The @ symbol says to execute the function, but do not pause and wait for its execution before proceeding. PHP uses this as an error control operator. When prepended to a function or expression in PHP, any error messages that might be generated by that expression will be ignored.
It’s really handy when the script goes to request something from a remote source (eg. file_get_contents() ). It’s not actually multi-threading the application execution, but it does prevent it from tripping over the delay in execution.