In programming languages, a type system is a set of rules that assigns a property called type to the various constructs of a computer program, such as variables, expressions, functions or modules. These types formalize and enforce the otherwise implicit categories the programmer uses for data structures and components (e.g. “string”, “array of float”, “function returning boolean”). The main purpose of a type system is to reduce possibilities for bugs in computer programs by defining interfaces between different parts of a computer program, and then checking that the parts have been connected in a consistent way. This checking can happen statically (at compile time), dynamically (at run time), or as a combination of static and dynamic checking. Type systems have other purposes as well, such as expressing business rules, enabling certain compiler optimizations, allowing for multiple dispatch, providing a form of documentation, etc.
A type system associates a type with each computed value and, by examining the flow of these values, attempts to ensure or prove that no type errors can occur. The given type system in question determines exactly what constitutes a type error, but in general the aim is to prevent operations expecting a certain kind of value from being used with values for which that operation does not make sense (logic errors); memory errors will also be prevented. Type systems are often specified as part of programming languages, and built into the interpreters and compilers for them; although the type system of a language can be extended by optional tools that perform added kinds of checks using the language’s original type syntax and grammar.
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