Using Differences on data: trouble with floats and doubles

Consider the following data set (after I have run FullForm), which is imported from a file (stored typically as 10.040):

data = {10.,10.02,10.04,10.06,10.08,10.1,10.12,10.14,10.16,10.18,10.2,10.22,10.24,10.26,10.28,10.3,10.32,10.34,10.36,10.38,10.4,10.42,10.44,10.46,10.48,10.5,10.52,10.54,10.56,10.58,10.6,10.62,10.64,10.66,10.68,10.7,10.72,10.74,10.76,10.78,10.8,10.82,10.84,10.86,10.88,10.9,10.92,10.94,10.96,10.98,11.}


As you can see, there is a step of .02 between each (and every) data point. If I run

DeleteDuplicates@Differences@data


I would expect:

{0.2}


Instead I get (on my computer, YMMV, and after FullForm):

{0.019999999999999574,0.02000000000000135}


Erk. Now, I've run into these types of problems before (I'm looking at you LabView), and so I expect it has something to do with differences of doubles / floats / machine precision numbers. In LabView, I fixed this by essentially creating a Equivalent type function which, given a list of numbers, did a "fuzzy" Union of sorts, and I can do the same for MMA:

DeleteDuplicates[Differences@data,Abs[#1-#2]/Min[#1, #2] < 10^-6 &]


Is this something I can stop from happening with some import parameters, or is there a better way of handling this?

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I don't think the test function in the last expression is doing what you think it's doing. Try for example DeleteDuplicates[{1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10^-7}, #1 - #2 <= (#1 - #2)/Min[#1, #2] 10^-6 &] which returns {1}. This is because #1 - #2 <= (#1 - #2)/Min[#1, #2] 10^-6 & returns true for a pair of elements {a, b} iff 10^-6 <= a <= b or And[b <= a, b <= 10^-6]. You probably want something like Abs[#1-#2]/Min[#1, #2] < 10^-6 &. – Heike Apr 27 '12 at 16:09
@Heike oops, you're right, thanks! I typed that out too quick I guess. – tkott Apr 27 '12 at 16:11
– Mr.Wizard Apr 27 '12 at 17:08

t = Table[x + RandomReal[{0, 10^-7}], {x, 0, 1, .1}]

Ha, I had been using Rationalize` separately today, but didn't consider it for this use case. I wonder if it's faster... – tkott Apr 27 '12 at 15:52