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This paper describes a combined arithmetic unit and language support system which allows user specifications of the arithmetic. Limited extensions to a high-level language, in connection with a generalized underlying arithmetic unit, allow a single skeletal unified numeric operand type to be refined into a variety of data types. The interpretation of operands by the operators is based on type descriptors, allowing one set of polymorphic arithmetic operators to be defined across all combinations of user-defined operand types. The arithmetic unit is realized in microcode to achieve efficiency.