Literal Values for Basic Types

Most of Chapel’s basic types support a corresponding literal format for specifying their values at the default bit-width. Values of other bit-widths are obtained via type conversions (casts or coercions).

Boolean Values

The bool type supports true and false as its two literal values:

var myBool: bool;
myBool = true;
myBool = false;

Integral Values

Literal values for int types are typically written as a sequence of decimal digits:

var myInt: int;
myInt = 123;

However, they can also be expressed as binary, octal, or hexadecimal values via the 0b/0B, 0o/0O, and 0x/0X prefixes, respectively:

myInt = 0b1001;
myInt = 0o177;
myInt = 0x1ff;

where these values correspond to decimal values:


It’s worth noting that in Chapel, there are no negative integer literal values, simply applications of the unary negation operator (-) to positive integer literals.

The uint type does not have its own literal format. However, integer literals that do not fit in an int(64) yet do fit within a uint(64) are considered to be unsigned integer values. Thus, in the following declarations, the first variable is inferred to be of type int while the second is inferred to be of type uint:

var myMedInt = 2000000000;
var myLargeInt = 10000000000000000000;

To represent a smaller integral value as a uint, type conversions (casts or coercions) must be used.

Floating Point Values

The real type supports literal values via either decimal or exponential formats:

var myReal: real;
myReal = 1.23;
myReal = 1.2e3;

where these literals correspond to the values:


In the decimal form, a . must be used to distinguish the value from an integral literal. Note that 10. is not a valid floating point literal value in Chapel due to a syntactic ambiguity with making a method call on an integral value. For this reason, 10.0 must be used instead.

Note that in the exponential form, the base decimal value can be an integer value and/or capital E may be used to set off the exponent. Thus, the values in the following four assignments are all equivalent:

myReal = 123.0e2;
myReal = 123e2;
myReal = 123.0E2;
myReal = 123E2;

Floating point values may also be specified using a hexadecimal format using the 0x prefix. In such cases, p is used to indicate the exponent (avoiding ambiguity with the hexadecimal digit e) and indicates a power of 2 rather than 10:

myReal = 0x1p-1;
myReal = 0x1.8;

Thus, these expressions correspond to the floating point values:


Literal values for the imag type are identical to those for int and real, yet with an i suffix. Thus, the following assignments demonstrate imaginary literals:

var myImag: imag;
myImag = 1.23i;
myImag = 1.2e3i;
myImag = 123i;
myImag = 0x0.4p-1i;

Note that whether using the int or real form, imaginary values are stored using a floating point representation. Thus, these expressions correspond to the values:


Note that the standalone expression i does not refer to the mathematical value i, but rather to a Chapel symbol (e.g., variable, procedure, etc.) named i. To get the mathematical value, use an expression like 1i or 1.0i.

The complex type does not support a native format for literal values. Instead, complex values are typically expressed by adding or subtracting real and imag values. For example:

var myComplex: complex;
myComplex = 1.2 + 3.4i;

String Literals

Literal string values can be expressed using either single or double quotes. For example, the following represent legal string values:

var myString: string;
myString = "hello";
myString = 'hi';

One impact of this is that the other type of quotes can be used within a string literal without additional effort:

myString = "he said, 'hi there!'";

Subsequent sections will cover strings in more detail.