An array stores a sequence of values that are all of the same type. The method that we use to refer to individual values in an array is to number and then index them—if we have n values, we think of them as being numbered from 0 to n−1.


We want not just to store values but also to be able to quickly access each individual value.


  • Making an array in a Java program
      double[] a;                     // declare the array
      a = new double[n];              // create the array
      for (int i = 0; i < n; i++)     // elements are indexed from 0 to n-1
      a[i] = 0.0;                     // initialize all elements to 0.0
  • Array initialization also can be done at compile time using curly braces
      String[] SUITS = {
          "Clubs", "Diamonds", "Hearts", "Spades"
  • Matrix operations. Typical applications in science and engineering involve implementing various mathematical operations with matrix operands. For example, we can add two n-by-n matrices as follows:
      double[][] c = new double[n][n];
      for (int i = 0; i < n; i++) {
          for (int j = 0; j < n; j++) {
              c[i][j] = a[i][j] + b[i][j];

Rules of Thumbs

  • the code a[i] refers to element i of array a[].
  • Zero-based indexing. We always refer to the first element of an array a[] as a[0], the second as a[1], and so forth.
  • Array length. Once we create an array, its length is fixed.
  • Memory representation. When you use new to create an array, Java reserves space in memory for it (and initializes the values). This process is called memory allocation.