The purpose of this chapter is to introduce and describe a number of types which are indispensable to programming. Without these types, real programming is impossible. These types are referred to as ‘basic’ for this reason. Some of the types have atomic values; such values cannot be broken down. For example, a boolean value cannot be broken down into anything simpler; similarly, an integer cannot be decomposed into simpler entities (it could be represented as a bit string, but this is a change of representation and can be viewed as a change of type). Vectors, strings and lists, on the other hand, contain component values of other types; sometimes the components are of the same type (e.g. a list of lists), sometimes not (e.g. a vector of integers).
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