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> Out of curiosity… as the 46 (and counting) messages in this thread haven't made it very clear, at least to me… why do we even care if a number is an integer, float, real, double, whatnot? Isn't the purpose of that int vs. float dichotomy to be purely an implementation detail? Wholly transparent? And a number stays a number? Irrespectively of internal representation? Or?

The difference between integers and floats should not bother most
programmers, but it is not transparent (e.g., you can distinguish them
using a clever piece of code). It is not totally unlike +0.0 versus
-0.0, which are equal all the time except when they are not.

(Actually, the only use I see for this functionality is when linearizing
data, so that we can save an integer as an integer and a float as a
float. I do not know of any other real use.)

The fact that most people should not bother with this difference was
the initial motivation to put the distinction in the debug library.

-- Roberto