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question on primitive type ranges

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