What is Byte?

The byte is equivalent to octal, for correct purposes, a byte should be considered as a contiguous bit string, the size of which depends on the information code or character code it is defined for.

What is Byte?

Definition of Bytes on Computer

The byte unit does not have an internationally established symbol, ISO and IEC recommend restricting the use of this unit to octets.

Computer architecture is mostly based on binary numbers, so the bytes are counted as the power of the two.

The terms Kilo (in Kilobytes, abbreviated in K) and mega (in Megabyte, abbreviated in M) are used to count the bytes.

It is often used as a basic information storage unit with quantity prefixes.

Initially, it was chosen as a subfield of five to twelve bits of a computer’s word size. The popularity of the IBM S/360 architecture that began in the 1960s and the explosion of 8-bit microprocessor-based microcomputers in the 1980s led to the use of something other than 8-bit. The term octet is used synonymously in protocol definitions.


The term was produced by Waner Buchholz in 1957 in the early design stages of IBM 7030 Stretch.

It was originally defined by 4-bit instructions that allow one to sixteen bits in one bit. And six-bit units are used in typical I/O equipment.

Then a fixed 8-bit size was accepted and announced as standard by IBM S/360. The term comes from the term bite, the smallest amount of data a computer bites at a time. As a result, all the complexity of meaning has been eliminated thanks to just one letter change.

In the 1960s, however, the Department of Education in the United Kingdom defined that one bit is Binary Digit and one byte is a BinarY TuplE.

Microsoft’s Intel8008 legacy microprocessors use 4-bit processing for the Half Carry flag to perform DAA and decimal calculations. These four bits were later called a nibble.

In computer architecture, 8 bits is an adjective referring to integers, memory addresses, or other data units up to 8 bits wide, or to a registry-based CPU, ALU, address bus or bus architecture.

Other Definitions

The word byte has many interrelated meanings. The first is the contiguous sequence of a fixed number of bits. So, the use of an 8-bit byte is available almost everywhere.

The second is the contiguous bit sequence in a binary computer containing the smallest addressable subfield of the computer’s natural word size.

Third, it is the smallest binary data unit where computation is important or natural data sizes can be applied.

These appropriately placed bytes comprise Hollerith data of staple cards, typically uppercase alphabets and decimal places. CDC also expresses 12-bit amounts in bytes, each containing two 6-bit characters due to the machine’s 12-bit I/O architecture.

The PDP-10 used LDB and DPB 12-bit assembly instructions to extract the data, these processes survived in Common Lisp today. 6, 7, or 9-bit-bytes have been used on some computers, for example, 36-bit words of PDP-10.

UNIVAC 1100/2200 series computers addressed 6-bit data fields and 36-bit words in 9-bit ASCII mode modes.

Byte Units For Storage

bit (b)
0 or 1
1/8 of a byte
byte (B)
8 bits
1 byte
kilobyte (KB)
1,000 bytes
megabyte (MB)
gigabyte (GB)
terabyte (TB)
petabyte (PB)
exabyte (EB)
zettabyte (ZB)
yottabyte (YB)

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