Knuth's Proposals

Alternate names for binary values were proposed (3-Jun-1999) by Donald E. Knuth, Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University and reknown guru. His proposal at suggestes the use of "large" and double abbreviations (such as large megabyte with corresponding doubled abbreviation MMB) to indicate reference to values as powers of two. He makes the suggestion in contrast to the recently ratified international standard that includes such tongue twisters as mebibyte, which might be pronnounced maybe-byte!

Dr. Knuth also proposes the 16-bit wyde in, where he also records use of parcle and rune for 16 bits, chawmp for 16 or 18 bits.

IMHO, I would like to add that a wyde differs from a half-word in two ways; (1) the width of a word is only generally 32 bits because it differers with hardware, a wyde is always just 16 bits, and (2) the term wyde is handy for distingushing between the 8 and 16 bit character sets.

His homepage is located at

Copyright © 1999, 2000 Kevin J. Walsh
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