## Round-off Error

A round-off error, also called a rounding error, is the difference between the calculated approximation of a number and its exact mathematical value. Numerical analysis specifically tries to estimate this error when using approximation equations, algorithms, or both, especially when using finitely many digits to represent real numbers. When a sequence of calculations subject to rounding errors is made, errors may accumulate, sometimes dominating the calculation.

Calculations rarely lead to whole numbers. As such, values are expressed in the form of a decimal with infinite digits. The more digits that are used, the more accurate the calculations will be upon completion. Using a slew of digits in multiple calculations, however, is often unfeasible if calculating by hand and can lead to much more human error when keeping track of so many digits. To make calculations much easier, the results are often 'rounded off' to the nearest few decimal places.

For example, the equation for finding the area of a circle is

However, when doing a series of calculations, numbers are rounded off at each subsequent step. This leads to an accumulation of errors, and if profound enough, can misrepresent calculated values and lead to miscalculations and mistakes .