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Re: FW: Two technical questions on IEEE Std 754-2008

Dan Zuras wrote, in reply to Chuck Stevens:
If you've got, say, an 80-byte record on a reel-to-reel tape, the tape's
been written somewhere else, it's got a decimal128 item taking up the last
16 bytes of that record, with the first 64 bytes taken up with meaningful
and valid information, there's nowhere to put an indication of what
encoding was used to develop the numeric value in that record.

But you are at a unique point in the history of this
issue.  No such tapes exist today.  And won't for a
short time to come.  So, today only, this problem can
be fixed by REQUIRING such data to identify itself.

True -- except perhaps for the trifling fact field sizes are probably
fixed (e.g. 16 bytes), so I doubt the data themselves can be tagged.

What might work is requiring an entry in the DATA DIVISION or
the ENVIRONMENT DIVISION that identifies the encodings used.
This would have to cover an entire input (or output) file,
or an entire communication session, so as not to encumber
individual records.

(Be warned that my COBOL knowledge dates back to 1966, and I
have not looked at it since then...)

---Sent: 2011-02-24 00:33:52 UTC

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