Term: binary

Binary is a number system that uses only two digits: 0 and 1.

Because there are only two digits, each position in a binary number represents a power of two as you move from right to left.

  • 1 represents two to the “zeroth” power, or … 1.
  • 1x represents two to the first power, or 2.
  • 1xx represents two to the second power, or 4.
  • 1xxx represents two to the third power, or 8.
  • and so on …

So the binary number 0111 actually represents what we would call seven: 4+2+1.

A single digit is referred to as a bit.

Binary numbers are pretty much the definition of digital computing. Everything is stored on digital computers as binary numbers – in other words, everything is stored as zeros and ones.

And by everything, I do mean everything: text, video, music, pictures, documents, PowerPoint presentations, webpages, glossary definitions, and occasionally even numbers are represented as nothing more than a collection of zeros and ones.

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