In everyday life, numbers are easy to identify. They’re 3:00
P.M., as in the current time, or $1.29, as in the cost of a pint of
milk. Maybe they’re like π, the ratio of the circumference to the
diameter of a circle. They can be pretty large, like Avogadro’s number,
which is about 6 ×
10^{23}. In PHP, numbers can be all these
things.

However, PHP doesn’t treat all these numbers as “numbers.” Instead, it breaks them down into two groups: integers and floating-point numbers. Integers are whole numbers, such as −4, 0, 5, and 1,975. Floating-point numbers are decimal numbers, such as −1.23, 0.0, 3.14159, and 9.9999999999.

Conveniently, most of the time PHP doesn’t make you worry about
the differences between the two because it automatically converts
integers to floating-point numbers and floating-point numbers to
integers. This conveniently allows you to ignore the underlying details.
It also means `3/2`

is `1.5`

, not `1`

,
as it would be in some programming languages. PHP also automatically
converts from strings to numbers and back. For instance, `1+"1"`

is `2`

.

However, sometimes this blissful ignorance can cause trouble.
First, numbers can’t be infinitely large or small; there’s a minimum
size of 2.2e−308 and a maximum size
of about 1.8e308.^{[1]} If you need larger (or smaller) numbers, you must use the
BCMath or GMP libraries, which are discussed in Recipe 2.14.

Next, floating-point numbers aren’t guaranteed to be exactly correct but only correct plus or minus a small ...

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