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in relation to a set of distinguishable elements,
either (l) the number of distinct elements, or (2) the logarithm
to the base 2 of that number, the context indicating the sense
used. When variety is measured in the logarithmic form, its unit
is the bit," a contraction of "BInary digiT." (Ashby, 1956, P.
the amount of output from a system is limited by the
variety possible within the system and/or the variety of input to
the system. The number of possible alternative communications
between the two systems is limited by that system having the
fewest output alternatives and/or the fewest input alternatives.
(Charles E. Osgood)
That aggregate (see aggregation) property of a set, collection or variable indicating the number of mutually exclusive alternatives available within it. Variety may be expressed either by the simple number of distinct elements (see degree of freedom) or by the dual logarithm thereof (see uncertainty, bit). (Krippendorff))