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41
votes
12answers
3k views

Is there an alternative to bits?

Is there an alternative to bits as the smallest unit of data? Something that won't be only 0 or 1, but actually hold many possible states in between? Wouldn't it be more natural to store floats like ...
38
votes
6answers
17k views

What is the history of why bytes are eight bits?

What where the historical forces at work, the tradeoffs to make, in deciding to use groups of eight bits as the fundamental unit ? There were machines, once upon a time, using other word sizes, ...