown, Mass., athenahealth Inc. is a leading vendor of cloud-based EHRs for small to medium-sized physician ...

• Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legislation passed in 2010 that changed how uninsured Americans enroll in and receive healthcare...

SearchDisasterRecovery

• disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

• data recovery

Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

• disaster recovery plan (DRP)

A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

SearchStorage

• GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

• virtual memory

Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

• yottabyte (YB)

A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

• PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

• SSD caching

SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

• NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

SearchCloudStorage

• RESTful API

A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

• cloud storage infrastructure

Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...