A unit of information, circa 1995 (as the nit) – present.
The nat began life, apparently among researchers in Australia, as the nit, derived from Natural logarithm and bIT.1,2 It was soon realized, however, that nit was already the name of an established unit, and the name was changed to nat.
1. Darren M. Platt and Trevor I. Dix.
A Model for Comparing Genomic Restriction Maps
Proceedings of the 28th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences - 1995.
Page 25: “If we measure information in bits, then logarithms are taken to base 2. It is usually convenient to use natural logarithms, in which case the information is measured in natural bits or nits. One nit is equal to 1.443 bits.”
2. D. M. Boulton and C. S. Wallace.
A Program for Numerical Classification.
The Computer Journal, vol. 13, No. 1 (February 1970).
Page 63: “If natural logarithms are used the message length is measured in ln2 bits (i.e., nits).”
IEC 80000-13:2008. Quantities and units -- Part 13: Information science and technology.
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Last revised: June 6, 2006.