31 or 32 bit?

From: Carl-Martin Bunz (cmb@coli.uni-sb.de)
Date: Tue Jan 13 1998 - 17:25:44 EST

Hi all,

This is certainly a novice-type question, but for me and my public
there is an urgent need of clarification. I am promoting Unicode among
academics, Humanities scholars, but also computational linguists
and computer scientists, being myself a linguist who does not (yet)
have a sufficient knowledge in computer science, programming etc.

The problem is the following: What is ISO 10646 - a 31-bit encoding
containing 2.147.483.648 code positions (as presented in the Unicode
2.0 Book p. C-2) or a 32-bit encoding with 4.294.967.296 code points
(as explained elsewhere, even if its architecture is described as
'128 groups of 256 planes', which means 2.147.483.648 cells)?

How is the four-octet encoding ISO/IEC 10646 described correctly, i.e.
in precise terms? In case it is a 31-bit encoding, what is the one
bit used or reserved for?

Thank you very much for clarifying this simple question.


Carl-Martin Bunz, M.A.
Institute of Comparative Linguistics
Saarland University
POBox 15 11 50
D-66041 Saarbruecken

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