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A number is a mathematical object used in counting and measuring. A notational symbol which represents a number is called a numeral, but in common usage the word number is used for both the abstract object and the symbol, as well as for the word for the number. In addition to their use in counting and measuring, numerals are often used for labels (telephone numbers), for ordering (serial numbers), and for codes (e.g., ISBNs). In mathematics, the definition of number has been extended over the years to include such numbers as zero, negative numbers, rational numbers, irrational numbers, and complex numbers.

Certain procedures which take one or more numbers as input and produce a number as output are called numerical operations. Unary operations take a single input number and produce a single output number. For example, the successor operation adds one to an integer, thus the successor of 4 is 5. More common are binary operations which take two input numbers and produce a single output number. Examples of binary operations include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponentiation. The study of numerical operations is called arithmetic.


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