In = Brailsford's youtube series in Computerphile (something I came across t= hrough BWK's interview with Brailsford),
E= pisode 86=C2=A0is about "Where Did Bytes Come From?".=C2=A0 H= e claims that if you wanted to do decimal arithmetic on a
binary machine, you'd wa= nt to have 10 digits of accuracy to capture the 10 digit log tables that we= re then popular.
10 digits is around 33 to 36 bits, so words ended up that size (or half t= hat size), 36 or 18 bits. (Brailsford's lectures=C2=A0are
fabulous, by the way, likely= to appeal to TUHS types.)

I like that=C2=A0explanation better than the story I heard that the IBM 7= 09 series had 36 bit words because Arthur Samuel,
then at IBM, needed 32 bits to identify = the playable squares on a checkerboard, plus some bits for color and kinged=
(if that's= the proper term for getting across the board and gaining the ability to mo= ve toward either side). Samuel was
famous for writing a checker playing program that play= ed champion-quality checkers.=C2=A0

On Thu, Sep 8, 2022 at 2:02 PM Noe= l Chiappa <jnc@mercury.lcs.mi= t.edu> wrote:
=C2=A0 =C2=A0 > On Sep 8, 2022, at 9:51 AM, Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com>= wrote:

=C2=A0 =C2=A0 > One of those questions for which there is no search engi= ne incantation.

Whatever it is, it's really old. I found it used, not quite in the mode= rn
sense, in "Hi-Speed Computing Devices", by ERA, 1950. It was used= , in the
modern sense, in "Planning a Computer System", Buchholz,1962.

=C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 =C2=A0 Noel
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