What is BINARY DIGITS (bits)?

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“There are two kinds of people in this world, those who understand Binary and those who don’t.”

Probably you’ve heard someone saying that computers use BINARY ( 0 and 1 ) to create letters and numbers, and that all the images, videos and audio on your devices are series of 1s and 0s. Yes! It’s true!
These two values are switches, 1 represents ON and 0 represents OFF or sometimes they are represented as TRUE or FALSE. In digital storage they are termed as the Unit of Information.

The computer hardware circuits only have two electrical states, ON or OFF. All letters of the alphabet, numbers, and symbols are converted into binary as you work with the software in your computer. Look closely at your computer’s power button you will see 1 and 0 designed as a symbol on the button.Switch-Off-iconIn our everyday life we use the BASE 10 number system that is 0123456789. The computer uses BASE 2 that is 1 and 0 to represent values. And to be precise, that’s the only thing the computer’s processor (CPU) can understand.
If you’re in the computer world I guess you’ve heard people saying am having a 32bit or 64bit computer system, or my RAM is 512mb etc. And also look at the storage devices that we normally use today like flash drives, memory cards, their sizes are usually these numbers 128, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1. We got these numbers by multiplying each number by 2 to get the next one on the left. With these 8 bit numbers, computers can create any number from 0-255. Okay! now Networking guys are thinking of “IP Address and subnet mask”…

Let’s see how this works:

Let’s use the 8 bit numbers to create a binary number from it.
To follow along write the numbers on a piece paper as I arranged them below.
Let’s create the number 13 from these numbers.

128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1

Starting from the biggest number.

  1. Can 128 go into 13? No! So put 0 under the 128.
  2. Can 64 go into 13? No! Put 0 under 64.
  3. Can 32 go into 13? No! Put 0 under 32.
  4. Can 16 go into 13? No! Put 0 under 16.
  5. Can 8 go into 13? Yes! Now put 1 under 8.
  6. Now if you add the next number which is 4 to 8, will you get 13? No! You will get 12 which is not more that 13 so put 1 under 4.
  7. Okay fine, let’s hold on to the 12. So how about if we add the 12 to the next number which is 2, we’ll get 14 which is more than 13. So put 0 under 2.
  8. Now add 12 to the last number which is 1. Now we get the number 13. So put 1 under 1. (The moment you have the number you are looking for, the numbers that follows will all be 0). Huuuuh! All these just to get the number 13? Yes! It’s difficult for us but easy for the computer.

Now let’s collect all those 1s and 0s We have created starting from the first one. That will give us 00001101.
So that’s number 13 in binary. To confirm, add all the 8 bit numbers that are having 1 underneath them. 8+4+1=13.

To understand it better try another number for example your age. My age is 00011101, what’s yours? Have fun! Happy BINARY!

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