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question on primitive type ranges

Gary Peck

Joined: Jun 03, 2003
Posts: 15
I understand that for example a byte type contains 8 bits and can hold from -128 to 127. My question is this:
0111 1111 = 127
Why can't a byte store a 1 in the most significant spot(1111 1111)?
I think now that Im looking at it...that this would make it a negative number? What IS the value of 1111 1111?
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24189

Yes, 11111111 is -128. The convention is called "Two's complement arithmetic." See, for example, here for more info.

[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: question on primitive type ranges