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in Java by (5.3k points)

Why doesn't Java include support for unsigned integers?

It seems to me to be an odd omission, given that they allow one to write code that is less likely to produce overflows on unexpectedly large input.

Furthermore, using unsigned integers can be a form of self-documentation, since they indicate that the value which the unsigned int was intended to hold is never supposed to be negative.

Lastly, in some cases, unsigned integers can be more efficient for certain operations, such as division.

What's the downside to including these?

1 Answer

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by (119k points)

I think the logic behind this was something like this:

  • The Java developers wanted to simplify the repertoire of data types available
  • For everyday purposes, they might feel that the most commonly used were for signed data types
  • For implementing a few algorithms, we may need unsigned data types, but the kind of programmers that would be implementing such algorithms would also have the knowledge to figure out doing unsigned arithmetic with signed data types.

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