In computer architecture, 16-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 16 bits (2 octets) wide. Also, 16-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm.
A 16-bit register can store 216 different values. The signed range of integer values that can be stored in 16 bits is −32,768 (−1 × 215) through 32,767 (215 − 1); the unsigned range is 0 through 65,535 (216 − 1). Since 216 is 65,536, a processor with 16-bit memory addresses can directly access 64 KB (65,536 bytes) of byte-addressable memory. If a system uses segmentation with 16-bit segment offsets, more can be accessed.
The MIT Whirlwind (c. 1951) was quite possibly the first-ever 16-bit computer. Other early (c. 1965–70) 16-bit computers include the IBM 1130, the HP 2100, the Data General Nova, and the DEC PDP-11. Early (c. 1973–75) multi-chip 16-bit microprocessors include the National Semiconductor IMP-16 and the Western Digital MCP-1600. Early (c. 1975–76) single-chip 16-bit microprocessors include the Panafacom MN1610, National Semiconductor PACE, the HP BPC, and the TI TMS9900. Other notable 16-bit processors include the Intel 8086, the Intel 80286, the WDC 65C816, and the Zilog Z8000. The Intel 8088 was binary compatible with the Intel 8086, and was 16-bit in that its registers were 16 bits wide, and arithmetic instructions could operate on 16-bit quantities, even though its external bus was 8 bits wide.
A 16-bit integer can store 216 (or 65,536) distinct values. In an unsigned representation, these values are the integers between 0 and 65,535; using two's complement, possible values range from −32,768 to 32,767. Hence, a processor with 16-bit memory addresses can directly access 64 KB of byte-addressable memory.
16-bit processors have been almost entirely supplanted in the personal computer industry, and are used less than 32-bit (or 8-bit) CPUs in embedded applications.
The Motorola 68000 is sometimes called 16-bit because its internal and external data buses were 16 bits wide; however, it could be considered a 32-bit processor in that the general purpose registers were 32 bits wide and most arithmetic instructions supported 32-bit arithmetic. The 68000 was a microcoded processor with three internal 16-bit ALUs. Only 24 bits of the program counter (PC) were available on original DIP packages, with up to 16 megabytes of addressable RAM. 68000 software is 32-bit in nature and forward-compatible with other 32-bit processors in the same family. The 68008 was a version of the 68000 with 8-bit external data path and 1 megabyte addressing for the 48-pin DIP version and 4 megabyte for the 52-pin PLCC version. Several Apple Inc. Macintosh models; e.g., LC series, used 32-bit 68020 and 68030 processors on a 16-bit data bus to save cost.
Similar analysis applies to Intel's 80286 CPU replacement called the 386SX which is a 32-bit processor with 32-bit ALU and internal 32-bit data paths with a 16-bit external bus and 24-bit addressing of the processor it replaced.
Just as there are multiple data models for 64-bit architectures, the 16-bit Intel architecture allows for different memory models—ways to access a particular memory location. The reason for using a specific memory model is the size of the assembler instructions or required storage for pointers. Compilers of the 16-bit era generally had the following type-width characteristic:
In the context of IBM PC compatible and Wintel platforms, a 16-bit application is any software written for MS-DOS, OS/2 1.x or early versions of Microsoft Windows which originally ran on the 16-bit Intel 8088 and Intel 80286 microprocessors. Such applications used a 20-bit or 24-bit segment or selector-offset address representation to extend the range of addressable memory locations beyond what was possible using only 16-bit addresses. Programs containing more than 216 bytes (65,536 bytes) of instructions and data therefore required special instructions to switch between their 64-kilobyte segments, increasing the complexity of programming 16-bit applications.
An autonomous system (AS) is a collection of connected Internet Protocol (IP) routing prefixes under the control of one or more network operators on behalf of a single administrative entity or domain that presents a common, clearly defined routing policy to the internet.Originally the definition required control by a single entity, typically an Internet service provider (ISP) or a very large organization with independent connections to multiple networks, that adhered to a single and clearly defined routing policy, as originally defined in RFC 1771. The newer definition in RFC 1930 came into use because multiple organizations can run Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) using private AS numbers to an ISP that connects all those organizations to the internet. Even though there may be multiple autonomous systems supported by the ISP, the internet only sees the routing policy of the ISP. That ISP must have an officially registered autonomous system number (ASN).
A unique ASN is allocated to each AS for use in BGP routing. ASNs are important because the ASN uniquely identifies each network on the Internet.
Until 2007, AS numbers were defined as 16-bit integers, which allowed for a maximum of 65,536 assignments. RFC 4893 introduced 32-bit AS numbers, which the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has begun to allocate to regional Internet registries (RIRs), although this proposed standard has now been replaced by RFC 6793. These numbers are written preferably as simple integers (in a notation sometimes referred to as "asplain") ranging from 0 to 4,294,967,295 (hexadecimal 0xFFFF FFFF), or in the form called "asdot" which looks like x.y, where x and y are 16-bit numbers. Numbers of the form 0.y are exactly the old 16-bit AS numbers. The accepted textual representation of autonomous system numbers is defined in RFC 5396 as "asplain". The special 16-bit ASN 23456 ("AS_TRANS") was assigned by IANA as a placeholder for 32-bit ASN values for the case when 32-bit-ASN capable routers ("new BGP speakers") send BGP messages to routers with older BGP software ("old BGP speakers") which do not understand the new 32-bit ASNs.The first and last ASNs of the original 16-bit integers (0 and 65,535) and the last ASN of the 32-bit numbers (4,294,967,295) are reserved and should not be used by operators. ASNs 64,496 to 64,511 of the original 16-bit range and 65,536 to 65,551 of the 32-bit range are reserved for use in documentation by RFC 5398. ASNs 64,512 to 65,534 of the original 16-bit AS range, and 4,200,000,000 to 4,294,967,294 of the 32-bit range are reserved for Private Use by RFC 6996, meaning they can be used internally but should not be announced to the global Internet. All other ASNs are subject to assignment by IANA.
The number of unique autonomous networks in the routing system of the Internet exceeded 5,000 in 1999, 30,000 in late 2008, 35,000 in mid-2010, 42,000 in late 2012, 54,000 in mid-2016 and 60,000 in early 2018.The number of allocated ASNs exceeded 84,000 in early 2018.DEC Radix-50
RADIX-50, commonly called Rad-50, RAD50 or DEC Squoze, is an uppercase only character encoding created by Digital Equipment Corporation for use on their DECsystem, PDP, and VAX computers. RADIX-50's 40-character repertoire (050 in octal) can encode six characters plus four additional bits into one 36-bit word (PDP-6, PDP-10/DECsystem-10, DECSYSTEM-20); three characters plus two additional bits into one 18-bit word (PDP-9, PDP-15); or three characters into one 16-bit word (PDP-11, VAX).
The actual encoding differed between the 36-bit and 16-bit systems.Device driver
In computing, a device driver is a computer program that operates or controls a particular type of device that is attached to a computer. A driver provides a software interface to hardware devices, enabling operating systems and other computer programs to access hardware functions without needing to know precise details about the hardware being used.
A driver communicates with the device through the computer bus or communications subsystem to which the hardware connects. When a calling program invokes a routine in the driver, the driver issues commands to the device. Once the device sends data back to the driver, the driver may invoke routines in the original calling program. Drivers are hardware dependent and operating-system-specific. They usually provide the interrupt handling required for any necessary asynchronous time-dependent hardware interface.Endianness
Endianness is the sequential order in which bytes are arranged into larger numerical values when stored in memory or when transmitted over digital links. Endianness is of interest in computer science because two conflicting and incompatible formats are in common use: words may be represented in big-endian or little-endian format, depending on whether bits or bytes or other components are ordered from the big end (most significant bit) or the little end (least significant bit).
In big-endian format, whenever addressing memory or sending/storing words bytewise, the most significant byte—the byte containing the most significant bit—is stored first (has the lowest address) or sent first, then the following bytes are stored or sent in decreasing significance order, with the least significant byte—the one containing the least significant bit—stored last (having the highest address) or sent last.
Little-endian format reverses this order: the sequence addresses/sends/stores the least significant byte first (lowest address) and the most significant byte last (highest address). Most computer systems prefer a single format for all its data; using the system's native format is automatic. But when reading memory or receiving transmitted data from a different computer system, it is often required to process and translate data between the preferred native endianness format to the opposite format.
The order of bits within a byte or word can also have endianness (as discussed later); however, a byte is typically handled as a single numerical value or character symbol and so bit sequence order is obviated.
Both big and little forms of endianness are widely used in digital electronics. The choice of endianness for a new design is often arbitrary, but later technology revisions and updates perpetuate the existing endianness and many other design attributes to maintain backward compatibility. As examples, the IBM z/Architecture mainframes and the Motorola 68000 series use big-endian while the Intel x86 processors use little-endian. The designers of System/360, the ancestor of z/Architecture, chose its endianness in the 1960s; the designers of the Motorola 68000 and the Intel 8086, the first members of the 68000 and x86 families, chose their endianness in the 1970s.
Big-endian is the most common format in data networking; fields in the protocols of the Internet protocol suite, such as IPv4, IPv6, TCP, and UDP, are transmitted in big-endian order. For this reason, big-endian byte order is also referred to as network byte order. Little-endian storage is popular for microprocessors, in part due to significant influence on microprocessor designs by Intel Corporation. Mixed forms also exist; for instance, in VAX floating point, the ordering of bytes in a 16-bit word differs from the ordering of 16-bit words within a 32-bit word. Such cases are sometimes referred to as mixed-endian or middle-endian. There are also some bi-endian processors that operate in either little-endian or big-endian mode.File Allocation Table
File Allocation Table (FAT) is a computer file system architecture and a family of industry-standard file systems utilizing it. The FAT file system is a continuing standard which borrows source code from the original, legacy file system and proves to be simple and robust. It offers useful performance even in lightweight implementations, but cannot deliver the same performance, reliability and scalability as some modern file systems. It is, however, supported for compatibility reasons by nearly all currently developed operating systems for personal computers and many mobile devices and embedded systems, and thus is a well-suited format for data exchange between computers and devices of almost any type and age from 1981 up to the present.
Originally designed in 1977 for use on floppy disks, FAT was soon adapted and used almost universally on hard disks throughout the DOS and Windows 9x eras for two decades. As disk drives evolved, the capabilities of the file system have been extended accordingly, resulting in three major file system variants: FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32. The FAT standard has also been expanded in other ways while generally preserving backward compatibility with existing software.
With the introduction of more powerful computers and operating systems, as well as the development of more complex file systems for them, FAT is no longer the default file system for usage on Microsoft Windows computers.FAT file systems are still commonly found on floppy disks, flash and other solid-state memory cards and modules (including USB flash drives), as well as many portable and embedded devices. FAT is the standard file system for digital cameras per the DCF specification.Fourth generation of video game consoles
In the history of computer and video games, the fourth generation (more commonly referred to as the 16-bit era) of game consoles began on October 30, 1987 with the Japanese release of NEC Home Electronics' PC Engine (known as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America). Although NEC released the first console of this era, sales were mostly dominated by the rivalry between Nintendo's and Sega's consoles in North America: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES; the Super Famicom in Japan) and the Sega Genesis (named the Mega Drive in other regions). Handheld systems released during this time include the Nintendo Game Boy, released in 1989, and the Sega Game Gear, first released in 1990.
Nintendo was able to capitalize on its success in the previous, third generation, and managed to win the largest worldwide market share in the fourth generation as well. Sega, however, was extremely successful in this generation and began a new franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog, to compete with Nintendo's Super Mario series of games. Several other companies released consoles in this generation, but none of them were widely successful. Nevertheless, there were other companies that started to take notice of the maturing video game industry and begin making plans to release consoles of their own in the future.
The emergence of fifth generation video game consoles, circa 1994, did not significantly diminish the popularity of fourth generation consoles for a few years. In 1996, however, there was a major drop in sales of hardware from this generation and a dwindling number of software publishers supporting fourth generation systems, which together led to a drop in software sales in subsequent years. Finally, this generation ended with the discontinuation of the Neo Geo in 2004.
Some features that distinguish fourth generation consoles from third generation consoles include:
Multi-button game controllers with many buttons (3 to 8)
Parallax scrolling of multi-layer tilemap backgrounds
Large sprites (up to 64×64 or 16×512 pixels), 80–380 sprites on screen, though limited to a smaller number per scan line
Elaborate colour, 64 to 4096 colours on screen, from palettes of 512 (9-bit) to 65,536 (16-bit) colours
Stereo audio, with multiple channels and digital audio playback (PCM, ADPCM, streaming CD-DA audio)
Advanced music synthesis (FM synthesis and wavetable sample-based synthesis)Additionally, in specific cases, fourth generation hardware featured:
Backgrounds with pseudo-3D scaling and rotation
Sprites that can individually be scaled and rotated
Flat-shaded 3D polygon graphics
CD-ROM support via add-ons, allowing larger storage space and full motion video playbackHalf-precision floating-point format
In computing, half precision is a binary floating-point computer number format that occupies 16 bits (two bytes in modern computers) in computer memory.
In the IEEE 754-2008 standard, the 16-bit base-2 format is referred to as binary16. It is intended for storage of floating-point values in applications where higher precision is not essential for performing arithmetic computations.
Although implementations of the IEEE Half-precision floating point are relatively new, several earlier 16-bit floating point formats have existed including that of Hitachi's HD61810 DSP of 1982, Scott's WIF and the 3dfx Voodoo Graphics processor.Nvidia and Microsoft defined the half datatype in the Cg language, released in early 2002, and implemented it in silicon in the GeForce FX, released in late 2002. ILM was searching for an image format that could handle a wide dynamic range, but without the hard drive and memory cost of floating-point representations that are commonly used for floating-point computation (single and double precision). The hardware-accelerated programmable shading group led by John Airey at SGI (Silicon Graphics) invented the s10e5 data type in 1997 as part of the 'bali' design effort. This is described in a SIGGRAPH 2000 paper (see section 4.3) and further documented in US patent 7518615.This format is used in several computer graphics environments including OpenEXR, JPEG XR, GIMP, OpenGL, Cg, and D3DX. The advantage over 8-bit or 16-bit binary integers is that the increased dynamic range allows for more detail to be preserved in highlights and shadows for images. The advantage over 32-bit single-precision binary formats is that it requires half the storage and bandwidth (at the expense of precision and range).The F16C extension allows x86 processors to convert half-precision floats to and from single-precision floats.Industry Standard Architecture
Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) is the 16-bit internal bus of IBM PC/AT and similar computers based on the Intel 80286 and its immediate successors during the 1980s. The bus was (largely) backward compatible with the 8-bit bus of the 8088-based IBM PC, including the IBM PC/XT as well as IBM PC compatibles.
Originally referred to as the PC/AT-bus, it was also termed I/O Channel by IBM. The ISA term was coined as a retronym by competing PC-clone manufacturers in the late 1980s or early 1990s as a reaction to IBM attempts to replace the AT-bus with its new and incompatible Micro Channel architecture.
The 16-bit ISA bus was also used with 32-bit processors for several years. An attempt to extend it to 32 bits, called Extended Industry Standard Architecture (EISA), was not very successful, however. Later buses such as VESA Local Bus and PCI were used instead, often along with ISA slots on the same mainboard. Derivatives of the AT bus structure were and still are used in ATA/IDE, the PCMCIA standard, Compact Flash, the PC/104 bus, and internally within Super I/O chips.Intel 8080
The Intel 8080 ("eighty-eighty") was the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and was released in April 1974. It is an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility. The initial specified clock frequency limit was 2 MHz, and with common instructions using 4, 5, 7, 10, or 11 cycles this meant that it operated at a typical speed of a few hundred thousand instructions per second. A faster variant 8080A-1 became available later with clock frequency limit up to 3.125 MHz.
The 8080 requires two support chips to function in most applications, the i8224 clock generator/driver and the i8228 bus controller, and it is implemented in NMOS using non-saturated enhancement mode transistors as loads therefore demanding a +12 V and a −5 V voltage in addition to the main TTL-compatible +5 V.
Although earlier microprocessors were used for calculators, cash registers, computer terminals, industrial robots, and other applications, the 8080 became one of the first really widespread microprocessors. Several factors contributed to its popularity: its 40-pin package made it easier to interface than the 18-pin 8008, and also made its data bus more efficient; its NMOS implementation gave it faster transistors than those of the PMOS 8008, while also simplifying interfacing by making it TTL-compatible; a wider variety of support chips was available; its instruction set was enhanced over the 8008; and its full 16-bit address bus (versus the 14-bit one of the 8008) enabled it to access 64 KB of memory, four times more than the 8008's range of 16 KB. It became the engine of the Altair 8800, and subsequent S-100 bus personal computers, until it was replaced by the Z80 in this role, and was the original target CPU for CP/M operating systems developed by Gary Kildall.
The 8080 was successful enough that compatibility at the assembly language level became a design requirement for the 8086 when design for it was started in 1976. This also means that the 8080 directly influenced the ubiquitous 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures of today.Intel 8086
The 8086 (also called iAPX 86 ) is a 16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel between early 1976 and June 8, 1978, when it was released. The Intel 8088, released July 1, 1979, is a slightly modified chip with an external 8-bit data bus (allowing the use of cheaper and fewer supporting ICs), and is notable as the processor used in the original IBM PC design, including the widespread version called IBM PC XT.
The 8086 gave rise to the x86 architecture, which eventually became Intel's most successful line of processors. On June 5, 2018, Intel released a limited edition CPU celebrating the anniversary of the Intel 8086, called the Intel Core i7-8086K.List of Nokia products
The following is a list of products branded by Nokia.List of home video game consoles
This is a list of home video game consoles in chronological order, which includes the very first home video game consoles ever created, such as first generation Pong consoles, from the first ever cartridge console Odyssey, ranging from the major video game companies such as Magnavox, Atari, Nintendo, Sega, NEC, 3DO, SNK, Sony, Microsoft to secondary market consoles.
The list is divided into eras which are named based on the dominant console type of the era, though not all consoles of those eras are of the same type. Some eras are referred to based on how many bits a major console could process. The "128-bit era" (sixth generation) was the final era in which this practice was widespread.This list does not include other types of video game consoles such as handheld game consoles, which are usually of lower computational power than home consoles due to their smaller size, microconsoles, which are usually low-cost Android-based devices that rely on downloading, or dedicated consoles past the First Generation, which have games built in and do not use any form of physical media. Consoles have been redesigned from time to time to improve their market appeal. Redesigned models are not listed on their own.Sega Genesis
The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in regions outside of North America, is a 16-bit home video game console developed and sold by Sega. The Genesis was Sega's third console and the successor to the Master System. Sega released the console as the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, followed by North America as the Genesis in 1989. In 1990, the console was distributed as the Mega Drive by Virgin Mastertronic in Europe, Ozisoft in Australasia, and Tec Toy in Brazil. In South Korea, the systems were distributed by Samsung as the Super Gam*Boy and later the Super Aladdin Boy.Designed by an R&D team supervised by Hideki Sato and Masami Ishikawa, the hardware was adapted from Sega's System 16 arcade board, centered on a Motorola 68000 processor as the CPU, a Zilog Z80 as a sound controller, and a video system supporting hardware sprites, tiles, and scrolling. The system plays a library of more than 900 games created by Sega and a wide array of third-party publishers and delivered on ROM-based cartridges. The Genesis has benefited from several add-ons, including a Power Base Converter to play Master System games, as well as multiple first and third party licensed variations of the console. Sega created two network services to support the Genesis: Sega Meganet and Sega Channel.
In Japan, the Mega Drive did not fare well against its two main competitors, Nintendo's Super Famicom and NEC's PC Engine, but it achieved considerable success in North America, Brazil, and Europe. Contributing to its success were its library of arcade game ports, the popularity of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, several popular sports franchises, and aggressive youth marketing that positioned the system as the cool console for adolescents. The release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System two years after the Genesis resulted in a fierce battle for market share in the United States and Europe that has often been termed as a "console war" by journalists and historians. As this contest drew increasing attention to the video game industry among the general public, the Genesis and several of its highest-profile games attracted significant legal scrutiny on matters involving reverse engineering and video game violence. Controversy surrounding violent games such as Night Trap and Mortal Kombat led Sega to create the Videogame Rating Council, a predecessor to the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
30.75 million first-party Genesis units were sold worldwide. In addition, Tec Toy sold an estimated three million licensed variants in Brazil, Majesco projected it would sell 1.5 million licensed variants of the system in the United States, and much smaller numbers were sold by Samsung in South Korea. By the mid-2010s, licensed third-party Genesis rereleases were still being sold by AtGames in North America and Europe. Many games have been rereleased in compilations or on online services such as the Nintendo Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Steam. The Genesis was succeeded in 1994 by the Sega Saturn.Snap!
Snap! are a German Eurodance group formed in 1989 by producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti. The act has been through a number of line-up changes over the years. Their best known hits are "The Power" and "Rhythm Is a Dancer" both of which took the Number 1 spot in multiple countries.Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform game developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis console, released worldwide in November 1992. It is the second main entry in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and introduced Sonic's sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower, controllable by a second player. In the story, Sonic and Tails must stop series antagonist Dr. Ivo Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his space station, the Death Egg.
Development of the game began in November 1991. The game was developed by both Japanese and American staff at Sega Technical Institute. Art director Tim Skelly designed the appearance of the new 3D special stages based on a tech demo created by Yuji Naka. The staff increased the speed of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in comparison to its predecessor. As with the first game, the soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 sold over six million copies, making it the second-bestselling Genesis game behind the original Sonic the Hedgehog. It received highly positive reviews from critics, who commended the game's level design and visuals, although its multiplayer mode was criticized. It has been rereleased on various platforms; a remastered version developed using the Retro Engine released on iOS and Android in December 2013. Two direct sequels, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, were released in 1994.UTF-16
UTF-16 (16-bit Unicode Transformation Format) is a character encoding capable of encoding all 1,112,064 valid code points of Unicode. The encoding is variable-length, as code points are encoded with one or two 16-bit code units (also see comparison of Unicode encodings for a comparison of UTF-8, -16 & -32).
The Windows API, informally WinAPI, is Microsoft's core set of application programming interfaces (APIs) available in the Microsoft Windows operating systems. The name Windows API collectively refers to several different platform implementations that are often referred to by their own names (for example, Win32 API); see the versions section. Almost all Windows programs interact with the Windows API. On the Windows NT line of operating systems, a small number (such as programs started early in the Windows startup process) use the Native API.Developer support is available in the form of a software development kit, Microsoft Windows SDK, providing documentation and tools needed to build software based on the Windows API and associated Windows interfaces.
The Windows API (Win32) is focused mainly on the programming language C in that its exposed functions and data structures are described in that language in recent versions of its documentation. However the API may be used by any programming language compiler or assembler able to handle the (well-defined) low-level data structures along with the prescribed calling conventions for calls and callbacks. Similarly, the internal implementation of the API's function has been developed in several languages, historically. Despite the fact that C is not an object-oriented programming language, the Windows API and Windows have both historically been described as object-oriented. There have also been many wrapper classes and extensions (from Microsoft and others) for object-oriented languages that make this object-oriented structure more explicit (Microsoft Foundation Class Library (MFC), Visual Component Library (VCL), GDI+, etc.). For instance, Windows 8 provides the Windows API and the WinRT API, which is implemented in C++ and is object-oriented by design.Word (computer architecture)
In computing, a word is the natural unit of data used by a particular processor design. A word is a fixed-sized piece of data handled as a unit by the instruction set or the hardware of the processor. The number of bits in a word (the word size, word width, or word length) is an important characteristic of any specific processor design or computer architecture.
The size of a word is reflected in many aspects of a computer's structure and operation; the majority of the registers in a processor are usually word sized and the largest piece of data that can be transferred to and from the working memory in a single operation is a word in many (not all) architectures. The largest possible address size, used to designate a location in memory, is typically a hardware word (here, "hardware word" means the full-sized natural word of the processor, as opposed to any other definition used).
Modern processors, including those in embedded systems, usually have a word size of 8, 16, 24, 32, or 64 bits; those in modern general-purpose computers in particular usually use 32 or 64 bits. Special-purpose digital processors, such as DSPs for instance, may use other sizes, and many other sizes have been used historically, including 9, 12, 18, 24, 26, 36, 39, 40, 48, and 60 bits. Several of the earliest computers (and a few modern as well) used binary-coded decimal rather than plain binary, typically having a word size of 10 or 12 decimal digits, and some early decimal computers had no fixed word length at all.
The size of a word can sometimes differ from the expected due to backward compatibility with earlier computers. If multiple compatible variations or a family of processors share a common architecture and instruction set but differ in their word sizes, their documentation and software may become notationally complex to accommodate the difference (see Size families below).X86
x86 is a family of instruction set architectures based on the Intel 8086 microprocessor and its 8088 variant. The 8086 was introduced in 1978 as a fully 16-bit extension of Intel's 8-bit 8080 microprocessor, with memory segmentation as a solution for addressing more memory than can be covered by a plain 16-bit address. The term "x86" came into being because the names of several successors to Intel's 8086 processor end in "86", including the 80186, 80286, 80386 and 80486 processors.
Many additions and extensions have been added to the x86 instruction set over the years, almost consistently with full backward compatibility. The architecture has been implemented in processors from Intel, Cyrix, AMD, VIA and many other companies; there are also open implementations, such as the Zet SoC platform. Nevertheless, of those, only Intel, AMD, and VIA hold x86 architectural licenses, and are producing modern 64-bit designs.The term is not synonymous with IBM PC compatibility, as this implies a multitude of other computer hardware; embedded systems, as well as general-purpose computers, used x86 chips before the PC-compatible market started, some of them before the IBM PC (1981) itself.
As of 2018, the majority of personal computers and laptops sold are based on the x86 architecture, while other categories—especially high-volume mobile categories such as smartphones or tablets—are dominated by ARM; at the high end, x86 continues to dominate compute-intensive workstation and cloud computing segments.