Ever hear about the chessboard and the rice grains?

It’s the dawn of the PC era, and management of this electronics design department decides it would be a good idea to computerize the component purchasing process. They’ve been using a hand-written, cardboard card cataloging system housed in several tub-top cabinets. But the edict is met with objections: Those new-fangled computers are notorious for dropped data bits in the memory and hard drive storage systems. So manager comes up with a workaround: We’ll add a checksum digit to all our parts numbers. A failed checksum calculation at any point in the process will flag a bad parts number that’s due to computer error. OK, boss, but will our data wranglers be able to make these checksum calculations? No problem, says Mr. Workaround; we’ll produce a lookup book of all possible parts numbers, with the checksum digit precalculated, and we’ll make that available to everyone who needs a parts number and its associated checksum.

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