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What are the different number types and their conversions in R?

Onyejiaku Theophilus Chidalu

Overview

In the R programming language, there are three different types of numbers:

  1. The numeric type
  2. The integer type
  3. The complex type

Let’s take a closer look at each of the number types listed above:

Note: When we use the class() function in R, we can check the data type of a number or a variable.

The numeric type

The numeric data type contains any number, whether decimal, positive, or negative. Some examples of the numeric data type are: 1.2, 12, 1000, and -1.5.

a <- -1.5
b <- 1
c <- 1000
d <- 10.5

# to check for their data types
class(a)
class(b)
class(c)
class(d)
Checking the data types of numeric numbers

The integer type

The integer data type contains either positive or negative numbers without decimals. We add L after the integer value to create an integer type. Examples of the integer data type are -10L and 200L.

a <- -10L
b <- -200L
c <- 20L

# to check their data types
class(a)
class(b)
class(c)
Checking the data type of integer numbers

Note: The L after the integer tells R to store the value as an integer.

The complex type

The complex data type contains parts of a real and imaginary number. Examples of the complex data type are 1-2i and 3 + 15i. The part with the “i” is the imaginary part.

a <- 1-2i
b <- 3 + 15i

# to check their data types
class(a)
class(b)
Checking the data type of complex numbers

Conversion from one type to another

We can convert an integer type to a numeric type and vice-versa by adding as. to the name of the number type we want to convert to:

For example, look at the code below:

# this is a numeric type
a <- 10
# to convert the numeric data type to an integer type
x <- as.integer(a)

Explanation

To convert a to an integer variable, we create a new variable, x, and the new data type (integer) inside it, by using as.integer(a). The as.integer(a) is used to tell R to convert a to an integer.

a <- 10 # this is a numeric data type
b <- 2L # this is an integer type

# to convert from numeric to integer .
x <- as.integer(a) 

# to convert from integer to numeric
y <- as.numeric(b)

# let us see if we have actually converted them
x
y

# now lets check their new data type
class(x)
class(y)
Converting variables of one type into another

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Onyejiaku Theophilus Chidalu
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