/zee'rohth/ adj. First. Among software designers, comes
from C's and LISP's 0-based indexing of arrays. Hardware people
also tend to start counting at 0 instead of 1; this is natural
since, e.g., the 256 states of 8 bits correspond to the binary
numbers 0, 1, ..., 255 and the digital devices known as `counters'
count in this way.
Hackers and computer scientists often like to call the first
chapter of a publication `chapter 0', especially if it is of an
introductory nature (one of the classic instances was in the First
Edition of K&R
). In recent years this trait has also been
observed among many pure mathematicians (who have an independent
tradition of numbering from 0). Zero-based numbering tends to
reduce fencepost error
s, though it cannot eliminate them