## NAME

math_error − detecting errors from mathematical functions

## SYNOPSIS

**#include
<math.h>
#include <errno.h>
#include <fenv.h>**

## DESCRIPTION

When an error
occurs, most library functions indicate this fact by
returning a special value (e.g., −1 or NULL). Because
they typically return a floating-point number, the
mathematical functions declared in *<math.h>*
indicate an error using other mechanisms. There are two
error-reporting mechanisms: the older one sets *errno*;
the newer one uses the floating-point exception mechanism
(the use of feclearexcept(3) and
fetestexcept(3), as outlined below) described in
fenv(3).

A portable
program that needs to check for an error from a mathematical
function should set *errno* to zero, and make the
following call

feclearexcept(FE_ALL_EXCEPT);

before calling a mathematical function.

Upon return
from the mathematical function, if *errno* is nonzero,
or the following call (see fenv(3)) returns
nonzero

fetestexcept(FE_INVALID | FE_DIVBYZERO | FE_OVERFLOW | FE_UNDERFLOW);

then an error occurred in the mathematical function.

The error conditions that can occur for mathematical functions are described below.

**Domain
error**

A *domain error* occurs when a mathematical function is
supplied with an argument whose value falls outside the
domain for which the function is defined (e.g., giving a
negative argument to log(3)). When a domain error
occurs, math functions commonly return a NaN (though some
functions return a different value in this case);
*errno* is set to **EDOM**, and an
"invalid" (**FE_INVALID**) floating-point
exception is raised.

**Pole
error**

A *pole error* occurs when the mathematical result of a
function is an exact infinity (e.g., the logarithm of 0 is
negative infinity). When a pole error occurs, the function
returns the (signed) value **HUGE_VAL**,
**HUGE_VALF**, or **HUGE_VALL**, depending on whether
the function result type is *double*, *float*, or
*long double*. The sign of the result is that which is
mathematically correct for the function. *errno* is set
to **ERANGE**, and a "divide-by-zero"
(**FE_DIVBYZERO**) floating-point exception is
raised.

**Range
error**

A *range error* occurs when the magnitude of the
function result means that it cannot be represented in the
result type of the function. The return value of the
function depends on whether the range error was an overflow
or an underflow.

A floating
result *overflows* if the result is finite, but is too
large to represented in the result type. When an overflow
occurs, the function returns the value **HUGE_VAL**,
**HUGE_VALF**, or **HUGE_VALL**, depending on whether
the function result type is *double*, *float*, or
*long double*. *errno* is set to **ERANGE**,
and an "overflow" (**FE_OVERFLOW**)
floating-point exception is raised.

A floating
result *underflows* if the result is too small to be
represented in the result type. If an underflow occurs, a
mathematical function typically returns 0.0 (C99 says a
function shall return "an implementation-defined value
whose magnitude is no greater than the smallest normalized
positive number in the specified type"). *errno*
may be set to **ERANGE**, and an "overflow"
(**FE_UNDERFLOW**) floating-point exception may be
raised.

Some functions
deliver a range error if the supplied argument value, or the
correct function result, would be *subnormal*. A
subnormal value is one that is nonzero, but with a magnitude
that is so small that it can’t be presented in
normalized form (i.e., with a 1 in the most significant bit
of the significand). The representation of a subnormal
number will contain one or more leading zeros in the
significand.

## NOTES

The
*math_errhandling* identifier specified by C99 and
POSIX.1 is not supported by glibc. This identifier is
supposed to indicate which of the two error-notification
mechanisms (*errno*, exceptions retrievable via
fettestexcept(3)) is in use. The standards require
that at least one be in use, but permit both to be
available. The current (version 2.8) situation under glibc
is messy. Most (but not all) functions raise exceptions on
errors. Some also set *errno*. A few functions set
*errno*, but don’t raise an exception. A very few
functions do neither. See the individual manual pages for
details.

To avoid the
complexities of using *errno* and
fetestexcept(3) for error checking, it is often
advised that one should instead check for bad argument
values before each call. For example, the following code
ensures that log(3)’s argument is not a NaN and
is not zero (a pole error) or less than zero (a domain
error):

double x, r; if (isnan(x) || islessequal(x, 0)) { /* Deal with NaN / pole error / domain error */ } r = log(x);

The discussion
on this page does not apply to the complex mathematical
functions (i.e., those declared by
*<complex.h>*), which in general are not required
to return errors by C99 and POSIX.1.

The
gcc(1) *-fno-math-errno* option causes the
executable to employ implementations of some mathematical
functions that are faster than the standard implementations,
but do not set *errno* on error. (The gcc(1)
*-ffast-math* option also enables
*-fno-math-errno*.) An error can still be tested for
using fetestexcept(3).

## SEE ALSO

gcc(1), errno(3), fenv(3), fpclassify(3), INFINITY(3), isgreater(3), matherr(3), nan(3)

*info
libc*

## COLOPHON

This page is
part of release 4.16 of the Linux *man-pages* project.
A description of the project, information about reporting
bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at
https://www.kernel.org/doc/man−pages/.