Report Number: CS-TR-66-40
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: How do you solve a quadratic equation?
Author: Forsythe, George E.
Date: June 1966
Abstract: The nature of the floating-point number system of digital
computers is explained to a reader whose university
mathematical background is very limited. The possibly large
errors in using mathematical algorithms blindly with
floating-point computation are illustrated by the formula for
solving a quadratic equation. An accurate way of solving a
quadratic is outlined. A few general remarks are made about
computational mathematics, including the backwards analysis
of rounding error.