An integer is a number without a fractional part, a number you could use to count things (although integers may also be negative). Mathematicians may distinguish between natural numbers and cardinal numbers, and linguists may distinguish between cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers, but these distinctions do not concern us here.

A real number is, for our purposes, simply a number with a fractional part. Since computers do not typically implement real numbers exactly, it is not necessary or even meaningful to distinguish between rational, irrational, and transcendental numbers.

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This page by Steve Summit // Copyright 1995, 1996 // mail feedback