Re: MATH: Number Base Models

Hal Finney (
Fri, 1 May 1998 11:55:33 -0700

It is common in discussions of the theory of computing (turing machines
and related topics) to denote numbers by a string of repeated, identical
symbols, where the number of symbols in the string is the value of
the number. There have to be other symbols, of course, so that the
starting and ending of the number can be indicated. So you might have


which could be a representation of 3 + 4 = 7.

I think it is confusing to carry over our common sense ideas of 1's
and 0's to this kind of notation. The symbols acquire value based on
how they are being used. Are the "*" above acting like 1's? Like 0's?
Not necessarily either one.