February 17, 2007 10:45am CST
What is meant by the term 'word'? e.g. A computer has a word length of 16 bits.
17 Feb 07
In computing, "word" is a term for the natural unit of data used by a particular computer design. A word is simply a fixed-sized group of bits that are handled together by the machine. The number of bits in a word (the word size or word length) is an important characteristic of a computer architecture. The size of a word is reflected in many aspects of a computer's structure and operation. The majority of the registers in the computer are usually word-sized. The typical numeric value manipulated by the computer is probably word sized. The amount of data transferred between the processing part of the computer and the memory system is most often a word. An address used to designate a location in memory often fits in a word. Modern computers usually have a word size of 16, 32, or 64 bits. Many other sizes have been used in the past, including 8, 12, 18, 24, 36, 39, 40, 48, and 60 bits; the slab is an example of an early word size. Some of the earliest computers were decimal rather than binary, typically having a word size of 10 or 12 decimal digits, and some early computers had no fixed word length at all. taken from wikipedia.org