Topic: primitive data types of a language

topics > computer science > data > Group: data type

data value

builtin functions
integer values and operations
kinds of numbers
primitive data type as memory
primitive data types for Thesa
primitive functions
representation data type
value as an object


A primitive data type or concept is not derived from other data types. It is its own sign or value. Typically a value corresponds to a primitive data type while an object corresponds to a derived data type. The meaning of a compound object depends on the meaning of its components.

Most high-level programming languages include a set of primitive types for defining variables and data types. The set usually includes signed integers, single and double precision reals, character strings, booleans, and pointers. In application specific languages other primitive types may include logical i/o, timers, counters, circles, and surfaces. Business programming needs fixed point numbers for monetary values, and fixed- and variable length strings.

The distinction of primitive data types may be artificial. Semantic nets are defined without primitive word concepts. A rope (immutable string) in Cedar is a value just like an integer. All values should carry additional information such as units and size. (cbb 5/80 1/ 90 4/98)

Subtopic: primitive concepts up

Quote: a primitive concept is its own sign; is part of the thing which is conceived through itself, that is, God [»leibGW_1679]
Quote: since derivative concepts arise from primitive ones, nothing exists in things except through the influence of God
Quote: Aristotle defined categories for the primitive concepts (e.g., relation, time); build concepts from general type (genus) and differentia [»sowaJF_1984]
Quote: the nature of man is the foundation for political rules and laws [»hobbT_1650, OK]
Quote: CD needs a set of meaning primitives to work in the most general way possible without duplicating information [»schaRC_1981]
Quote: ATRANS is a primitive CD action; its meaning is the set of inference rules that fire because of its presence [»schaRC_1981]
Quote: .NET's common language specification (CLS) is a subset of its type system; unique, Unicode names, no static and instance methods or fields, properties, events, predefined types, closed

Subtopic: value vs. object up

Quote: programming languages treat atomic data types as values and compound ones as objects; causes unnecessary confusion [»maclBJ12_1982]
Note: type is either primitive, without substructure, or a memory pointer, size, offset; memory is any resource [»cbb_1990, OK]
Note: is type part of value? [»cbb_1990, OK]
Note: a value is a type ID (a name) and 0 or more fields; field names belong to the type [»cbb_1990, OK]

Subtopic: simplified data type up

Quote: ABC restricts data types to numbers, text, tuples, lists, and tables; lists and tables of the same type [»pembS1_1987]

Subtopic: examples of primitive data types up

Quote: include boolean, state, dates, times, rationals, and complex numbers as primitive datatypes; avoids representational assumptions [»meekB9_1994]
Quote: ASDL defines 3 primitive types: signed integers of infinite precision, identifiers, and strings [»wangDS10_1997]
Quote: a 'char' is a signed or an unsigned integer; an 'unsigned char' may be significantly less efficient than a 'char'
Quote: in C++, 'unsigned int' is seldom a good idea; e.g., 'unsigned surprise= -1' is legal [»stroB_1991]
Quote: use one or more 'long' annotations instead of required decimal places; otherwise mismatch between number and its representation [»wirtN6_1966]
Quote: Lisa List has data types for text, number, date, money, time, phone, zip code, social-security number [»stewG3_1983]
QuoteRef: joneAK4_1976 ;;14 "There exist a number of primitive data types (eg integer boolean, array
QuoteRef: milgE_1972 ;;520 the mode of the object int is primitive (value of primitive is set of all primitive types)
QuoteRef: ruhlRC11_1976 ;;30 "CONTROL uses 10 types of variables: "Types 5 through 8 [flags, characters, integers, reals] may be declared to be arrays. The first four types [logic and analog input and output] are the process variable and are associated with physical wines numbered decimally from one in each case. [all of these have names, also numbered timers and counters]
QuoteRef: wileDS11_1973 ;;29 basic types (indicated by letter) signed integer, character, sequence, empty (nil) and string (sequence of characters)

Subtopic: immutable string up

Quote: a Cedar rope is an immutable, garbage-collected, text string; widely used in all system levels [»swinDC7_1985]
Quote: Cedar ropes are immutable, garbage collected, strings; same as a value [»teitW3_1985]

Subtopic: business data up

Quote: business programming needs data records, decimal arithmetic, report generation, large databases [»glasRL9_1997]
Quote: business data is heterogeneous and hierarchical: fixed-length strings, variable-length strings, and decimal numbers [»glasRL9_1997]
Quote: business programs use fixed-point, decimal arithmetic to round numbers as humans do [»glasRL9_1997]

Subtopic: units up

Quote: a variable and a unit should be the same; keeps manipulations visible [»karrM5_1978]
Quote: units allow programmers to distinguish different kinds of integers [»cleaJC_1975]
Quote: a problem of units is that different properties, e.g., length and height, have the same units [»parnDL3_1976]

Subtopic: primitives not needed up

Quote: in semantic nets, there are no primitive word concepts; everything defined in terms of other things in the memory [»quilMR_1967]

Related Topics up

Group: data value   (19 topics, 433 quotes)

Topic: builtin functions (6 items)
Topic: integer values and operations (13 items)
Topic: kinds of numbers (24 items)
Topic: primitive data type as memory (29 items)
Topic: primitive data types for Thesa (82 items)
Topic: primitive functions (34 items)
Topic: representation data type (21 items)
Topic: units (23 items)
Topic: value as an object
(29 items)

Updated barberCB 11/04
Copyright © 2002-2008 by C. Bradford Barber. All rights reserved.
Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.