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precision errors. microblaze vs matlab single precision... huh?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by chriskoh, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. chriskoh

    chriskoh Guest

    Hi all embedded gurus out there,
    I am working on an embedded platform using microblaze. I am trying
    to implement an algo, which does a inverse matrix function on the
    microblaze (via C) and then port the results back to matlab.
    so this is the scenario.

    1) matlab generates some numbers, passes them to microblaze via the
    UART (ie. PC to UART)
    2) microblaze will then generate the matrix, and then calculate its
    inverse and do other stuff (dot product of matrices etc etc).
    3) microblaze will then send the result back to PC via UART.

    Ok..so here's the problem.
    the result obtained differs from matlab's result (I coded the same
    implementation also in matlab). the result obtained varies up to an
    error of 1 decimal place!!!

    How I tried to debug
    1) step through the C code using the debugger for microblaze. (this is
    very cool tool).
    2) at each step of the way, look at how the variables change for each
    operation in the C code running on microblaze...and also observe how
    the variables change in matlab

    this is what I noticed
    thinking it was due to matlab processing it in double precision, i
    type cast the whole matlab routine in single precision. then I tried
    to verify it again in the same way. And I get the same problem :(

    can anyone help? As a result of this precision errors, the whole algo
    fails to work. I am really not sure which one to trust now.

    Would appreciate if anyone can help me on the same. The current
    microblaze platform is using hardware FPU.

    chriskoh, Sep 12, 2007
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  2. Hi,

    What rounding mode are you using for Matlab?
    MicroBlaze only uses round-to-nearest rounding mode.

    In order to get exactly the same every result operation in Matlab has to be
    done in single-precision.

    Göran Bilski, Sep 12, 2007
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  3. chriskoh

    chriskoh Guest

    Hi Goran,
    I am using type cast to single in matlab. Once you round the first
    variable to single in matlab, it should round everything after that to
    single already. Cos all resulting variables after that are already in
    single precision. right?

    by the way, you say " In order to get exactly the same every result
    operation in Matlab has to be
    done in single-precision."

    but my question is, the difference in values of the result amount to
    orders of >0.5 occasionally! Isnt that a bit too much difference in

    Is the FPU inaccurate or am i seeing things...

    chriskoh, Sep 12, 2007
  4. Hi,

    May 2 cents : It seems to me that Desktop PC FPU use larger mantissa
    internally than what is strictly required by the IEEE SP standard,
    especially for some operations (such as /,sqrt). That *might* explain
    your results.

    Also, did you check that the matrix inversion algorithm you used is
    robust enough in terms of numerical stability ?

    Hope it can help.


    chriskoh a écrit :
    Steven Derrien, Sep 12, 2007
  5. chriskoh

    chriskoh Guest

    Hi Steven,
    so matlab results are more accurate?
    the matrix inversion algorithm method is rather robust actually in
    terms of numerical stability. What I noticed however is that the
    matrix formed already by my C code running on microblaze before the
    inversion has already some numerical differences with matlab's
    version. simple C code vs matlab single precision code.
    but different results obtained. All discovered by stepping through the
    C code running on microblaze.
    the matrix was formed simply by a dot product.

    chriskoh, Sep 12, 2007
  6. That expectation might be realistic for expression containing only
    multiplications and divisions. However, as soon as the expression
    contains additions of a large and a small value or a subtraction
    between two more or less equal values, the result depends heavily on
    the floating point representation.

    What exactly is "single precision floating point" ?

    I can think about at least a dozen representations that are using that
    name, in which each representations might return a different result
    with problematic parameters.

    Paul Keinanen, Sep 12, 2007
  7. A couple a questions
    - Are your matrices anywhere near being singular?
    - Are the algorithms the same and implemented identically on the
    two systems? That will be most critical near singularity but even away
    from it there can be traps.
    - Is the data used the same? What do you lose transferring the
    data back and forth?
    - Finally, what happens when yo perform the obvious sanity check
    abd multiply the original matrix by its inverse?

    Robert Adsett, Sep 13, 2007
  8. chriskoh

    chriskoh Guest

    Good day Paul,
    so which one is the correct one? PC's matlab of xilinx FPU? What
    do I make out of the results?

    chriskoh, Sep 13, 2007
  9. Which one works? IE what hapens when you multiply the original matrix
    by its calculated inverse?

    Robert Adsett, Sep 13, 2007
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