My Two Bit's Worth on Information Unit Nomenclature

For half a century the world has been afflicted by a continual confusion of nomenclature between physical data storage capacity, denoted in bits, and information-theoretic information content, denoted in bits.

These quantities are as different as Amps and Watts, and confusing the two is just as pernicious. The electrical community was wise enough early on to give entirely different names to Amps and Watts, in the process honoring early pioneers of the field.

The computing community, alas, has not been as wise.

It is time to rectify this oversight!

Consequently, I (at least) will henceforth adopt the "Shannon" as the formal name for the unit of information content. Since the lazy tongues (and fingers) of the technical community routinely truncate "Ampere" to "Amp" in informal usage, I will feel free to similarly truncate "Shannons" to "Shan".

Cynbe, Fri Jun 13 18:17:02 CDT 2008

[1] Besides, who wants to use "Kolmogorovs" as a unit name? :)

Cynbe ru Taren
Last modified: Fri Jun 13 18:32:08 CDT 2008