Summary:  pow() produces inaccurate results for base ~ 1.0, and large integer exponent on 32bit x86  

Product:  glibc  Reporter:  Todd Allen <todd.allen> 
Component:  math  Assignee:  Not yet assigned to anyone <unassigned> 
Status:  RESOLVED FIXED  
Severity:  normal  CC:  bugsy, calixte.denizet, glibcbugs, hjl.tools, olecom, vincentsrcware 
Priority:  P2  Flags:  fweimer:
security

Version:  2.3.4  
Target Milestone:    
Host:  Target:  
Build:  Last reconfirmed:  
Attachments: 
loss_of_power.c
C code with a better algorithm 
Description
Todd Allen
20050202 20:39:13 UTC
Created attachment 395 [details]
loss_of_power.c
Bugs with pow() are mentioned to be fixed in fdlibm 5.3 <ftp://ftp.netlib.org/fdlibm/changes> so, maybe if will be easy to fix them, glibc was based on fdlibm. The current glibc routines for pow are not based on fdlibm anymore. Provide a patch. Suspended until somebody provides a patch. *** Bug 2579 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. *** Still present. I should add: part of the ABI is that the libm functions are expected to be called with the FPU in 64bit mode, so the results with it in 53bit mode are not a bug; it's only the 64bit mode case where we ought to do better. Created attachment 6245 [details]
C code with a better algorithm
Hi all,
When the exponent is an integer, a fast exponentiation is used and when it is negative the base is inverted before (cf e_pow.S). So in this case the error induced by the inversion is cumulated in squaring several times. In the present case base=(2^531)*2^(53), exponent=2^54 and 1/base=(2^52+1)*2^(52), classical approximation shows that (1/base)^(2^54))~exp(4) and 1/(base^(2^54))~exp(2). So an easy way to avoid to cumulated error induced by inversion is to invert the result rather than invert the base.
The attached code (in C) shows that clearly. I'm not able to fix the assembly code in e_pow.S, so I let experimented people do that.
Thanks
Calixte
(In reply to comment #9) > Created attachment 6245 [details] > C code with a better algorithm Note concerning your code: it assumes that char is signed. You should use int for small integers, not char. > When the exponent is an integer, a fast exponentiation is used [...] This is not perfect (you still won't get a very accurate result), but certainly better than the current code (I haven't looked at it), which is apparently affected by a cancellation. Note that if you want to compute pow(x,y) where y is not necessarily an integer, you can write y = yi + yf, where yi is an integer and yf < 1 (e.g. yf <= 0.5 or 0 <= yf < 1). Then mathematically, pow(x,y) = pow(pow(x,yi),yf), and you can use that to get a more accurate result than the current algorithm (I haven't checked in detail...). For more accurate algorithms concerning the integer powers: @Article{KLLLM2009a, AUTHOR = {P. Kornerup and Ch. Lauter and V. Lefèvre and N. Louvet and J.M. Muller}, TITLE = {Computing Correctly Rounded Integer Powers in FloatingPoint Arithmetic}, JOURNAL = {{ACM} Transactions on Mathematical Software}, VOLUME = {37}, NUMBER = {1}, MONTH = jan, YEAR = {2010}, URL = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1644001.1644005}, DOI = {10.1145/1644001.1644005} } and for correct rounding of the general pow() function, assuming you already have an accurate algorithm: @Article{LauLef2009a, AUTHOR = {Ch. Lauter and V. Lefèvre}, TITLE = {An efficient rounding boundary test for \texttt{pow(x,y)} in double precision}, JOURNAL = {{IEEE} Transactions on Computers}, PUBLISHER = {{IEEE} Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA}, VOLUME = {58}, NUMBER = {2}, PAGES = {197207}, MONTH = feb, YEAR = {2009}, KEYWORDS = {floatingpoint arithmetic,correct rounding,power function}, URL = {http://www.vinc17.net/research/papers/ieeetc2009powr.pdf}, DOI = {10.1109/TC.2008.202} } Clearly the pow alogrithm should be reimplemented with a better one. What I proposed is just an easy workaround which can be easily and quickly implemented (and it would improve the actual results). About the char in the C code: it is just used for its sign (+/ 1) not for its value. (In reply to comment #11) > What I proposed is just an easy workaround which can be easily and quickly > implemented (and it would improve the actual results). I'm not sure that improving the code for integer exponents only would be a good idea. A consequence would be that the f(x) = pow(a,x) implementation would be completely nonmonotonous (with important differences near the integer inputs), with possible bad side effects on some codes. > About the char in the C code: it is just used for its sign (+/ 1) not for its > value. But a sign is part of the value. On platforms where char is unsigned, a char value cannot have a negative sign. (In reply to comment #10) > Note that if you want to compute pow(x,y) where y is not necessarily an > integer, you can write y = yi + yf, where yi is an integer and yf < 1 > (e.g. yf <= 0.5 or 0 <= yf < 1). Then mathematically, > pow(x,y) = pow(pow(x,yi),yf), and you can use that to get a more accurate > result than the current algorithm (I haven't checked in detail...). This is incorrect. I should have reread my message. There are 2 possible simple range reductions that wouldn't require much rewriting, in order to reduce the problem to integer exponents (if one is able to fix that easily). 1. y = yi + yf, where yi is an integer and yf < 1. Then mathematically, pow(x,y) = pow(x,yi) * pow(x,yf), where pow(x,yi) can be computed with an iterated exponentiation. Note that yi and yf are computed exactly. 2. y = y0 * 2^e, where 0.5 <= y0 < 1 for instance (which can be obtained with frexp()). Then mathematically, pow(x,y) = pow(pow(x,y0),2^e), where the ^(2^e) can be computed with repeated squarings. Now, I fear that if the iterated exponentiation is not done in multiple precision, this won't solve the problem for very large values of n. Indeed, pow(x,n) evaluated with such an algorithm (whatever iteration is used) is approximated with a factor of about[*] (1+epsilon)^(n1) > 1 + (n1).epsilon, where 1+epsilon is the error bound on the multiplication in Higham's notation. And this would be slow. [*] Actually this is an upper bound, but in average, you would probably get the same kind of problems with large values of n. And Calixte, I've looked at your comment #9 and your code more closely, and I agree that in the case of a negative exponent, the inversion should be done after the exponentiation if such an algorithm is used. I've done some tests, and it seems that pow(x,y) for large y is inaccurate only when y is an integer. So, if I understand correctly, an iterative algorithm is used for integers y, and a logexp algorithm (which seems accurate enough on the few values I've tested) is used for other values. So, a possible easy fix would be to always use the logexp algorithm, possibly except for small integers y. Note: I've updated the bug summary following this observation (large exponent → large integer exponent). Fixed by: commit c483f6b4a4277bc209820efc1ae35d976af57b4e Author: Joseph Myers <joseph@codesourcery.com> Date: Mon Apr 9 09:42:05 2012 +0000 Fix x86 pow inaccuracy for large integer exponents (bug 706). (A similar issue for x86/x86_64 powl is tracked in bug 13881.) *** Bug 260998 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. *** Seen from the domain http://volichat.com Page where seen: http://volichat.com/adultchatrooms Marked for reference. Resolved as fixed @bugzilla. 