MadSci Network: Computer Science

Re: why hasn't a computer that 'computes' in base 10 been invented?

Date: Sat Oct 6 21:37:36 2001
Posted By: Gus Calabrese aka puppet boy, Design Engineer
Area of science: Computer Science
ID: 1002154300.Cs

Most current technology realizes binary logic most easily.  That is to say 
that it has been easiest to build logic with two states (on and off).  
This lends itself to representing values in binary (1 and zero).  A base 
10 computer under these circumstances would not offer any speed advantages 
and would be harder to map to the logic available.

This would change of course if there were a logic gate that assumed 10 
different states as it's fundamental property.  So far no such technology 
has been developed or considered practical to develop.

This could always change in the future.  Base 10 will probably never be 
pursued as a basis for computing because there are so many tools developed 
for binary and hex number representation.  Base 10 is only popular among 
humans because of the 10 fingers (at least that is my belief) each human 
possesses.  There is no other fundamental advantage to base 10.

Technolgies on the horizon such as quantum computing may knock base 2 from 
it's popular perch ( and perhaps not )...... and it is unlikely such 
technologies will make base 10 any more advantageous than base 10 is now.

Gus S. Calabrese

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