Uncommon bytes

From: Hans Aberg (haberg@math.su.se)
Date: Wed Apr 15 2009 - 03:13:43 CDT

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    On 13 Apr 2009, at 21:31, William J Poser wrote:

    > I'm a little surprised that no enterprising manufacturer has come out
    > with "Unicode machine" with 21 bit words with addressable 7 bit
    > "tribbles".
    > Just think of the Start Trek tie-ins!

    Various byte-sizes have been practiced in the past.
    Today, except in legacy systems, one will have to look hard find bytes
    of other sizes than 8 bits. Computer hardware is maximized around
    common use, and text processing is typically a very small part of all
    the computing done, suggesting it is not worthwhile having hardware
    support specialized for just that. In the past, one has made Lisp
    machines, but they did not catch on

    But there are FPUs and GPUs, and the latter have evolved as to in
    effect becoming extra processors (CPUs). So perhaps the future may see
    a TPU (text processor unit) :-).


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