Re: What does "orthogony" mean?

From: Dave Sill (
Date: Sat Feb 17 2001 - 08:02:26 MST

Andy Toth <> wrote:
> the condition of being orthogonic?
> i cannot find the word anywhere.

>From the hacker's jargon file...

orthogonal adj.

[from mathematics] Mutually independent; well separated; sometimes,
irrelevant to. Used in a generalization of its mathematical meaning to
describe sets of primitives or capabilities that, like a vector basis in
geometry, span the entire capability space' of the system and are in some
sense non-overlapping or mutually independent. For example, in architectures
such as the PDP-11 or VAX where all or nearly all registers can be used
interchangeably in any role with respect to any instruction, the register
set is said to be orthogonal. Or, in logic, the set of operators not' and
or' is orthogonal, but the set nand', or', and not' is not (because any one
of these can be expressed in terms of the others). Also used in comments on
human discourse: "This may be orthogonal to the discussion, but...."


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