In the case of scalars with a range starting at other than zero, it is possible in some cases to specify a size smaller than the default minimum value, and in such cases, GNAT uses an unsigned biased representation, in which zero is used to represent the lower bound, and successive values represent successive values of the type.
For example, suppose we have the declaration:
type Small is range -7 .. -4; for Small'Size use 2;
Although the default size of type
Small is 4, the
clause is accepted by GNAT and results in the following representation
-7 is represented as 2#00# -6 is represented as 2#01# -5 is represented as 2#10# -4 is represented as 2#11#
Biased representation is only used if the specified
cannot be accepted in any other manner. These reduced sizes that force
biased representation can be used for all discrete types except for
enumeration types for which a representation clause is given.