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[UDUNITS #GOR-430013]: bits, bytes units


> I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean by this.
> Scientists store information about information and it would be helpful
> for them to use the UDUnits infrastructure to automatically convert
> among information units as they now can among physical units.
> A canonical case might be storing the value "8 bytes" as an integer
> (eight) with "units" attribute = "byte". You seem to suggest that the
> appropriate "units" attribute in this case would be "8" (not "byte").
> Do I have that right?

I'm saying that the unit "8" could be used right now as the unit of the 
quantity in your example.

> How would the user ever see/use the strings "byte" or "bit"?

The user would never see or use the strings "byte" or "bit" unless they were 
added to the UDUNITS database. BTW, that can be done by the user -- it will 
only be understood, however, by sites that have also added those units.

> Would the unit "byte" be a synonym for the unit "8"?

Yes. The string "byte" would be interpreted identically to the string "8".

> If not, are you opposed to adding "bit" as the fundamental unit of
> information (as "meter" is for length) because bits are not tangible
> physical quantities?

I'm not opposed to adding the units "byte" and "bit" to the UDUNITS database; I 
just need a strong enough use-case to justify it -- especially in light of the 
fact that the strings "8" and "1" can be used now.

Argue the need! Heck, I've already added "molecule" and "nucleon".

BTW, a byte is 8 bits in the POSIX universe, but not in the C universe. It's 8 
bits for those following the IEC 80000-13:2008 standard, but not everyone does. 
Still, if added, it would be to the "common" units sub-database (because it's 
not in the SI), so this is unlikely to be a big deal.

> Just trying to understand Unidata's perspective before taking a
> stance on your suggestion.
> c
> --
> Charlie Zender, Earth System Sci. & Computer Sci.
> University of California, Irvine 949-891-2429 )'(

Steve Emmerson

Ticket Details
Ticket ID: GOR-430013
Department: Support UDUNITS
Priority: Normal
Status: Closed