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BCS Glossary of Computing and ICT 13th edition by BCS Academy Glossary Working Party

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C11 NUMERIC DATA REPRESENTATION

This section defines terms associated with some of the methods used to store numbers in ways that can be efficiently processed. Other related material can be found in Section C10 Data representation.

Much of the data stored in a computer are numbers of some kind. Numbers create special problems for the computer scientist because they vary in type and size in an unpredictable way.

A number, such as ‘123’, could be treated as the three separate characters ‘1’ ‘2’ ‘3’, but if it is necessary to store its value, ‘one hundred and twenty three’, then there are several of ways of doing this. Storing numbers as values, rather than as characters, has the advantage that it is easier to perform arithmetic efficiently.

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