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1. Introduction

This section will introduce you to the primitive data types used in computing.

The word 'primitive' in this case does not mean 'simple' or 'basic' - it means these data types are fundamental in computer science and so you need to understand them and how to use them.

All data within a CPU is in binary form. For example, a 16 bit computer manipulates and stores 16 bit binary numbers like this


However, that binary number can be used to represent different data types. Declaring a certain data type within a program allows the computer to :-

  • Allocate the correct amount of memory to it.
  • Proscribe what kind of data manipulation it is allowed to carry out based on data type.
  • Spot programming errors when data types are mixed up e.g trying to use integer instead of floating point.

This section is complimented with separate section on integers and a section on floating point