Recommendation 2 of the 85th CIPM (1996)

Binary multiples of units used in information technology

The Comité International des Poids et Mesures,


  • that the Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures has adopted a series of prefixes to be used in forming the decimal multiples and sub-multiples of SI units,
  • that there is an increasing need in information technology to express multiples of units such as the bit and byte,
  • that the use of the SI prefixes in information technology to express binary multiples of such units leads to confusion,

recalling that the SI prefixes represent strictly powers of ten,

noting that work is under way, notably within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) but also in other organizations, aimed at finding alternative ways of expressing binary multiples,

strongly supports the IEC in its efforts to reach agreement on names and symbols for prefixes denoting powers of two for use in information technology world-wide.

reference The reader should note that the official version of this Resolution is the French text

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