Sum of ArrayList for different types

Is it possible to write a single method total to do a sum of all elements of an ArrayList, where it is of type <Integer> or <Long>?

I cannot just write

public long total(ArrayList<Integer> list)


public long total(ArrayList<Long> list)

together as there will be an error of erasure, and Integer does not automatically extends to Long and vice versa... but the code inside is identical!


Yes, you can implement such a method, since both Integer and Long extend Number. For example you can use a wildcard type for the list element type:

public static long total(List<? extends Number> list) {
long sum = 0;
for (Number n : list) {
sum += n.longValue();
return sum;

This only works for the integral types however, since the sum variable and the return value are of type long.

Ideally you would like to be able to also use the method with Floats and Doubles and return an object of the same type as the list element type, but this is not easy to do for two reasons:

  1. The only thing you can do with a Number is to get its value as one of the primitive number types. You can not sum two of them in a number dependent way.
  2. It is not possible to create a 0-object of the right class.

You can use Java´s generics for this

public <T extends Number> T total(List<T> list) {
T sum = 0;
for (T n : list) {
sum += n.longValue();
return sum;

Knowing that T will always be a Number, things are simplified. However, this solution could work also for Strings, if necessary. The only change would be in the extends part.

You can also use streams in Java 8

public static <T extends Number> long sumList(List<T> list)
return -> a.longValue()).sum();

Category:java Time:2018-11-30 Views:1
Tags: java arraylist

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