A CDE Definition
(BinarY TablE) The common unit of computer storage from desktop computer to mainframe. It is made up of eight binary digits (bits). A ninth bit may be used in the memory circuits as a parity bit for error checking.
A byte holds one alphabetic character such as the letter A, a dollar sign or decimal point. For numeric data, one byte holds one decimal digit (0-9), two "packed decimal" digits (00-99) or a binary number from 0 to 255.
From Bite to Byte
IBM coined the term in the mid-1950s to mean the smallest addressable group of bits in a computer, which was originally not eight. The first spelling was "bite," but the y was added to avoid accidental misspelling between "bite" and "bit."
Byte SpecificationsDrives and memory (RAM) are rated in bytes. For example, a 500-gigabyte (500GB) hard drive stores 500 billion characters of program instructions and data permanently, while four-gigabytes (4GBs) of RAM hold four billion temporarily. In early personal computers, hard drives were 5MB, and memory was 64K. See memory and file size.
The Bits and Bytes
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