Magic Number

What Does Magic Number Mean?

The term “magic number” in IT has several meanings. Perhaps most prominently, magic numbers are constants or static numbers that are insufficiently declared in a program, or hidden within source code. Some definitions of “magic number” are linked to the use of the UNIX operating system and its use of memory addresses.


Techopedia Explains Magic Number

Experts often describe magic numbers as strongly typed data objects. One description of a magic number is a constant that is not defined using a commented piece of source code, but that is just stuck in the program implicitly. In some cases, magic numbers lead to numeric overflows and runtime errors. They may have a negative effect on algorithm functionality. While there are a variety of slang uses for the term “magic number,” the general idea is that these numbers have some particular significance, either in the limitations of an operating system, their impacts on a software program, or some other meaning.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…