# Intrinsic functions

An `intrinsic function` is a function
that performs a mathematical, character, or logical operation. You
can use intrinsic functions to make reference to a data item whose
value is derived automatically during execution.

Data processing problems often require the use of values
that are not directly accessible in the data storage associated with
the object program, but instead must be derived through performing
operations on other data. An `intrinsic function` is
a function that performs a mathematical, character, or logical operation,
and thereby allows you to make reference to a data item whose value
is derived automatically during execution.

The intrinsic functions can be grouped into six categories, based on the type of service performed:

- Mathematical
- Statistical
- Date/time
- Financial
- Character-handling
- General

You can reference a function by specifying its name, along with any required arguments, in a PROCEDURE DIVISION statement.

Functions are elementary data items, and return alphanumeric character, national character, numeric, or integer values. Functions cannot serve as receiving operands.