a byte [baɪ̯t] is a name in digital technique and computer science for:

  1. an addressable memory unit, which is large enough, in order to take up any indication from the basis character set.
with telex: 1 indication = 5 bits =1 byte
with DEK PDP-11: 1 indication = 6 bits = 1 byte
with ASCII: 1 indication = 7 bits = 1 byte
with IBM PC: 1 indication = 8 bits = 1 byte
with Unisys UNIVAC 1100/2200and OS2200 Series systems: 1 indication = 9 bits = 1 byte
  1. colloquially the designation of a Tupels of 8 bits, whose formal ISO - conformal designation Oktett is. (1 byte = 8-bit)
  2. a data type in some programming languages for one8-bit broad unit (1 byte = 8-bit) note: In some programming languages the size of a byte can be also defined deviating from it.
  3. a unit for 8-bits with statements of size (1 byte = 2 3 bits = 8-bits)(after: International Electronical Commission 60027-2, Second edition, 2000-11).
  4. a data set of two Nibbles, the 256 different values to assume can and by two hexadecimal numbers (00 to FF) is representable (1 Nibble = 4 bits = 1/2 byte; 2 Nibbles = 8Bits = 1 byte)

with most today's computers collapse all these definitions in one.

The term byte becomes due to the large spreading of systems, which are based on eight bits (and/or power-of-two number multiple of it), for the designation eight bitsspread size used, those in formal language (according to ISO standards) however correctly Oktett (English. ) is called octet. As unit with statements of size in the German language the term byte (in the sense of 8-bits) is used. During the transmission a byte can parallel (all bits at the same time) or serially (all bits successively) to be transferred. To the safety device of the correctness parity bits are often added. During the transmission of larger quantities further transmission protocols are possible. Thus often 32 bits (four byte) become together in one with 32-Bit-RechnernStep transfer, even if only 8-bit tuple will transfer must. Makes possible a simplification of the algorithms necessary for the computation and a smaller command sentence of the computer.

Around larger data sets byte (for a Oktett stands there) will indicate to the unit in Prefix as for example k (for Kilos, 1000) or AI (for K ilo b i nary, 1024) placed in front. Designations as kOktett and MOktett are uncommon in German, are however to z. B. in the French.

Table of contents

history of the term byte

the word byte is artificial and comes from English bits (German: little) and offers (German: Happen; Source: The new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary). Usedbecame it, in order to mark a memory quantity or a data set, which is sufficient, in order to represent an indication. The term 1956 coined/shaped by Werner book wood in an early Design phase of a IBM computer [1]. In the original it described width of 6 bitsand the smallest directly addressable memory unit of a computer represented. Already 1956 took place the transition to 8-bits. The way of writing offers to byte was changed, in order to avoid inadvertent mistakes with bits.

Byte becomes also as abbreviation for B inary width unit rm and bits as abbreviation for Bi nary digi t explains - it concerns however Backronyme.

A further explanation of the term lies in the short form “by eight”, freely translated “eightfold”.

To the distinction of the originalMeaning as the smallest addressable unit and the meaning as 8-bit tuple in the technical literature (dependent on the field of activity) correct-proves also the term Oktett for the latter used, in order to obtain a clear separation.

Web on the left of

Wiktionary: Byte - word origin,Synonymous one and translations

see also

further meaning

byte are also the title of an US-American computer journal.


  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)