In Ada, the predefined floating-point types (
defined to be unconstrained. This means that even though each
has a well-defined base range, an operation that delivers a result
outside this base range is not required to raise an exception.
This implementation permission accommodates the notion
of infinities in IEEE floating-point, and corresponds to the
efficient execution mode on most machines. GNAT will not raise
overflow exceptions on these machines; instead it will generate
infinities and NaN's as defined in the IEEE standard.
Generating infinities, although efficient, is not always desirable. Often the preferable approach is to check for overflow, even at the (perhaps considerable) expense of run-time performance. This can be accomplished by defining your own constrained floating-point subtypes – i.e., by supplying explicit range constraints – and indeed such a subtype can have the same base range as its base type. For example:
subtype My_Float is Float range Float'Range;
My_Float has the same range as
Float but is constrained, so operations on
My_Float values will be checked for overflow
against this range.
This style will achieve the desired goal, but
it is often more convenient to be able to simply use
the standard predefined floating-point types as long
as overflow checking could be guaranteed.
configuration pragma achieves this effect. If a unit is compiled
subject to this configuration pragma, then all operations
on predefined floating-point types including operations on
base types of these floating-point types will be treated as
though those types were constrained, and overflow checks
will be generated. The
exception is raised if the result is out of range.
This mode can also be set by use of the compiler switch -gnateF.