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### Converting binary to double precision

by ahoriuch (Acolyte)
 on Feb 24, 2014 at 18:21 UTC Need Help??

ahoriuch has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I'm having difficulties converting binary to double precision floating point. Using an on-line calculator, here is what the number should be: 5.71713084433028663131071134273E-5 Here's the number in hex:

```unpack("H16",\$buffer);
#Returns 3f0d f967 3344 c570

Here is the number in "d":

```unpack("d",\$buffer);
#Returns 1.69044404965372e+235

Something is clearly wrong. Reading the unpack documentation, there is no option for "D". Is there another way I can convert this number?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Converting binary to double precision (big-endian)
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Feb 24, 2014 at 19:06 UTC

Your value comes from a big-endian system, so you'll need 'd>' to decode it:

```\$n = pack 'H16', '3f0df9673344c570';;

print unpack 'd>', \$n;;
5.71713084433029e-005

You could also do the byte swapping yourself:

```\$n = pack 'H16', '3f0df9673344c570';;

print unpack 'd', scalar reverse \$n;;
5.71713084433029e-005

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In my case, this was the correct answer. I needed to switch from big to little-endian. It's amazing how little there is on the internet on this subject. Hopefully this will help future users.

```my \$n = pack 'H16', '3f0df9673344c570';;

printf "Big\n";
print unpack ("d", scalar reverse \$n);

#Big
#5.71713084433029e-05

printf "\nLittle\n";
print unpack ("d",\$n);
printf "\n";

#Little
#1.69044404965372e+235
Re: Converting binary to double precision
by toolic (Bishop) on Feb 24, 2014 at 18:25 UTC
Reading the unpack documentation, there is no option for "D"
pack
```D  A float of long-double precision in native format.
(Long doubles are available only if your system supports
long double values _and_ if Perl has been compiled to
support those. Raises an exception otherwise.)

Is there a specific version/ install that I need? Invalid type 'D' in unpack at ... line 112, <FILE> chunk 1.

I'm running on 5.12.2, and I see it. What version of perl do you use?

UPDATE: I don't see it in 5.8.8. Also, I can't find any mention of a change to pack in either perl5100delta or perl5120delta.

Re: Converting binary to double precision
by Anonymous Monk on Feb 24, 2014 at 18:42 UTC
If you know that you are dealing with an x86 platform, this approach might work, but Perl is platform-independent. The binary representation of a floating point number among CPU-types is not the same. For that matter, there is more than one floating-point type available on a single CPU. The binary representation will vary considerably.

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