The octal computer

On several occasions John Dvorak has mentioned the octal computer, based on the use of the digits o-7 only for the numbers. I think he is just pulling our chain. You see our current digital computers are all binary. They use conversion routines to convert our decimal entries to binary for calculations and back for display.

One reason to use octal as the display mode is that it requires less conversion, less instruction cycles. The octal, base 8, number system is a multiple of 2. Because of this 111 base 2 is 7 octal, 377 octal is one byte. Some of you may remember hex notation, base 16. The digits 0-9 and A-F. Two hex digits, FF, are one byte.

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