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'[OT] Different Computer systems - Trivia'
1999\02\09@063734 by

Trivia ... !!!  :-)  ...

>|I guess that those based on Digital Binary are the most popular.
>|But I know that there are/were others, like the Analog ones, and
Ternary
>|(3 states)?
>
>|Does anyone out there have some trivia on this?
>

This should be enough trivia to go on with -

Ternary is the most efficient storage method available (at least
using integer numbers). The most efficient is the natural logarithm
base "e" (2.718...) but its a bit (pun unintended) hard to make
2.7-state devices so 3 is the best available.

eg - consider d240 (= 2 x 3 x 4 x 10)
This requires

Base 2    = 16 states (2 states per bit x 8 bits)
Base 3    = 15 states
Base 4    = 16 states
Base 5   = 20 states
...
Base 10 = 30 (3 x 10 states )

Numbers equal to (base^n)-1 will give best results for that base.
eg 999

2    20 states
3    21 states
4    20
10  30

Here binary just improves on ternary but even the optimised decimal
(999 = 10^3-1) uses 50% more storage.
Overall, Ternary wins.

I understand that the Russians made ternary based computers in the
early days when the cost of storage and registers was extreme.
Nowadays this is not a consideration and the great ease of using
binary logic states ensures that binary rules.

IBM made some early "mini-computers" which thought in BCD. Our
university had one (circa 1969 !!!) and it could run Fortran 4 - but
it took 2 passes as it didn't have enough memory to fit all the
program in at once..

regards

Russell McMahon
(1210 years old)(base = ???)

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