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4.1 Introduction

Stars communicate by sending objects of type Particle. A basic set of types, including scalar and array types, built on the Particle class, is built into the Ptolemy kernel. Since all of these particle types are derived from the same base class, it is possible to write stars that operate on any of them (by referring only to the base class). It is also possible to define new types that contain arbitrary C++ objects.

There are currently eleven key data types defined in the Ptolemy kernel. There are four numeric scalar types-complex, fixed-point, double precision floating-point, and integer-described in Section 4.2. Ptolemy supports a limited form of user-defined type-the Message type, described in Section 4.3. Each of the scalar numeric types has an equivalent matrix type, which uses a more complex version of the user-defined type mechanism; they are described in Section 4.4.

There are two experimental types included in the basic set, containing strings and file references, described in Section 4.5. Ptolemy allows stars to be written that will read and write particles of any type; this mechanism is described in Section 4.6. Finally, some experimental types that are not officially supported by Ptolemy are described in Section 4.7.

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