The fundamental natural boundaries of a modern computer's memory are usually based on an eight-bit character, known as a byte. Within this fundamental framework, machines fall into two broad categories; those with no other natural boundaries, called here byte-storage computers, and those with other natural boundaries based upon multiples of the fundamental boundary of the byte, called here word-storage computers.
In byte-storage mode, COBOL assigns numeric storage so that each numeric item occupies the minimum number of bytes (see the section Selection Of Character Representation And Radix); the SYNCHRONIZED clause has no meaning in the context and hence has no effect.
Within word-storage computers, natural boundaries can occur at 2-byte, 4-byte and/or 8-byte boundaries. The COBOL language can provide such data item storage-assignment and synchronization when the COMPUTATIONAL clause and possibly the SYNCHRONIZED clause are used. This word-storage assignment of COMPUTATIONAL format data is controlled by the Compiler directive IBMCOMP.
|Number of Digits (9s) in PICTURE Representation||Number of Characters (Bytes) of Storage Assigned|
|Signed||Unsigned||Byte-Storage Mode||Word-Storage Mode|