MARIE bit question?

Knowing that MARIE has 9 operations/instructions, how many bits are needed to represent all of them?

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  • 2 months ago

    A sequence of n bits has 2^n different patterns.  If you need to represent K different things with n bits, that means you need:

        K <= 2^n

        log K <= n * log 2

        (log K)/(log 2) <= n

    When K == 9, that's n >= (log 9)/(log 2) = 3.169925+.

    The smallest integer n that works is n==4.

    For small problems like this, it's helpful to memorize the small powers of 2, at least up to 2^10 = 1,024.  Knowing that 2^3 == 8 and 2^4 == 16 would instantly get you to the answer that at least 4 bits are needed.

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