## Using "find" for finding decimal values

MiauMiau

### MiauMiau (view profile)

さんによって質問されました 2012 年 12 月 13 日

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Hi
I use the matlab command importdata:
X = importdata('filename.csv');
to read in a csv file with three columns.
Now, for finding a specific values in the matrix X, I simple use the find command as follows:
idx = find(X(:,1 ) == 17)
But, the same seems not to be possible for decimal numbers. This for instance would not work:
idx = find(X(:,1 ) == 17.9203)
even though 17.9203 is to be found in the original csv file. What is the problem and what can I do?
Thanks

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## 5 件の回答

2012 年 12 月 13 日

2012 年 12 月 13 日
採用された回答

MiauMiau, the numbers you are looking for are obviously different from the short format you see. Do this:
[~,idx] = min(abs(X(:,1) - 6.0018));
Y = X(idx,1);
[~,idx] = min(abs(X(:,1) - 17.9203));
fprintf('%15.15f %15.15f\n',Y,X(idx,1))
I have a feeling you will need to set your tolerance much higher, like 10^-4.

#### 4 件のコメント

2012 年 12 月 13 日
So it is as I thought. You need to use a much higher tolerance than eps(N). Though I am confused as to why you thought there was a number like 17.9203 when the closest number to 17.9203 is 17.8766. Why did you think there was a 17.9203?
Anyway, it would seem you should use:
idx = find(abs(X(:,1 ) - 6.0018) < 10^-3)
You could always use the method I gave above to find the closes number to a desired number, just like you found the closest number to 17.9203 is 17.8766.
MiauMiau

### MiauMiau (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日
Thanks - it works perfectly, wow! I thought there is a number like 17.9203 because I used two input files which were supposed to be identical - obviously there were not. May I ask how you found out the tolerance has to be set to 10^-3? I don't understand that yet. Thank you very much!

2012 年 12 月 14 日
I found out by looking at how close your guess value was to the actual value. You may have to do some tweaking but you get the idea now.

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### Azzi Abdelmalek (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日

Try
idx = find(abs(X(:,1 )-17.9203)<eps)

Jan

### Jan (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日
Substracting two numbers in the magnitude of 20 can have a roundoff error of eps(20). Then this is better:
idx = find(abs(X(:,1 ) - 17.9203) <= eps(17.9203)) % EDITED: was "<"
Even 10*eps(17.9203) would be a reliable limit.
[EDITED] Thanks, Kye. I cannot test this currently. But I assume that even "<=" can fail, when the values are at the limits of 2^n. Does eps(16 + eps(16)) reply eps(32)? Then a factor of 2 would be obligatory.
Kye Taylor

### Kye Taylor (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日
should be <=

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2012 年 12 月 13 日

### Jan (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日

There is no exact representation of decimal floating point numbers in binary format for all values. You find a lot of corresponding discussion in this forum:
0.1 + 0.2 - 0.3 == 0
>> false
This is no bug, but the expected behaviour, when floating point numbers are represented with a limited precision.
A consequence is, that you cannot compare numbers like 17.9203 and 17.92029999999999999999 sufficiently and even the display in the command window can be rather confusing.

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### MiauMiau (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日

I was not aware of that, that is pretty horrible! Anyway, both of your suggestions did not work, so also for:
idx = find(abs(X(:,1 ) - 17.9203) < eps(17.9203))
I did get an empty matrix returned - although the value is to be found in X. Also, when I changed the number a bit, I then got too many answers returned. But what strikes me most, is that in the first case, I just did not get any answer at all!..?!

Jan

### Jan (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日
@Azzi: This is not a problem of Matlab. The IEEE-754 standard for the type double is well established and used in almost all numerical programming environments, e.g. it is hard coded in the processor architectures except for a small number of exceptions (I assume Walter knows some). You will find exactly the same effects, when you program this in C, FORTRAN, Haskel, VisualBasic or directly in machine code.
Azzi Abdelmalek

### Azzi Abdelmalek (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日
Yes, I said Matlab because we are working with Matlab. I think, representing real numbers for numerical programming is almost similar to what an ADC (analogic-digital converter) do. There is a quantification of a real number, which means there is an error of quantification which depends on the number of used bits and method.
Jan

### Jan (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日
@Azzi: I've stressed this detail, because the OP seems to be confused about this topic already. I did not assume, that you struggle with floating point arithmetics.

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### MiauMiau (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日

I am really sorry for my use of the word "horrible".
If you meant the following command though ( I have used another nummerical value):
idx = find(abs(X(:,1 ) - 6.0018) <= eps(6.0018))
I - again - got an empty 0,1-matrix.
Also, I was not criticising the obviously necessary restriction on measurement and computation precision but I was amazed that there is not a simpler command to handle that. Anyway. What shall I try next?

Jan

### Jan (view profile)

2012 年 12 月 13 日
Why do you assume that 6.0018 is an element of X?

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