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Implicit and explicit type conversion with both promotion and demotion is discussed with some examples.

Overview

Changing a data type of a value is referred to as "type conversion".  There are two ways to do this:

  1. Implicit – the change is implied
  2. Explicit – the change is explicitly done with the cast operator

The value being changed may be:

  1. Promotion – going from a smaller domain to a larger domain
  2. Demotion – going from a larger domain to a smaller domain

Implicit type conversion

Automatic conversion of a value from one data type to another by a programming language, without the programmer specifically doing so, is called implicit type conversion.  It happens when ever a binary operator has two operands of different data types. Depending on the operator, one of the operands is going to be converted to the data type of the other. It could be promoted or demoted depending on the operator.

Implicit promotion

55 + 1.75

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In this example the integer value 55 is converted to a floating-point value (most likely double) of 55.0. It was promoted.

Implicit demotion

int money; // variable set up then later in the programmoney = 23.16;

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In this example the variable money is an integer. We are trying to move a floating-point value 23.16 into an integer storage location. This is demotion and the floating-point value usually gets truncated to 23.

Promotion

Promotion is never a problem because the lower data type (smaller range of allowable values) is sub set of the higher data type (larger range of allowable values).  Promotion often occurs with three of the standard data types: character, integer and floating-point. The allowable values (or domains) progress from one type to another.  That is the character data type values are a sub set of integer values and integer values are a sub set of floating-point values; and within the floating-point values: float values are a sub set of double.  Even though character data represent the alphabetic letters, numeral digits (0 to 9) and other symbols (a period, $, comma, etc.) their bit pattern also represent integer values from 0 to 255.  This progression allows us to promote them up the chain from character to integer to float to double.

Demotion

Demotion represents a potential problem with truncation or unpredictable results often occurring.  How do you fit an integer value of 456 into a character value?  How do you fit the floating-point value of 45656.453 into an integer value? Most compilers give a warning if it detects demotion happening. A compiler warning does not stop the compilation process. It does warn the programmer to check to see if the demotion is reasonable.

If I calculate the number of cans of soup to buy based on the number of people I am serving (say 8) and the servings per can (say 2.3), I would need 18.4 cans. I might want to demote the 18.4 into an integer. It would truncate the 18.4 into 18 and because the value 18 is within the domain of an integer data type, it should demote with the truncation side effect.

If I tried demoting a double that contained the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy into an integer, I might have a get an unpredictable result (assuming the number of stars is larger than allowable values within the integer domain).

Explicit type conversion

Most languages have a method for the programmer to change or cast a value from one data type to another; called explicit type conversion .  Within C++ the cast operator is a unary operator; it only has one operand and the operand is to the right of the operator. The operator is a set of parentheses surrounding the new data type.

Explicit demotion with truncation

(int) 4.234

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This expression would evaluate to: 4.

Demonstration program in c++

Creating a folder or sub-folder for source code files

Depending on your compiler/IDE, you should decide where to download and store source code files for processing. Prudence dictates that you create these folders as needed prior to downloading source code files. A suggested sub-folder for the Bloodshed Dev-C++ 5 compiler/IDE might be named:

  • Demo_Programs

If you have not done so, please create the folder(s) and/or sub-folder(s) as appropriate.

Download the demo program

Download and store the following file(s) to your storage device in the appropriate folder(s). Following the methods of your compiler/IDE, compile and run the program(s). Study the soruce code file(s) in conjunction with other learning materials.

Download from Connexions: Demo_Data_Type_Conversions.cpp

Definitions

implicit
A value that has its data type changed automatically.
explicit
Changing a value's data type with the cast operator.
promotion
Going from a smaller domain to a larger domain.
demotion
Going from a larger domain to a smaller domain.
truncation
The fractional part of a floating-point data type that is dropped when converted to an integer.

Questions & Answers

general equation for photosynthesis
Ojasope Reply
6CO2 + 6H2O + solar energy= C6H1206+ 6O2
Anastasiya
meaning of amino Acids
AJAYI Reply
a diagram of an adult mosquito
mubarak Reply
what are white blood cells
Mlungisi Reply
white blood cell is part of the immune system. that help fight the infection.
MG
what about tissue celss
Mlungisi
Cells with a similar function, form a tissue. For example the nervous tissue is composed by cells:neurons and glia cells. Muscle tissue, is composed by different cells.
Anastasiya
I need further explanation coz celewi anything guys,,,
Calvin Reply
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Isala
on what?
Anastasiya
hie
Lish
is air homogenous or hetrogenous
damiane Reply
homogenous
Kevin
why saying homogenous?
Isala
explain if oxygen is necessary for photosynthesis
Allice Reply
explain if oxygen is necessary for photosynthesis
Allice Reply
Yes, the plant does need oxygen. The plant uses oxygen, water, light, and produced food. The plant use process called photosynthesis.
MG
By using the energy of sunlight, plants convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen by photosynthesis. This happens during the day and sunlight is needed.
NOBLE
no. it s a product of the process
Anastasiya
yet still is it needed?
NOBLE
no. The reaction is: 6CO2+6H20+ solar energy =C6H12O6(glucose)+602. The plant requires Carbon dioxyde, light, and water Only, and produces glucose and oxygen( which is a waste).
Anastasiya
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NOBLE Reply
joining
Godfrey
the specific one
NOBLE
the study of non and living organism is called.
Godfrey
Is call biology
Alohan
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NOBLE
yes
Usher
what Is ecology
Musonda Reply
what is a cell
Emmanuel Reply
A cell is a basic structure and functional unit of life
Ndongya
what is biolgy
Hawwi Reply
is the study of living and non living organisms
Ahmed
may u draw the female organ
MARTIN Reply
i dont understand
Asal
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Asal
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DAVID
anabolism and catabolism
Sani Reply
Anabolism refers to the process in methabolism in which complex molecules are formed "built" and requires energy to happen. Catabolism is the opposite process: complex molecules are deconstructed releasing energy, such as during glicolysis.
Anastasiya
Explain briefly independent assortment gene .
Otu Reply
hi
Amargo
hi I'm Anatalia
Joy
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Digambar
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Source:  OpenStax, Programming fundamentals - a modular structured approach using c++. OpenStax CNX. Jan 10, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10621/1.22
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