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magic number

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English

Noun

magic number

  1. (physics) the number of neutrons or protons in nuclei which are required to fill the major quantum shells, and thus produce exceptionally stable nuclei - 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82 & 126
  2. (computing)
    1. a number which is manually entered in a sourcecode repeatedly, rather than defined somewhere as a named constant. Especially one which is arbitrary or lacks explanation.
    2. a number which cannot occur in normal use, used as a placeholder (e.g. a fictitious date such as 2000-02-32) or for other purposes (e.g. where the string slicing function RIGHT or RIGHT$ is not implemented, the same effect can be achieved by using (e.g.) MID(A,3,10538) or MID(A,3,6031769) to achieve the effect of RIGHT(A,3), because no feasible string is anywhere near that long).
    3. a hash code, such as those used by some webmail servers to keep track of sessions.

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