Quick Start: BSON Data Types - Decimal 128

Quick Start: BSON Data Types - Decimal 128

Working with decimal numbers can be a challenge. The Decimal128 BSON data type allows for high precision options when working with numbers.

Think back to when you were first introduced to the concept of decimals in numerical calculations. Doing math problems along the lines of 3.231 / 1.28 caused problems when starting out because 1.28 doesn't go into 3.231 evenly. This causes a long string of numbers to be created to provide a more precise answer. In programming languages, we must choose which number format is correct depending on the amount of precision we need. When one needs high precision when working with BSON data types, the decimal128 is the one to use.

As the name suggests, decimal128 provides 128 bits of decimal representation for storing really big (or really small) numbers when rounding decimals exactly is important. Decimal128 supports 34 decimal digits of precision, or significand along with an exponent range of -6143 to +6144. The significand is not normalized in the decimal128 standard allowing for multiple possible representations: 10 x 10^-1 = 1 x 10^0 = .1 x 10^1 = .01 x 10^2 and so on. Having the ability to store maximum and minimum values in the order of 10^6144 and 10^-6143, respectively, allows for a lot of precision.

Decimal128 Precision DetailsWhy & Where to Use

Sometimes when doing mathematical calculations in a programmatic way, results are unexpected. For example in Node.js:

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> 0.1
0.1
> 0.2
0.2
> 0.1 * 0.2
0.020000000000000004
> 0.1 + 0.1
0.010000000000000002

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