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Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 205.

Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/

www.princeton.edu/humanist/

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

Willard,

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"

http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0308&L=tei-l&F=&S=&P=5469

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

know.

Thanks

-- Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance

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