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How can I prove that float number $x$ has the finite binary representation if and only if it is written like that: $ x = m / 2^n $, where $m, n \in \mathbb N$.

Should I consider something like 3 different cases for this format or can I do this in different way?

Thank you.

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  • $\begingroup$ If you're talking about proving things, you have to start with a precise statement of the problem! A real number can be negative, but $m,n \in \mathbb N$ can't be. So the statement is false. $\endgroup$ – TonyK Oct 13 '14 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ I once asked myself how to prove that a person cannot be $\frac{1}{3}$ of a certain ethnicity, or $\frac{2}{5}$ , or whatever other fraction which cannot be written as $\frac{m}{2^n}$. I believe it's an equivalent question. $\endgroup$ – barak manos Oct 13 '14 at 19:01
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Here is a proof for positive rational numbers:


Let $x=\dfrac{m}{2^n}$ where $m,n\in\mathbb{N}$

Then $x=a+\dfrac{b}{2^n}$ where $a,b,n\in\mathbb{N}$ and $b<2^n$

Then length of the binary representation of $x$ is $\lceil\log_2(a+1)\rceil+n$


Let $a\in\mathbb{N}$ be the binary representation of the integer part of $x\in\mathbb{Q}$

Let $b\in\mathbb{N}$ be the binary representation of the fraction part of $x\in\mathbb{Q}$

Then $x=a+\frac{b}{2^{|b|}}=\frac{m}{2^n}$ where $m=a\cdot2^{|b|}+b,n=|b|\in\mathbb{N}$

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