The abacus (: abaci or abacuses), also called a counting frame, is a hand-operated calculating tool of unknown origin used since ancient times in the ancient Near East, Europe, China, and Russia, millennia before the adoption of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.
The abacus consists of multiple columns of slidable beads (or similar objects). In their earliest designs, the columns of beads could be loose on a flat surface or sliding in grooves. Later the beads were made to slide on rods and built into a frame, allowing faster manipulation.
Each column typically represents one digit of a multi-digit number laid out using a positional numeral system such as base ten (though some cultures used different numerical bases). Roman and East Asian abacuses use a system resembling bi-quinary coded decimal, with a top deck (containing one or two beads) representing fives and a bottom rank (containing four or five beads) representing ones. Natural numbers are normally used, but some allow simple