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Variable size/Set

From Rosetta Code
Variable size/Set
You are encouraged to solve this task according to the task description, using any language you may know.

Demonstrate how to specify the minimum size of a variable or a data type.

360 Assembly[edit]

The 360 architecture data specifications are:

* Binary interger (H,F)
I2 DS H half word 2 bytes
I4 DS F full word 4 bytes
* Real (floating point) (E,D,L)
X4 DS E short 4 bytes
X8 DS D double 8 bytes
X16 DS L extended 16 bytes
* Packed decimal (P)
P3 DS PL3 2 bytes
P7 DS PL7 4 bytes
P15 DS PL15 8 bytes
* Zoned decimal (Z)
Z8 DS ZL8 8 bytes
Z16 DS ZL16 16 bytes
* Character (C)
C1 DS C 1 byte
C16 DS CL16 16 bytes
C256 DS CL256 256 bytes
* Bit value (B)
B1 DC B'10101010' 1 byte
* Hexadecimal value (X)
X1 DC X'AA' 1 byte
* Address value (A)
A4 DC A(176) 4 bytes but only 3 bytes used
* (24 bits => 16 MB of storage)


type Response is (Yes, No); -- Definition of an enumeration type with two values
for Response'Size use 1; -- Setting the size of Response to 1 bit, rather than the default single byte size


The documentation explains how the built-in function VarSetCapacity() may be used to do so.


Numerical values and arrays generally are a fixed size. Strings are dynamically resized according to the data that they hold.

Variable sizes are in chunks relating to the type of data that they contain. There may also be additional bytes of storage in the variable table that do not show in the dimensions. Typically, strings are allocated in single characters (bytes), so C$(12) in the following example is stored as 12 bytes + additional bytes used for the header in the variable table. In some implementations of basic (such as those that support the storage of variable length strings in arrays), additional terminator characters (such as a trailing Ascii NUL) may also be included. In traditional basic, integers are typically 2 bytes each, so A%(10) contains 10 lots of 2 bytes (20 bytes in total) + additional bytes used for header data in the variable table. Floating point values are typically 8 bytes each, so B(10) holds 10 lots of 8 bytes (80 bytes in total) + additional bytes for header in the variable table:

10 DIM A%(10): REM the array size is 10 integers
20 DIM B(10): REM the array will hold 10 floating point values
30 DIM C$(12): REM a character array of 12 bytes


The only way to 'set' the size of a scalar numeric variable is to declare it with the appropriate type suffix:

      var& = 1 : REM Variable occupies 8 bits
var% = 1 : REM Variable occupies 32 bits
var = 1 : REM Variable occupies 40 bits
var# = 1 : REM Variable occupies 64 bits

If the task is talking about setting the size of a variable at run time that is only possible with strings, arrays and structures.


Works with: C99
#include <stdint.h>
int_least32_t foo;

Here foo is a signed integer with at least 32 bits. stdint.h also defines minimum-width types for at least 8, 16, 32, and 64 bits, as well as unsigned integer types.


Works with: C++11
Works with: Boost
#include <boost/cstdint.hpp>
boost::int_least32_t foo;


In D, any variables of static array of zero length has a size of zero. But such data is useless, as no base type element can be accessed.

typedef long[0] zeroLength ; 
writefln(zeroLength.sizeof) ; // print 0

NOTE: a dynamic array variable's size is always 8 bytes, 4(32-bit) for length and 4 for a reference pointer of the actual storage somewhere in runtime memory.
The proper candidates of minimum size variable are empty structure, 1-byte size data type variable (include byte, ubyte, char and bool), and void, they all occupy 1 byte.

byte b ;
ubyte ub ;
char c ;
bool t ;

bool is logically 1-bit size, but it actually occupy 1 byte.
void can't be declared alone, but void.sizeof gives 1.
An empty structure is logically zero size, but still occupy 1 byte.

struct Empty { }
writefln(Empty.sizeof) ; // print 1


Variables and data type sizes are outside of the programmers control, with one exception: binary data. Here you can say exactly how many bits you want. Default is 8 bits so below the 0 is 8 bits and the 1 is 3 bits.

15> <<1:11>>.


Numerical values and arrays generally are a fixed size. Strings are dynamically resized according to the data that they hold.

Variable sizes are in chunks relating to the type of data that they contain. There may also be additional bytes of storage in the variable table that do not show in the dimensions. Typically, in ERRE strings are allocated in single characters (bytes), so C$[12] in the following example is stored as 12 bytes + additional bytes used for the header in the variable table. Integers are typically 2 bytes each, so A%[10] contains 10 numbers of 2 bytes (20 bytes in total) + additional bytes used for header data in the variable table. Floating point values are typically 4 bytes each, so B[10] holds 10 numbers of 4 bytes (40 bytes in total) + additional bytes for header in the variable table:

DIM A%[10] ! the array size is 10 integers

DIM B[10]  ! the array will hold 10 floating point values

DIM C$[12] ! a character array of 12 bytes</lang>

There is also "double" floating point values (8 bytes). Variables of this type use the suffix #.


Since Fortran 90 each intrinsic data type (INTEGER, REAL, COMPLEX, LOGICAL and CHARACTER) has a KIND parameter associated with it that can be used to set the required level of precision. The actual values which these KIND parameters can take are not specified in the standard and are implementation-dependent. In order to select an appropriate KIND value that is portable over different platforms we can use the intrinsic functions SELECTED_REAL_KIND and SELECTED_INT_KIND.

The syntax of these functions are as follows:-

selected_real_kind(P, R), where P is the required number of significant decimal digits and R is the required decimal exponent range. At least one argument must be present. The return value is the kind type parameter for real values with the given precision and/or range. A value of -1 is returned if P is out of range, a value of -2 is returned if R is out of range and a value of -3 is returned if both P and R are out of range.

selected_int_kind(R), where R is the required decimal exponent range. The return value is the kind type parameter for integer values n such that -10^R < n < 10^R. A value of -1 is returned if R is out of range.

program setsize
implicit none
integer, parameter :: p1 = 6
integer, parameter :: p2 = 12
integer, parameter :: r1 = 30
integer, parameter :: r2 = 1000
integer, parameter :: r3 = 2
integer, parameter :: r4 = 4
integer, parameter :: r5 = 8
integer, parameter :: r6 = 16
integer, parameter :: rprec1 = selected_real_kind(p1, r1)
integer, parameter :: rprec2 = selected_real_kind(p2, r1)
integer, parameter :: rprec3 = selected_real_kind(p2, r2)
integer, parameter :: iprec1 = selected_int_kind(r3)
integer, parameter :: iprec2 = selected_int_kind(r4)
integer, parameter :: iprec3 = selected_int_kind(r5)
integer, parameter :: iprec4 = selected_int_kind(r6)
real(rprec1) :: n1
real(rprec2) :: n2
real(rprec3) :: n3
integer(iprec1) :: n4
integer(iprec2) :: n5
integer(iprec3) :: n6
integer(iprec4) :: n7
character(30) :: form
form = "(a7, i11, i10, i6, i9, i8)"
write(*, "(a)") " min set min set"
write(*, "(a)") "______________________________________________________"
write(*, form) "rprec1", kind(n1), p1, precision(n1), r1, range(n1)
write(*, form) "rprec2", kind(n2), p2, precision(n2), r1, range(n2)
write(*, form) "rprec3", kind(n3), p2, precision(n3), r2, range(n3)
form = "(a7, i11, i25, i8)"
write(*, form) "iprec1", kind(n4), r3, range(n4)
write(*, form) "iprec2", kind(n5), r4, range(n5)
write(*, form) "iprec3", kind(n6), r5, range(n6)
write(*, form) "iprec4", kind(n7), r6, range(n7)
end program


                          min   set     min     set
 rprec1          1         6     6       30      37
 rprec2          2        12    15       30     307
 rprec3          3        12    18     1000    4931
 iprec1          1                        2       2
 iprec2          2                        4       4
 iprec3          3                        8       9
 iprec4          4                       16      18


FreeBASIC variables have a fixed size (depending on their type) with four exceptions:

1. The size of the Integer and UInteger types depends on the underlying platform - 4 bytes for 32-bit and 8 bytes for 64-bit platforms.

2. The size of individual characters of the WString type depends on the operating system - 2 bytes for Windows and 4 bytes for Linux.

3. The length of variable length strings is determined at run time and can be changed.

4. The bounds of dynamic arrays are determined at run time and can be changed (using ReDim). However, the number of dimensions (which can be up to 8) must be specified at compile time and cannot be changed.

Variables of types 3. and 4. don't hold their data directly but instead contain a fixed length descriptor - 24 bytes for a string and between 64 and 232 bytes for an array depending on the number of dimensions. The descriptor contains, amongst other things, a pointer to where the actual data is stored.


Translation of: Ada

For task interpretation this follows the spirit of the Ada example included by the task author. In it, an enumeration type is defined from enumeration values, then a storage size--smaller than the default--is specified for the type. A similar situation exists within Go. Defining types from values is called duck-typing, and the situation where a type smaller than the default can be specified exists when a variable is duck-typed from a numeric literal.

package main
import (
func main() {
i := 5 // default type is int
r := '5' // default type is rune (which is int32)
f := 5. // default type is float64
c := 5i // default type is complex128
fmt.Println("i:", unsafe.Sizeof(i), "bytes")
fmt.Println("r:", unsafe.Sizeof(r), "bytes")
fmt.Println("f:", unsafe.Sizeof(f), "bytes")
fmt.Println("c:", unsafe.Sizeof(c), "bytes")
iMin := int8(5)
rMin := byte('5')
fMin := float32(5.)
cMin := complex64(5i)
fmt.Println("iMin:", unsafe.Sizeof(iMin), "bytes")
fmt.Println("rMin:", unsafe.Sizeof(rMin), "bytes")
fmt.Println("fMin:", unsafe.Sizeof(fMin), "bytes")
fmt.Println("cMin:", unsafe.Sizeof(cMin), "bytes")


i: 4 bytes
r: 4 bytes
f: 8 bytes
c: 16 bytes
iMin: 1 bytes
rMin: 1 bytes
fMin: 4 bytes
cMin: 8 bytes


import Data.Int
import Foreign.Storable
task name value = putStrLn $ name ++ ": " ++ show (sizeOf value) ++ " byte(s)"
main = do
let i8 = 0::Int8
let i16 = 0::Int16
let i32 = 0::Int32
let i64 = 0::Int64
let int = 0::Int
task "Int8" i8
task "Int16" i16
task "Int32" i32
task "Int64" i64
task "Int" int
Int8: 1 byte(s)
Int16: 2 byte(s)
Int32: 4 byte(s)
Int64: 8 byte(s)
Int: 8 byte(s)

Icon and Unicon[edit]

Icon and Unicon values are self-descriptive types subject to automatic garbage collection. As a result the opportunities for setting the sizes of the variables are limited.

  • strings are always variable in length with some fixed overhead
  • csets are a fixed size
  • tables and sets are variable in size and start empty
  • integers and reals are fixed sizes
  • records are a fized size
  • co-expressions vary in size based on the environment when they are created
  • file, window, and procedure references are all fixed in size
  • lists can be specified with a minimum size (see below):
   L := list(10) # 10 element list 


v=: ''

Here, v is specified to have a minimum size. In this case, the minimum size of the content is zero, though the size of the representation is somewhat larger.


In Kotlin (or any other language targetting the JVM) the size of variables is outside the programmer's control. The primitive types are either fixed in size or (in the case of Boolean) implementation dependent and the size of objects will depend not only on the aggregate size of their fields but also on any overhead or alignment padding needed.

If one wants a numeric type to be able to accomodate a certain size of number, then one can of course declare a variable of the appropriate type (up to 8 bytes) or use the BigInteger or BigDecimal types where more than 8 byte precision is required.

The following program shows the range of numbers which the primitive numeric types can accomodate to enable one to choose the appropriate type:

// version 1.0.6
fun main(args: Array<String>) {
/* ranges for variables of the primitive numeric types */
println("A Byte variable has a range of : ${Byte.MIN_VALUE} to ${Byte.MAX_VALUE}")
println("A Short variable has a range of : ${Short.MIN_VALUE} to ${Short.MAX_VALUE}")
println("An Int variable has a range of : ${Int.MIN_VALUE} to ${Int.MAX_VALUE}")
println("A Long variable has a range of : ${Long.MIN_VALUE} to ${Long.MAX_VALUE}")
println("A Float variable has a range of : ${Float.MIN_VALUE} to ${Float.MAX_VALUE}")
println("A Double variable has a range of : ${Double.MIN_VALUE} to ${Double.MAX_VALUE}")
A  Byte   variable has a range of :  -128 to 127
A  Short  variable has a range of :  -32768 to 32767
An Int    variable has a range of :  -2147483648 to 2147483647
A  Long   variable has a range of :  -9223372036854775808 to 9223372036854775807
A  Float  variable has a range of :  1.4E-45 to 3.4028235E38
A  Double variable has a range of :  4.9E-324 to 1.7976931348623157E308

Mathematica [edit]

Mathematica stores variables in symbols : e.g. variable 'A' containing integer 0 requires 24 bytes under Windows.


TYPE UByte = BITS 8 FOR [0..255];

Note that this only works for records, arrays, and objects. Also note that the size in bits must be large enough to hold the entire range (in this case, 8 bits is the correct amount for the range 0 to 255) or the compiler will error.


var a: int8 = 0
var b: int16 = 1
var c: int32 = 10
var d: int64 = 100


ooRexx variables are all references to object instances, so the variables themselves have no settable or gettable size.


default(precision, 1000)

Alternately, in the gp interpreter,

\p 1000


Ordinal and floating point types of FreePascal are listed here: [[1]] and here: [[2]]

a: byte; // 1 byte
b: word; // 2 byte
c: cardinal; // 4 byte
d: QWord; // 8 byte
x: real; // 4 byte
y: double; // 8 byte


I suppose you could use vec() or similar to twiddle a single bit. The thing is, as soon as you store this in a variable, the SV (the underlying C implementation of the most simple data type) already takes a couple dozen of bytes.

In Perl, memory is readily and happily traded for expressiveness and ease of use.

Perl 6[edit]

In Perl 6, normal user-facing types (Int, Rat, Str, Array, Hash) are all auto-sizing, so there is no need to specify a minimum size for them. (Floating point, known as "Num", defaults to a machine double.) For storage declarations, native storage types (starting with a lowercase letter) may also be specified, in which case the required bit size is part of the type name: int16, uint8 (aka "byte"), num32 (a "float"), complex64 (made of two num64's), etc. More generally, such types are created through an API supporting representational polymorphism, in this case, the NativeHOW representation, when provides methods to set the size of a type; the actual allocation calculation happens when such generic types are composed into a class instance representing the semantics of the effective type to the compiler and run-time system. But mostly this is not something users will concern themselves with directly.

By spec, arrays may be declared with dimensions of fixed size, but as of this writing, such arrays not yet implemented. An array of fixed size that returns elements of a native type will be stored compactly, and uses exactly the memory you'd think it should, (modulo alignment constraints between elements and any slop at the end due to your memory allocator).


declare i fixed binary (7), /* occupies 1 byte */
j fixed binary (15), /* occupies 2 bytes */
k fixed binary (31), /* occupies 4 bytes */
l fixed binary (63); /* occupies 8 bytes */
declare d fixed decimal (1), /* occupies 1 byte */
e fixed decimal (3), /* occupies 2 bytes */
/* an so on ... */
f fixed decimal (15); /* occupies 8 bytes */
declare b(16) bit (1) unaligned; /* occupies 2 bytes */
declare c(16) bit (1) aligned; /* occupies 16 bytes */
declare x float decimal (6), /* occupies 4 bytes */
y float decimal (16), /* occupies 8 bytes */
z float decimal (33); /* occupies 16 bytes */


In PicoLisp, all variables have the same size (a single cell). But it is possible to create a data structure of a given minimal size with the 'need' function.


Structure AllTypes
c.c ; character type : 1 byte on x86, 2 bytes on x64
i.i ; integer type : 4 bytes on x86, 8 bytes on x64
s.s ; pointer to string on heap : pointer size same as integer
z.s{2} ; fixed length string of 2 characters, stored inline
If OpenConsole()
Define at.AllTypes
PrintN("Size of types in bytes (x64)")
PrintN("byte = " + SizeOf(at\b))
PrintN("ascii = " + SizeOf(at\a))
PrintN("word = " + SizeOf(at\w))
PrintN("unicode = " + SizeOf(at\u))
PrintN("character = " + SizeOf(at\c))
PrintN("long = " + SizeOf(at\l))
PrintN("integer = " + SizeOf(at\i))
PrintN("quod = " + SizeOf(at\q))
PrintN("float = " + SizeOf(at\f))
PrintN("double = " + SizeOf(at\d))
PrintN("string = " + SizeOf(at\s))
PrintN("string{2} = " + SizeOf(at\z))
PrintN("AllTypes = " + SizeOf(at))
PrintN("Press any key to close the console")
Repeat: Delay(10) : Until Inkey() <> ""
Size of types in bytes (x64)

byte      = 1
ascii     = 1
word      = 2
unicode   = 2
character = 2
long      = 4
integer   = 8
quod      = 8
float     = 4
double    = 8
string    = 8
string{2} = 4
AllTypes  = 52


For compatibility with the calling conventions of external C functions, the ctypes module has functions that map data types and sizes between Python and C:

ctypes type C type Python type
c_char char 1-character string
c_wchar wchar_t 1-character unicode string
c_byte char int/long
c_ubyte unsigned char int/long
c_short short int/long
c_ushort unsigned short int/long
c_int int int/long
c_uint unsigned int int/long
c_long long int/long
c_ulong unsigned long int/long
c_longlong __int64 or long long int/long
c_ulonglong unsigned __int64 or unsigned long long int/long
c_float float float
c_double double float
c_longdouble long double float
c_char_p char * (NUL terminated) string or None
c_wchar_p wchar_t * (NUL terminated) unicode or None
c_void_p void * int/long or None


Like many other highlevel languages, Racket doesn't have direct control on object sizes. More than that, objects are almost always references, so holding a vector or a list still starts from some object with pointers to the rest. It is possible, however, to create random ffi structs with some given length, by using something like (_array _byte N) and it's possible to add that to some other ffi type by wrapping it with such an array in a struct. But to create and manage chunks of memory, it's much better to just use malloc (which is also available via the ffi).


In REXX, there are no minimums for variables holding character literals, so you just simply assign (set)
character strings (or numbers) to REXX variables.

Note that REXX stores all the values of variables as characters, and that includes numbers (all kinds),
booleans (logical), and labels (including subroutine/function names).

However, to insure that REXX can store numbers with a minimum size (amount of decimal digits),
the     NUMERIC DIGITS nnn     REXX instruction can be used.   This will ensure that the decimal
number can be stored without resorting to exponential notation   (although exponential notation
can be forced via the   format   BIF  (Built In Function).

The default for   numeric digits   is   9   (decimal) digits.

There's effectively no limit for the precision [or length] for REXX numbers (except for memory),
but eight million is probably the practical limit.

/*REXX program demonstrates on setting a variable (using a "minimum var size".*/
numeric digits 100 /*default: 9 (decimal digs) for numbers*/
/*── 1 2 3 4 5 6 7──*/
z = 12345678901111111112222222222333333333344444444445555555555.66
n =-12345678901111111112222222222333333333344444444445555555555.66
/* [↑] these #'s are stored as coded. */
/*stick a fork in it, we're all done. */


In Tcl, most values are (Unicode) strings. Their size is measured in characters, and the minimum size of a string is of course 0. However, one can arrange, via write traces, that the value of a variable is reformatted to bigger size. Examples, from an interactive tclsh session:

% proc format_trace {fmt _var el op} {upvar 1 $_var v; set v [format $fmt $v]}
% trace var foo w {format_trace %10s}
% puts "/[set foo bar]/"
/ bar/
% trace var grill w {format_trace %-10s}
% puts "/[set grill bar]/"
/bar /
..or limit its size to a certain length:
% proc range_trace {n _var el op} {upvar 1 $_var v; set v [string range $v 0 [incr n -1]]}
% trace var baz w {range_trace 2}
% set baz Frankfurt


There is no way to set the minimum size of natural, integer, or rational numbers, but no need because they all have unlimited precision.

For (mpfr format) arbitrary precision floating point numbers, there are several mechanisms for setting the minimum precision, although not the exact amount of real memory used.

  • If it's initialized from a literal constant, the compiler infers the intended precision from the number of digits in the constant (or 160 bits, whichever is greater).
  • The library function mpfr..grow(x,n) returns a copy of x with its precision increased by n bits (padded with zeros).
  • The library function mpfr..shrink(x,n) returns a copy of x with its precision reduced by n bits, or to MPFR_PREC_MIN, whichever is greater.
  • Library functions such as mpfr..pi and mpfr..const_catalan take a natural number specifying the precision as an argument and return a constant with at least that precision.
  • If two numbers of unequal precision are combined using any binary operation from the mpfr library, the result is computed and allocated using the greater precision of the two.

The last feature eliminates the need for explicitly setting the precision of numbers having exact representations, albeit contrary to the convention in physical sciences.

p = mpfr..pi 200               # 200 bits of precision
x = mpfr..grow(1.0E+0,1000) # 160 default precision, grown to 1160
y = mpfr..shrink(1.0+0,40) # 160 default shrunk to 120
z = mpfr..add(p,y) # inherits 200 bits of precision
a = # 180 bits (not the default 160) because of more digits in the constant


include c:\cxpl\codes;  \intrinsic 'code' declarations
string 0; \use zero-terminated strings
char S,
A(1), \sets up an array containing one byte
B(0); \sets up an array containing no bytes
int I;
[S:= ""; \a zero-length (null) string
A:= Reserve(1); \sets up a 1-byte array at runtime
B:= Reserve(0); \sets up a 0-byte array at runtime
I:= I ! 1<<3; \stores a single 1 bit into an integer
I:= I & ~(1<<29); \stores a 0 bit into bit 29 of the integer
IntOut(0, I>>3 & 1); \displays value of bit 3

Other than arrays and strings, variables are a fixed size. Integers are four bytes and reals are eight bytes.


It is up to the object to decide on size. For example, Ints and Floats are 8 bytes, Strings are immutable and are sized when created. Mutable lists and dictionaries grow and shrink as needed. Some mutable types (such as Lists and Dictionaries) can take [programmer supplied] hints as to how big they might become.

ZX Spectrum Basic[edit]

10 DIM a$(10): REM This array will be 10 characters long
20 DIM b(10): REM this will hold a set of numbers. The fixed number of bytes per number is implementation specific
30 LET c=5: REM this is a single numerical value of fixed size