bit-widths, was Re: HP Laserjet ..again....

From: William Maddox <>
Date: Wed Sep 22 18:13:52 2004

--- Lyle Bickley <> wrote:

> The IBM 7070 was modeled after the IBM 650 - so the
> 7070 was a bi-quinary (2
> out of 5) encoded machine.

Do you know why a bi-quinary encoding was used instead
of the more obvious 8-4-2-1 BCD encoding scheme? I've
been a bit curious about that. More generally, I've
been curious why decimal architectures held on for so
long, given the higher cost of the CPU logic. In the
older semi-electronic punch-card calculators, it
clearly simplified the logic overall, as they were
running simple hard-wired (plug-board) programs
interfacing with decimal-oriented electromechanical
input and output. I can also see where it made sense
on smaller digit-serial designs. In a large-scale
parallel CPU, however, it's not clear to me why
a binary architecture (doing binary to decimal
conversion in software) wasn't preferred right from
the start.

Received on Wed Sep 22 2004 - 18:13:52 BST

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