The -yllion system is a fabricated system invented by Donald Knuth for naming large numbers.[1]

Usage Edit

Numbers up to 999 are named as they are normally.

Numbers from 1000 to 9999 are written without a comma and pronounced "a-ty b hundred c-ty d" for the number abcd. For example, 7283 is pronounced "seventy-two hundred eighty-three." The word thousand is not used in this system.

\(10^4\) is called the myriad. All numbers from the myriad up to 9999,9999 are written with a comma between the ten thousands and thousands place. For example, 54325 would be written 5,4325.

Such numbers are pronounced like so:

  • 45,7839 is pronounced "forty-five myriad seventy-eight hundred thirty-nine."
  • 2423,3000 is pronounced "twenty-four hundred twenty-three myriad thirty hundred."
  • 9999,9999 is pronounced "ninety-nine hundred ninety-nine myriad ninety-nine hundred ninety-nine."

\(10^8\) is called the myllion. It is written 1;0000,0000. Note that a new punctuation mark, a semicolon, was used to represent the myllions place. Numbers up to 9999,9999;9999,9999 are named in the same way as the above numbers are pronounced: each group of four digits is pronounced as written above, and the commas are pronounced "myriad." The only difference is that the semicolon (;) is pronounced "myllion."

\(10^{16}\) is called the byllion. It is written 1:0000,0000;0000,0000. Note that a new punctuation mark, a colon, was used to represent the byllions place. Numbers up to 9999,9999;9999,9999:9999,9999;9999,9999 are pronounced as above, but the colon (:) is pronounced "byllion."

Continuing in this method, we have n-yllion \(= 10^{2^{n+2}}\), allowing the tryllion, quadryllion, quintyllion, etc.

Sources Edit

  1. The Knuth -yllion Notation - Large Numbers (page 2) at MROB

See alsoEdit

The Chinese numeral system also had one scale in which each symbol was the square of the next.

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