Great Inventions: Drawing the Numbers

The problem is to represent X number of things using symbols. You can represent numbers by dots (unary system) and put down as many dots as X. That quickly becomes laborious and boring if you were to write down a large number. Ancient Romans invented way to map numbers to symbols. If that system was still in wide use, solaris mpstat command would have produced an output like this:
CPU minf mjf xcal  intr ithr  csw icsw migr smtx  srw syscl  usr sys  wt idl
  -   XVI   I    -   CDLXXXIV  CCCLXXXIV  DXXII   XXXV    -    -    -   DCCXVI   X   IV   -  LXXXV
  -  CDLXXXIV   -    -   DXXX  CDXXIX  DLXXXIX   XIII    -    -    -  MDLXXV    IX   IV   -  LXXXVII
  -    -   -    -   DCCXCVI  DCXCVII MCXXVIII   XXVI    -    -    -  MMCCLXII    V   IV   -  XCI
  -    -   -    -   DCCCXXX  DCCXXIX MCCCXXXIII  CCXIII    -    I    -  MMMCCCXLIII   XXI   V   -  LXXIV
  -    -   -    -   DXXIX  CDXXX  DXXII    IV    -    -    -   DCCCLXXII    IV   III   -  XCIII
  -  CXXVI   -    -   CDLXXI  CCCLXX  CDLIII   XXVII    -    -    -   DLXXXV    VIII   III   -  LXXXIX
  -    -   -    -   DLXXIV  CDLXXIV  DCLXX    V    -    -    -  MCCXXVI    IV   III   -  XCIII
  -    -   -    -   DCCLXXXII  DCLXXXII MCLXX   XLV    -    -    -  MMCDXCI    V   IV   -  XCI
  -    -   -    -   DCCCXXIII  DCCXXIII MCCCLIII  CLXXI    -    -    -  MMMCDLXV   XVIII   V   -  LXXVII
Luckily we had the "base" system where numbers are divided in the form of Symbol X basen + Symbol X basen-1 + ... + Symbol X base0. You just drop the \* basen repeaters and draw the symbols next to each other to get the graphical representation of a number.
CPU minf mjf xcal  intr ithr  csw icsw migr smtx  srw syscl  usr sys  wt idl
  0   16   1    0   484  384  522   35    0    0    0   716   10   4   0  85
  0  484   0    0   530  429  589   13    0    0    0  1575    9   4   0  87
  0    0   0    0   796  697 1128   26    0    0    0  2262    5   4   0  91
  0    0   0    0   830  729 1333  213    0    1    0  3343   21   5   0  74
  0    0   0    0   529  430  522    4    0    0    0   872    4   3   0  93
  0  126   0    0   471  370  453   27    0    0    0   585    8   3   0  89
  0    0   0    0   574  474  670    5    0    0    0  1226    4   3   0  93
  0    0   0    0   782  682 1170   45    0    0    0  2491    5   4   0  91
  0    0   0    0   823  723 1353  171    0    0    0  3465   18   5   0  77
The base system made the common cases easy: common cases are compare two numbers, remember and write numbers, add or subtract numbers. Life would have been so difficult without the base representation; an early application of human interaction principle, made so much difference!
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