Decimal computation system

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A positional number system to the base 10. The modern decimal system can be traced to India, where a decimal place-value system was in use approximately 600 A.D.. It obtained the name of "Arabic" number system, since it first became known in Europe via Arabic sources. The notation of a number in the decimal computation system is compact and convenient in performing arithmetical operations. Owing to its obvious advantages over alphabetic systems and the Roman number system, it has been universally adopted.


The earliest written evidence of numbers in decimal place-value notation was found in India. It is commonly assumed (1988) that the system originated in India, but the date is unknown, and the Indian origin is disputed by some scholars. Apart from the designation "Arabic systemArabic system" (cf. also Arabic numerals) the phrase "Hindu–Arabic systemHindu–Arabic system" is also in use.

About the Roman system see Roman numerals, for yet another system see, e.g., Slavic numerals.

How to Cite This Entry:
Decimal computation system. V.I. Nechaev (originator), Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This text originally appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098