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Learning Python, 4th Edition by Mark Lutz

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Chapter 5. Numeric Types

This chapter begins our in-depth tour of the Python language. In Python, data takes the form of objects—either built-in objects that Python provides, or objects we create using Python tools and other languages such as C. In fact, objects are the basis of every Python program you will ever write. Because they are the most fundamental notion in Python programming, objects are also our first focus in this book.

In the preceding chapter, we took a quick pass over Python’s core object types. Although essential terms were introduced in that chapter, we avoided covering too many specifics in the interest of space. Here, we’ll begin a more careful second look at data type concepts, to fill in details we glossed over earlier. Let’s get started by exploring our first data type category: Python’s numeric types.

Numeric Type Basics

Most of Python’s number types are fairly typical and will probably seem familiar if you’ve used almost any other programming language in the past. They can be used to keep track of your bank balance, the distance to Mars, the number of visitors to your website, and just about any other numeric quantity.

In Python, numbers are not really a single object type, but a category of similar types. Python supports the usual numeric types (integers and floating points), as well as literals for creating numbers and expressions for processing them. In addition, Python provides more advanced numeric programming support and objects for more advanced work. ...

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