[music-dsp] platform choice

Richard Dobson richarddobson at blueyonder.co.uk
Mon Nov 2 04:18:47 EST 2009

David Cournapeau wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 6:06 AM, Victor Lazzarini
> <Victor.Lazzarini at nuim.ie> wrote:
>> Of course, you can create a C++ template to do this
>> (I am not sure there is one in STL, but there might be).
>> The question is why, since 0-indexing makes much more
>> sense.
> It is really nothing more than a convention. 

Hmm, not really. In real life, computers depend on integer types. We all 
know that an 8bit number can represent up to 256 distinct values; that 
would be 0-255, not 1-256. If we want to count to ten using one digit, 
it has to be 0-9, not 1-10.

Why waste a number?

It all comes down to the perennial mixup between formal (cardinal, 
ordinal) number theory and "natural language" - there is zero, but we 
don't normally speak of "a zeroth item" when counting: humans who insist 
on thinking like a human, v the computer that thinks like a computer (at 
least, like one with fixed-size integer types).

~Computers~ naturally count from zero - perhaps all we need is to add 
one to each value when printing to the screen. Happens all the time.

Richard Dobson

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