What are Integers and Big Integers?

Integers and Big Integers are two commonly used data types in programming languages. Integer (int) represents whole numbers, either positive or negative, while Big Integer (bigint) is an expanded version of integer data type which can represent much larger numbers than an integer.

Integers are usually represented by a 32-bit or 64-bit data type, depending on the architecture of the computer. This means that the maximum value an integer can hold is limited by the number of bits used to represent it. For example, a 32-bit integer can store a maximum value of 2^31 – 1, while a 64-bit integer can store a maximum value of 2^63 – 1.

On the other hand, Big Integers can hold much larger numbers than integers. They are typically implemented as an array of integers or as a class that emulates an array of integers. Big Integer is used when integers are not sufficient to hold the number needed, typically when working with encryption algorithms, cryptography, and other advanced mathematical operations.

Int and Big Int Examples in Code Blocks

Integer in C++

using namespace std;

int main()
int num = 2147483647;
cout << "Integer value: " << num << endl;
return 0;

Big Integer in Python

a = 2**300 # A very large number
b = 2**400 # Another very large number
c = a * b # Even larger number

FAQs about Integers and Big Integers

1. What are some use cases for Int data type?

Int data type is suitable for most arithmetic operations, and checks for overflows and underflows quickly without requiring much memory space. We can use int data type for counting items in data structures, performing arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and modulo, among others.

2. What are some use cases for Big Int data type?

Big Int data type is useful when we need to work with large numbers that the int data type cannot handle. It is commonly used in cryptography, networking, and financial services where very large numbers need to be processed efficiently and accurately. For example, generating large prime numbers for RSA encryption requires the use of big integers.

3. Can we convert Big Integers to Integers?

It is not possible to convert Big Integers to Integers because they are fundamentally different data types. Converting a Big Integer to an Integer would cause the loss of precision, and the resulting value would be incorrect. However, we can convert an Integer to a Big Integer by simply assigning it to a Big Integer variable, which will automatically expand the value to the required number of bits.

4. Is Big Integer slower than Integer?

Yes, Big Integer is slower than Integer because it requires more memory and computation. However, the difference in speed depends on the implementation of the Big Integer data type. Some implementations of Big Integer are optimized for speed, while others prioritize accuracy and security over speed.

5. Can we use Int and Big Integer data types together?

Yes, we can use Int and Big Integer data types together in the same program. However, we need to be careful when using arithmetic operations or comparisons between the two data types because they have different size limits. Operations on Integers may cause overflow or underflow when the result exceeds the maximum or minimum value, respectively, of the data type. We can avoid these issues by converting the Integers to Big Integers before performing the operation.

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