A byte is a information unit formed by a string of adjacent bits . The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy points out that byte stands for octet (an information unit of eight bits ); however, the size of the byte (which comes from English bite, "nibble" ) depends on the character code in which it has been defined.
It is important to underline the fact that there is no standard that has officially established the symbol that corresponds to the byte. So far we find that it is identified in two ways fundamentally. Thus, in French-speaking countries it is represented by an "o" while in Anglo-Saxon it corresponds to the "B".
The term was proposed by Werner Buchholz more than five decades ago, in the midst of computer development IBM 7030 Stretch . Initially, byte was used to mention instructions that consisted of 4 bits and that allowed the inclusion of between 1 and 16 bits per byte. However, the design work then narrowed the byte to three-bit fields, which allowed between 1 and 8 bits in one byte. Over time, the size of a byte was fixed in 8 bits and declared as a standard from IBM S / 360 .
The notion of 8 bits allows to describe, in the architecture of the computers or computers , the addresses of memory and other data units that can span up to 8 bits wide. The concept also allows mentioning the architecture of CPU and ALU which is based on records of the same width.
It is known as nibble , on the other hand, in the middle of 1 byte of eight bits. Just as the byte is usually named as an octet, for the same reason the nibble can be mentioned as semioctet .
The byte has several multiples, such as kilobyte (1,000 bytes), megabyte (1,000,000 bytes), gibabyte (1,000,000,000 bytes) and terabyte (1,000,000,000,000 bytes), among others.
Fundamental is the role played by the byte and the rest of the equivalences cited within the field of informatics because they are used as measures to refer to the capacity of various devices such as, for example, what is RAM, a CD, a dvd or a pen drive.
Thus, for example, we know that a CD usually has a storage capacity of about 700 Megabytes, a DVD usually exceeds Gigabyte and the pen, meanwhile, currently has a huge diversity of capacity. In this way in the computer market we find devices of this type that have a capacity of 4 gigabytes, 8 gigabytes or 16 gigabytes, among others.
A tendency of the latter, which is also characteristic of the so-called memory cards or portable hard drives that currently have a wide variety of storage properties. Thus, for quite economical and interesting prices, in hard warehouses dedicated to the world of computers you can find hard drives of the aforementioned that even reach 1 Terabyte.