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# Getting rid of a minus sign

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I always thought unsigned int would get rid of the minus sign but it doesn't. e.g. unsigned int a = 12-13; cout << a; It outputs 42912121 or some weird value like that. So is there any other way to keep getting rid of the minus sign? The only thing I can think of is to square the negative value and then square root it. But that seems too inefficient. Brings me to another question... if you #include <cmath... we have sqrt(number) which gets the square root of something but how do you square a variable without doing expression*expression. Does it recalculate the value in each expression or does it do it just once?

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This is the kind of question that's going to get a billion responses: Let the race begin!

if(number < 0)
{
number = -number;
}
// Or
number = abs(number);
// Or
if(number < 0)
{
number *= -1;
}

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The difference between signed and unsigned is in how the first bit (most significant) of the number is interpreted. Negative numbers are stored in twos-complement form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two's_complement).

Without going into detail, in two's complement form, -1 is stored as 0xFFFFFFFF. That is the value that will get stored into 'a'. When you then print 'a' out, it interprets it as an unsigned, which takes 0xFFFFFFFF => 2^32-1 = 4294967295.

To actually 'get rid of the minus sign' you are going to have to use the abs() function.

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For the reason you get that funky number, read up on Two's Complement.

To get the magnitude, or absolute, part of a number, you'll typically use a function called 'abs'; ie, abs(-39) will return 39.

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Quote:
 Original post by spaceJockey123Brings me to another question... if you #include

Yes, it does calculate the value of expression twice. Any decent optimizer should be able to recognize if the two expressions are the same, but any side effects will be evaluated twice. If I'm going to be squaring things a lot I find it useful to define:

template<class T> square(const T& a){  return a*a;}

Edit: although in fact to take advantage of NRVO it should be:

template<class T> square(const T& a){  T b(a);  b *= a;  return b;}

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thanks!

I won't need to do that template thing now ZQG but it'll probably come in handy in the future.

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