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Definitions of byte

  1. a sequence of 8 bits (enough to represent one character of alphanumeric data) processed as a single unit of information Scrapingweb Dictionary DB
  2. A popular computing magazine. (http://byte.com). foldoc_fs
  3. /bi:t/ (B) A component in the machine data hierarchylarger than a bit and usually smaller than a word; nownearly always eight bits and the smallest addressable unit ofstorage. A byte typically holds one character.A byte may be 9 bits on 36-bit computers. Some olderarchitectures used "byte" for quantities of 6 or 7 bits, andthe PDP-10 and IBM 7030 supported "bytes" that were actuallybit-fields of 1 to 36 (or 64) bits! These usages are nowobsolete, and even 9-bit bytes have become rare in the generaltrend toward power-of-2 word sizes.The term was coined by Werner Buchholz in 1956 during theearly design phase for the IBM Stretch computer. It was amutation of the word "bite" intended to avoid confusion with"bit". In 1962 he described it as "a group of bits used toencode a character, or the number of bits transmitted inparallel to and from input-output units". The move to an8-bit byte happened in late 1956, and this size was lateradopted and promulgated as a standard by the System/360operating system (announced April 1964).James S. Jones adds:I am sure I read in a mid-1970's brochure by IBM that outlinedthe history of computers that BYTE was an acronym that stoodfor "Bit asYnchronous Transmission E..?" which related towidth of the bus between the Stretch CPU and its CRT-memory(prior to Core).Terry Carr says:In the early days IBM taught that a series of bits transferredtogether (like so many yoked oxen) formed a Binary YokedTransfer Element (BYTE).[True origin? First 8-bit byte architecture?]See also nibble, octet. foldoc_fs

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