For several years now I’ve participated in the physics tutorial session at GDC (along with Jim Van Verth, Gino van den Bergen, Erin Catto, Brian ‘Squirrel’ Eiserloh, and Marq Singer). One section I’ve covered in some detail is robustness and within this area I’ve stressed (amongst other things) the importance of distinguishing between absolute and relative tolerances when performing comparisons of floating-point numbers.
I won’t go into details about why you would want to care about how your floating-point numbers are compared. (Detailed information can be found in part in my GDC presentation slides and in much more depth in my book.) Here I will assume you already know why you care, and I will just note that absolute and relative tolerances are tested as Read the rest of this entry »