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Last seen on: LA Times Crossword 28 Sep 20, Monday

### Random information on the term “OCT”:

The octal numeral system, or oct for short, is the base-8 number system, and uses the digits 0 to 7. Octal numerals can be made from binary numerals by grouping consecutive binary digits into groups of three (starting from the right). For example, the binary representation for decimal 74 is 1001010. Two zeroes can be added at the left: (00)1 001 010, corresponding the octal digits 1 1 2, yielding the octal representation 112.

In the decimal system each decimal place is a power of ten. For example:

In the octal system each place is a power of eight. For example:

By performing the calculation above in the familiar decimal system we see why 112 in octal is equal to 64+8+2 = 74 in decimal.

The Yuki language in California and the Pamean languages in Mexico have octal systems because the speakers count using the spaces between their fingers rather than the fingers themselves.

Octal became widely used in computing when systems such as the UNIVAC 1050, PDP-8, ICL 1900 and IBM mainframes employed 6-bit, 12-bit, 24-bit or 36-bit words. Octal was an ideal abbreviation of binary for these machines because their word size is divisible by three (each octal digit represents three binary digits). So two, four, eight or twelve digits could concisely display an entire machine word. It also cut costs by allowing Nixie tubes, seven-segment displays, and calculators to be used for the operator consoles, where binary displays were too complex to use, decimal displays needed complex hardware to convert radices, and hexadecimal displays needed to display more numerals.