C++ STL: The std::numeric_limits Class

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The class std::numeric_limits<T> is part of the STL (Standard Template Library). It provides us with the principal characteristics of the basic numerical types (int, long, double etc.). It offers a standard, compiler-independent interface for obtaining the implementation details associated with numerical types. Using this library increases the code's portability and can make it more expressive. Methods like min(), max(), infinity() and epsilon allow the programmer to know and express unambiguously the limits of a numerical representation.

The following example shows min() and max() at work:

File : std_numeric_limits_example.cpp
#include <limits>
#include <vector>
using namespace std;
// Shrink a vector by converting its elements to a shorter type.
// NOTE: valid for integral types only
template <class TLong, class TShort>
bool reduceSize(const vector<TLong>& input, vector<TShort>& output)
    for (size_t i = 0; i < input.size(); ++i)
        if (input[i] >= (TLong)numeric_limits<TShort>::min() &&
            input[i] <= (TLong)numeric_limits<TShort>::max())
            // The element does not fit in the target type.
            return false;
    // All the elements were converted succesfully.
    return true;

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