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In mathematics and computer science, base-16, hexadecimal, or simply hex, is a numeral system with a radix or base of 16 usually written using the symbols 0–9 and A–F or a–f. The current hexadecimal system was first introduced to the computing world in 1963 by IBM. An earlier version, using the digits 0–9 and u–z, was used by the Bendix G-15 computer, introduced in 1956.
For example, the decimal numeral 79 whose binary representation is 01001111 can be written as 4F in hexadecimal (4 = 0100, F = 1111). It was IBM that decided on the prefix of "hexa" rather than the proper Latin prefix of "sexa". The word "hexadecimal" is strange in that hexa is derived from the Greek έξι (hexi) for "six" and decimal is derived from the Latin for "tenth". It may have been derived from the Latin root, but Greek deka is so similar to the Latin decem that some would not consider this nomenclature inconsistent. An older term was the incorrect Latin-like "sexidecimal" (correct Latin is "sedecim" for 16), but that was changed because some people thought it too risqué, and it also had an alternative meaning of "base 60". However, the word "sexagesimal" (base 60) retains the prefix. The earlier Bendix documentation used the term "sexadecimal". Schwartzman notes: “Since "hexadecimal" is a rather long word, it is sometimes abbreviated "hex". The word "hexadecimal" is unusual because Greek and Latin elements are combined; the expected purely Latin form would be "sexadecimal", but then computer hackers would be tempted to shorten the word to "sex".” Donald Knuth has pointed out that the etymologically correct term is "senidenary", from the Latin term for "grouped by 16". (The terms "binary", "ternary" and "quaternary" are from the same Latin construction, and the etymologically correct term for "decimal" arithmetic should be "denary".)