Re: Hexadecimal characters.

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Thu Jun 20 2002 - 18:03:44 EDT

> I wish to propose sixteen consecutive digits for the purpose
> of displaying hexadecimal values. The usefulness of this is
> very obvious--it would be extensively used in the unicode spec itself!
> ... Plus this makes numbers with hexadecimal characters unambiguously
> base sixteen.

Blue-skying a bit about this, why stop with computer science and
hexadecimals? The fields of astronomy and geography make widespread
use of sexagesimal numerics, although for practical reasons they
format each sexagesimal digit using decimal notation currently.

So why stop with sixteen consecutive digits for hexadecimal?
Wouldn't it be equally obviously useful to have sixty consecutive
digits for sexagesimal numeric representation?

The problem, of course, is that the numbers (0..59) already exist
in numeric space, and the character digits ("0".."9") already
exist as encoded characters in Unicode (and ASCII, and all other
encoded character sets), so it is a little difficult to see what
the exact utility of another set of 60 characters would be for this.

In any case, I wonder if Tom could explain what is special about
hexadecimal expressed with "0".."9", "A".."F", as opposed to
any other base numeric system that might be in widespread use,
(duodecimal and vigesimal come to mind) which would lead to a
particular argument that it should be encoded with a distinct set
of characters.


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