Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo


Additive Systems

Go online. Google “additive number systems.”What system comes up?

  • Describe the additive system you found.

Using Google, identify three more additive systems of numbers.

  • Compare and contrast the systems you found. For instance, how many times can a symbol be used before a new symbol is used.
  • Identify three situations where additive systems are still used.

Computers and Bases

Use Google to determine what base computers use.

Were other bases attempted for use in computers?

Determine why the base used in computers is appropriate.

Determine how the base used in computers is related to the circuitry in computers.

Determine how Boolean logic and the base used in computers are related, and might be identical.

There is research into using quibits in computers. Find out what quibits are and how can they improve computing speed.

Cultures Using Base Systems Other Than 10

Using Google, find three cultures, other than Babylonian or Mayan, that use base systems other than 10.

  • Tell what base is used for each system.
  • If possible, determine why the culture used that base system.
  • Choose one of those systems. Explain that base system. Be sure to address whether the system is additive, place-value based, a blend of the two, and if it employs a zero.

History of Zero

Using any resources available to you, determine the history of 0 in at least three different numbering systems. Address at least when and why such a development occurred and why a 0 is vital to the use of a positional system.

Numbering Systems from Other Global Regions

Using any resources available to you, find at least three numbering systems from sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, China, or the Pacific Islands. Explore if they are positional or additive systems (or combinations!), the terminology of the system, if they used a 0, and what base they employed (if positional).

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Dec 21, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.