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Optical scanning components of supermarket systems require machine-readable code. The need for industry-wide cooperation and standardization of a code and symbol was shown. The sources of decoding error in printed optical codes were discussed and a class of codes, the (n, k ) codes, relatively resistant to error, were presented. The UPC code is a (7, 2) code. The UPC code and a method of decoding it were described. Decodability depends on several parameters; their quantitative relationships and effects upon decodability are found in another paper.
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