Words of Wisdom:

"A friend is the one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." - Jod

You Change with You World Will Cgange

  • Date Submitted: 08/29/2011 08:40 AM
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Binary Numbers Overview
Binary is a number system used by digital devices like computers, cd players, etc.

Binary is Base 2, unlike our counting system decimal which is Base 10 (denary).

In other words, Binary has only 2 different numerals (0 and 1) to denote a value, unlike Decimal which has 10 numerals (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9).

Here is an example of a binary number: 10011100

As you can see it is simply a bunch of zeroes and ones, there are 8 numerals in all which make this an 8 bit binary number. Bit is short for Binary Digit, and each numeral is classed as a bit.

The bit on the far right, in this case a 0, is known as the Least significant bit (LSB).

The bit on the far left, in this case a 1, is known as the Most significant bit (MSB)
notations used in digital systems:
4 bits = Nibble
8 bits = Byte
16 bits = Word
32 bits = Double word
64 bits = Quad Word (or paragraph)
When writing binary numbers you will need to signify that the number is binary (base 2), for example, let's take the value 101. As it is written, it would be hard to work out whether it is a binary or decimal (denary) value. To get around this problem it is common to denote the base to which the number belongs, by writing the base value with the number, for example:

1012 is a binary number and 10110 is a decimal (denary) value.

Once we know the base then it is easy to work out the value, for example:

1012 = 1*22 + 0*21 + 1*20 = 5 (five)

10110 = 1*102 + 0*101 + 1*100 = 101 (one hundred and one)

One other thing about binary numbers is that it is common to signify a negative binary value by placing a 1 (one) at the left hand side (most significant bit) of the value. This is called a sign bit, we will discuss this in more detail in the next part of the tutorial.
Electronically binary numbers are stored/processed using off or on electrical pulses, a digital system will interpret these off and on states as 0 and 1. In other words if the...


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