When is a number not a number? When it’s a string, of course. Throughout the history of databases, developers and DBAs have had to grapple with numeric data that is presented as a string, and with the need to convert digits in text to a number data type. Beyond data type issues, numbers also present interesting problems of precision and size. Contemporary computers are fantastic at dealing with numbers on both a vast or miniscule scale, but at some point you’ll likely need to deal with data infinitely larger or smaller than you expected. Perhaps one of the most subtle issues when working with numbers is the tension between humans counting in base 10, and computers using binary.
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