The use of zero as a number appeared in Egyptian number systems. It was used, however, only between two numbers to indicate an empty position, never at the end of a number.

While the early Chinese did not have a symbol for zero, the invention and use of their abacus suggests that they had an implied appreciation for positional base notation and zero as a number.

The Mayans did have a zero symbol, but their inconsistency in base notation rendered it virtually useless for computations. The first use of zero as a place holder in positional base notation was due probably to Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.

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