17.205 beginning with 0 or with 1?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Aug 28 2003 - 04:18:13 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 205.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 09:16:44 +0100
             From: lachance@origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Whole and natural numbers


    Recently in a posting to the TEI-list Lou Burnard listed some formatting
    systems and indicated that "some such systems numbered things starting
    from zero and others from one"


    I found an echo of the whole numbers/natural numbers theme. In prepping
    for a project, I note that Javascript begins counting with zero.

    Could some one explain why certain languages begin with zero and others
    with one?

    I have some vague impression that it is related to the treatment of
    arrays and Cartesian coordinates where the origin is represented by the
    pair (0,0). However my vague impression doesn't explain why certain other
    systems begin with 1. Would appreciate an explanation by anyone in the


    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

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