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There are several different types of numbers available in REDUCE. Integers consist of a signed or unsigned sequence of decimal digits written without a decimal point, for example:

-2, 5396, +32

In principle, there is no practical limit on the number of digits permitted as exact
arithmetic is used in most implementations. (You should however check the specific
instructions for your particular system implementation to make sure that this is true.) For
example, if you ask for the value of 2^{2000} you get it displayed as a number of 603
decimal digits, taking up several lines of output on an interactive display. It should be
borne in mind of course that computations with such long numbers can be quite
slow.

Numbers that aren’t integers are usually represented as the quotient of two integers, in lowest terms: that is, as rational numbers.

In essentially all versions of REDUCE it is also possible (but not always desirable!) to ask REDUCE to work with floating point approximations to numbers again, to any precision. Such numbers are called real. They can be input in two ways:

- as a signed or unsigned sequence of any number of decimal digits with an embedded or trailing decimal point.
- as in 1. followed by a decimal exponent which is written as the letter E followed by a signed or unsigned integer.

e.g. 32. +32.0 0.32E2 and 320.E-1 are all representations of 32.

The declaration SCIENTIFIC_NOTATION controls the output format of floating point numbers. At the default settings, any number with five or less digits before the decimal point is printed in a fixed-point notation, e.g., 12345.6. Numbers with more than five digits are printed in scientific notation, e.g., 1.234567E+5. Similarly, by default, any number with eleven or more zeros after the decimal point is printed in scientific notation. To change these defaults, SCIENTIFIC_NOTATION can be used in one of two ways.

SCIENTIFIC_NOTATION m;

where m is a positive integer, sets the printing format so that a number with more than m digits before the decimal point, or m or more zeros after the decimal point, is printed in scientific notation.

SCIENTIFIC_NOTATION{m,n},

with m and n both positive integers, sets the format so that a number with more than m digits before the decimal point, or n or more zeros after the decimal point is printed in scientific notation.

CAUTION: The unsigned part of any number may not begin with a decimal point, as this causes confusion with the CONS (.) operator, i.e., NOT ALLOWED ARE: .5 -.23 +.12; use 0.5 -0.23 +0.12 instead.

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