The Zahlen symbol, often used to denote the set of all integers (see List of mathematical symbols) 
Algebraic structure → Group theory Group theory  

 
Infinite dimensional Lie group
 
An integer (from the Latin integer meaning "whole")^{ [loweralpha 1] } is colloquially defined as a number that can be written without a fractional component. For example, 21, 4, 0, and −2048 are integers, while 9.75, 5+1/2, and √2 are not.
The set of integers consists of zero (0), the positive natural numbers (1, 2, 3, ...), also called whole numbers or counting numbers,^{ [2] }^{ [3] } and their additive inverses (the negative integers, i.e., −1, −2, −3, ...). The set of integers is often denoted by the boldface (Z) or blackboard bold letter "Z"—standing originally for the German word Zahlen ("numbers").^{ [4] }^{ [5] }^{ [6] }^{ [7] }
ℤ is a subset of the set of all rational numbers ℚ, which in turn is a subset of the real numbers ℝ. Like the natural numbers, ℤ is countably infinite.
The integers form the smallest group and the smallest ring containing the natural numbers. In algebraic number theory, the integers are sometimes qualified as rational integers to distinguish them from the more general algebraic integers. In fact, (rational) integers are algebraic integers that are also rational numbers.
The symbol ℤ can be annotated to denote various sets, with varying usage amongst different authors: ℤ^{+},^{ [4] }ℤ_{+} or ℤ^{>} for the positive integers, ℤ^{0+} or ℤ^{≥} for nonnegative integers, and ℤ^{≠} for nonzero integers. Some authors use ℤ^{*} for nonzero integers, while others use it for nonnegative integers, or for {–1, 1}. Additionally, ℤ_{p} is used to denote either the set of integers modulo p ^{ [4] } (i.e., the set of congruence classes of integers), or the set of padic integers.^{ [8] }^{ [9] }^{ [10] }
Algebraic structure → Ring theory Ring theory 

Basic concepts Rings
Related structures

Commutative rings
padic number theory and decimals

Like the natural numbers, ℤ is closed under the operations of addition and multiplication, that is, the sum and product of any two integers is an integer. However, with the inclusion of the negative natural numbers (and importantly, 0), ℤ, unlike the natural numbers, is also closed under subtraction.^{ [11] }
The integers form a unital ring which is the most basic one, in the following sense: for any unital ring, there is a unique ring homomorphism from the integers into this ring. This universal property, namely to be an initial object in the category of rings, characterizes the ring ℤ.
ℤ is not closed under division, since the quotient of two integers (e.g., 1 divided by 2) need not be an integer. Although the natural numbers are closed under exponentiation, the integers are not (since the result can be a fraction when the exponent is negative).
The following table lists some of the basic properties of addition and multiplication for any integers a, b and c:
Addition  Multiplication  

Closure:  a + b is an integer  a × b is an integer 
Associativity:  a + (b + c) = (a + b) + c  a × (b × c) = (a × b) × c 
Commutativity:  a + b = b + a  a × b = b × a 
Existence of an identity element:  a + 0 = a  a × 1 = a 
Existence of inverse elements:  a + (−a) = 0  The only invertible integers (called units) are −1 and 1. 
Distributivity:  a × (b + c) = (a × b) + (a × c) and (a + b) × c = (a × c) + (b × c)  
No zero divisors:  If a × b = 0, then a = 0 or b = 0 (or both) 
In the language of abstract algebra, the first five properties listed above for addition say that ℤ, under addition, is an abelian group. It is also a cyclic group, since every nonzero integer can be written as a finite sum 1 + 1 + … + 1 or (−1) + (−1) + … + (−1). In fact, ℤ under addition is the only infinite cyclic group—in the sense that any infinite cyclic group is isomorphic to ℤ.
The first four properties listed above for multiplication say that ℤ under multiplication is a commutative monoid. However, not every integer has a multiplicative inverse (as is the case of the number 2), which means that ℤ under multiplication is not a group.
All the rules from the above property table (except for the last), when taken together, say that ℤ together with addition and multiplication is a commutative ring with unity. It is the prototype of all objects of such algebraic structure. Only those equalities of expressions are true in ℤ for all values of variables, which are true in any unital commutative ring. Certain nonzero integers map to zero in certain rings.
The lack of zero divisors in the integers (last property in the table) means that the commutative ring ℤ is an integral domain.
The lack of multiplicative inverses, which is equivalent to the fact that ℤ is not closed under division, means that ℤ is not a field. The smallest field containing the integers as a subring is the field of rational numbers. The process of constructing the rationals from the integers can be mimicked to form the field of fractions of any integral domain. And back, starting from an algebraic number field (an extension of rational numbers), its ring of integers can be extracted, which includes ℤ as its subring.
Although ordinary division is not defined on ℤ, the division "with remainder" is defined on them. It is called Euclidean division, and possesses the following important property: given two integers a and b with b ≠ 0, there exist unique integers q and r such that a = q × b + r and 0 ≤ r <  b , where  b  denotes the absolute value of b.^{ [12] } The integer q is called the quotient and r is called the remainder of the division of a by b. The Euclidean algorithm for computing greatest common divisors works by a sequence of Euclidean divisions.
Again, in the language of abstract algebra, the above says that ℤ is a Euclidean domain. This implies that ℤ is a principal ideal domain, and any positive integer can be written as the products of primes in an essentially unique way.^{ [13] } This is the fundamental theorem of arithmetic.
ℤ is a totally ordered set without upper or lower bound. The ordering of ℤ is given by: :... −3 < −2 < −1 < 0 < 1 < 2 < 3 < ... An integer is positive if it is greater than zero, and negative if it is less than zero. Zero is defined as neither negative nor positive.
The ordering of integers is compatible with the algebraic operations in the following way:
Thus it follows that ℤ together with the above ordering is an ordered ring.
The integers are the only nontrivial totally ordered abelian group whose positive elements are wellordered.^{ [14] } This is equivalent to the statement that any Noetherian valuation ring is either a field—or a discrete valuation ring.
In elementary school teaching, integers are often intuitively defined as the (positive) natural numbers, zero, and the negations of the natural numbers. However, this style of definition leads to many different cases (each arithmetic operation needs to be defined on each combination of types of integer) and makes it tedious to prove that integers obey the various laws of arithmetic.^{ [15] } Therefore, in modern settheoretic mathematics, a more abstract construction^{ [16] } allowing one to define arithmetical operations without any case distinction is often used instead.^{ [17] } The integers can thus be formally constructed as the equivalence classes of ordered pairs of natural numbers (a,b).^{ [18] }
The intuition is that (a,b) stands for the result of subtracting b from a.^{ [18] } To confirm our expectation that 1 − 2 and 4 − 5 denote the same number, we define an equivalence relation ~ on these pairs with the following rule:
precisely when
Addition and multiplication of integers can be defined in terms of the equivalent operations on the natural numbers;^{ [18] } by using [(a,b)] to denote the equivalence class having (a,b) as a member, one has:
The negation (or additive inverse) of an integer is obtained by reversing the order of the pair:
Hence subtraction can be defined as the addition of the additive inverse:
The standard ordering on the integers is given by:
It is easily verified that these definitions are independent of the choice of representatives of the equivalence classes.
Every equivalence class has a unique member that is of the form (n,0) or (0,n) (or both at once). The natural number n is identified with the class [(n,0)] (i.e., the natural numbers are embedded into the integers by map sending n to [(n,0)]), and the class [(0,n)] is denoted −n (this covers all remaining classes, and gives the class [(0,0)] a second time since −0 = 0.
Thus, [(a,b)] is denoted by
If the natural numbers are identified with the corresponding integers (using the embedding mentioned above), this convention creates no ambiguity.
This notation recovers the familiar representation of the integers as {…, −2, −1, 0, 1, 2, …}.
Some examples are:
In theoretical computer science, other approaches for the construction of integers are used by automated theorem provers and term rewrite engines. Integers are represented as algebraic terms built using a few basic operations (e.g., zero, succ, pred) and, possibly, using natural numbers, which are assumed to be already constructed (using, say, the Peano approach).
There exist at least ten such constructions of signed integers.^{ [19] } These constructions differ in several ways: the number of basic operations used for the construction, the number (usually, between 0 and 2) and the types of arguments accepted by these operations; the presence or absence of natural numbers as arguments of some of these operations, and the fact that these operations are free constructors or not, i.e., that the same integer can be represented using only one or many algebraic terms.
The technique for the construction of integers presented above in this section corresponds to the particular case where there is a single basic operation pair that takes as arguments two natural numbers and , and returns an integer (equal to ). This operation is not free since the integer 0 can be written pair(0,0), or pair(1,1), or pair(2,2), etc. This technique of construction is used by the proof assistant Isabelle; however, many other tools use alternative construction techniques, notable those based upon free constructors, which are simpler and can be implemented more efficiently in computers.
An integer is often a primitive data type in computer languages. However, integer data types can only represent a subset of all integers, since practical computers are of finite capacity. Also, in the common two's complement representation, the inherent definition of sign distinguishes between "negative" and "nonnegative" rather than "negative, positive, and 0". (It is, however, certainly possible for a computer to determine whether an integer value is truly positive.) Fixed length integer approximation data types (or subsets) are denoted int or Integer in several programming languages (such as Algol68, C, Java, Delphi, etc.).
Variablelength representations of integers, such as bignums, can store any integer that fits in the computer's memory. Other integer data types are implemented with a fixed size, usually a number of bits which is a power of 2 (4, 8, 16, etc.) or a memorable number of decimal digits (e.g., 9 or 10).
The cardinality of the set of integers is equal to ℵ_{0} (alephnull). This is readily demonstrated by the construction of a bijection, that is, a function that is injective and surjective from ℤ to ℕ. If ℕ₀ ≡ {0, 1, 2, ...} then consider the function:
{… (−4,8) (−3,6) (−2,4) (−1,2) (0,0) (1,1) (2,3) (3,5) ...}
If ℕ ≡ {1, 2, 3, ...} then consider the function:
{... (−4,8) (−3,6) (−2,4) (−1,2) (0,1) (1,3) (2,5) (3,7) ...}
If the domain is restricted to ℤ then each and every member of ℤ has one and only one corresponding member of ℕ and by the definition of cardinal equality the two sets have equal cardinality.
In mathematics, a field is a set on which addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are defined and behave as the corresponding operations on rational and real numbers do. A field is thus a fundamental algebraic structure which is widely used in algebra, number theory, and many other areas of mathematics.
In mathematics, modular arithmetic is a system of arithmetic for integers, where numbers "wrap around" when reaching a certain value, called the modulus. The modern approach to modular arithmetic was developed by Carl Friedrich Gauss in his book Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, published in 1801.
Multiplication is one of the four elementary mathematical operations of arithmetic, with the other ones being addition, subtraction and division. The result of a multiplication operation is called a product.
In mathematics, the natural numbers are those used for counting and ordering. In common mathematical terminology, words colloquially used for counting are "cardinal numbers", and words used for ordering are "ordinal numbers". The natural numbers can, at times, appear as a convenient set of codes, that is, as what linguists call nominal numbers, forgoing many or all of the properties of being a number in a mathematical sense. The set of natural numbers is often denoted by the symbol .
A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers can be represented by symbols, called numerals; for example, "5" is a numeral that represents the number five. As only a relatively small number of symbols can be memorized, basic numerals are commonly organized in a numeral system, which is an organized way to represent any number. The most common numeral system is the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, which allows for the representation of any number using a combination of ten fundamental numeric symbols, called digits. In addition to their use in counting and measuring, numerals are often used for labels, for ordering, and for codes. In common usage, a numeral is not clearly distinguished from the number that it represents.
In mathematics, a square root of a number x is a number y such that y^{2} = x; in other words, a number y whose square (the result of multiplying the number by itself, or y ⋅ y) is x. For example, 4 and −4 are square roots of 16, because 4^{2} = (−4)^{2} = 16. Every nonnegative real number x has a unique nonnegative square root, called the principal square root, which is denoted by where the symbol is called the radical sign or radix. For example, the principal square root of 9 is 3, which is denoted by because 3^{2} = 3 ⋅ 3 = 9 and 3 is nonnegative. The term (or number) whose square root is being considered is known as the radicand. The radicand is the number or expression underneath the radical sign, in this case 9.
In mathematics, rings are algebraic structures that generalize fields: multiplication need not be commutative and multiplicative inverses need not exist. In other words, a ring is a set equipped with two binary operations satisfying properties analogous to those of addition and multiplication of integers. Ring elements may be numbers such as integers or complex numbers, but they may also be nonnumerical objects such as polynomials, square matrices, functions, and power series.
In mathematics, the padic number system for any prime number p extends the ordinary arithmetic of the rational numbers in a different way from the extension of the rational number system to the real and complex number systems. The extension is achieved by an alternative interpretation of the concept of "closeness" or absolute value. In particular, two padic numbers are considered to be close when their difference is divisible by a high power of p: the higher the power, the closer they are. This property enables padic numbers to encode congruence information in a way that turns out to have powerful applications in number theory – including, for example, in the famous proof of Fermat's Last Theorem by Andrew Wiles.
Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. The other operations are addition, subtraction, and multiplication. The division sign ÷, a symbol consisting of a short horizontal line with a dot above and another dot below, is often used to indicate mathematical division. This usage, though widespread in anglophone countries, is neither universal nor recommended: the ISO 800002 standard for mathematical notation recommends only the solidus / or fraction bar for division, or the colon for ratios; it says that this symbol "should not be used" for division.
Exponentiation is a mathematical operation, written as b^{n}, involving two numbers, the baseb and the exponent or powern, and pronounced as "b raised to the power of n". When n is a positive integer, exponentiation corresponds to repeated multiplication of the base: that is, b^{n} is the product of multiplying n bases:
The Riemann hypothesis is one of the most important conjectures in mathematics. It is a statement about the zeros of the Riemann zeta function. Various geometrical and arithmetical objects can be described by socalled global Lfunctions, which are formally similar to the Riemann zetafunction. One can then ask the same question about the zeros of these Lfunctions, yielding various generalizations of the Riemann hypothesis. Many mathematicians believe these generalizations of the Riemann hypothesis to be true. The only cases of these conjectures which have been proven occur in the algebraic function field case.
In mathematics, division by zero is division where the divisor (denominator) is zero. Such a division can be formally expressed as a/0 where a is the dividend (numerator). In ordinary arithmetic, the expression has no meaning, as there is no number which, when multiplied by 0, gives a, and so division by zero is undefined. Since any number multiplied by zero is zero, the expression 0/0 is also undefined; when it is the form of a limit, it is an indeterminate form. Historically, one of the earliest recorded references to the mathematical impossibility of assigning a value to a/0 is contained in George Berkeley's criticism of infinitesimal calculus in 1734 in The Analyst.
In mathematics, a multiplicative inverse or reciprocal for a number x, denoted by 1/x or x^{−1}, is a number which when multiplied by x yields the multiplicative identity, 1. The multiplicative inverse of a fraction a/b is b/a. For the multiplicative inverse of a real number, divide 1 by the number. For example, the reciprocal of 5 is one fifth, and the reciprocal of 0.25 is 1 divided by 0.25, or 4. The reciprocal function, the function f(x) that maps x to 1/x, is one of the simplest examples of a function which is its own inverse.
In abstract algebra and analysis, the Archimedean property, named after the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse, is a property held by some algebraic structures, such as ordered or normed groups, and fields. Roughly speaking, it is the property of having no infinitely larger or infinitely smaller elements. It was Otto Stolz who gave the axiom of Archimedes its name because it appears as Axiom V of Archimedes’ On the Sphere and Cylinder.
In algebra, a valuation is a function on a field that provides a measure of size or multiplicity of elements of the field. It generalizes to commutative algebra the notion of size inherent in consideration of the degree of a pole or multiplicity of a zero in complex analysis, the degree of divisibility of a number by a prime number in number theory, and the geometrical concept of contact between two algebraic or analytic varieties in algebraic geometry. A field with a valuation on it is called a valued field.
In mathematics, especially in the field of algebra, a polynomial ring or polynomial algebra is a ring formed from the set of polynomials in one or more indeterminates with coefficients in another ring, often a field.
In mathematics, the characteristic of a ring R, often denoted char(R), is defined to be the smallest number of times one must use the ring's multiplicative identity (1) in a sum to get the additive identity (0). If this sum never reaches the additive identity the ring is said to have characteristic zero.
In mathematics, the additive identity of a set that is equipped with the operation of addition is an element which, when added to any element x in the set, yields x. One of the most familiar additive identities is the number 0 from elementary mathematics, but additive identities occur in other mathematical structures where addition is defined, such as in groups and rings.
In mathematics, the concept of sign originates from the property that every real number is either positive, negative or zero. Depending on local conventions, zero is either considered as being neither a positive number, nor a negative number, or as belonging to both negative and positive numbers. Whenever not specifically mentioned, this article adheres to the first convention.
In mathematics, a rational number is a number such as 3/7 that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction p/q of two integers, a numerator p and a nonzero denominator q. Every integer is a rational number: for example, 5 = 5/1. The set of all rational numbers, often referred to as "the rationals", the field of rationals or the field of rational numbers is usually denoted by a boldface Q ; it was thus denoted in 1895 by Giuseppe Peano after quoziente, Italian for "quotient".
Look up integer in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. 
This article incorporates material from Integer on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike License.