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Acronym for binary digiT and the unit of measurement for variety, uncertainty, statistical entropy and information, all of which are quantified in terms of the (average) number of binary digits required to count a given number of alternatives (see degree of freedom). Equivalent interpretations of this unit are the average number of decisions required to exhaust a given number of alternatives, the average number of relays needed to represent a certain number, the average number of answers to yes-no questions necessary to select one out of a given number of objects. Thus the answer to a yes-or-no question conveys one bit of information. Two distinctions create four alternatives and not knowing which is desirable measures two bits of uncertainty. A Hollerith card with 12-by-80 places, each of which may be punched or left solid, can store 960 bits of information. More generally, n equally likely alternatives correspond to log_2 n bits (see law of requisite variety). (krippendorff)
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