Binary is a number system used in digital electronics and computer science. It consists of only two digits, 0 and 1, and is commonly referred to as base-2 because it only has two digits to represent all possible values.
In contrast, our decimal number system (base-10) consists of ten digits, 0-9, and is used in everyday life. However, computers operate on binary because it’s easier and faster to manipulate two states (on and off) than ten.
To understand binary, it’s helpful to first understand how our decimal number system works. In decimal, each digit represents a power of 10, starting from the right-most digit. For example, the number 365 can be broken down as:
scssCopy code<code>3 x 10^2 (300)
6 x 10^1 (60)
5 x 10^0 (5)
In binary, each digit represents a power of 2, starting from the right-most digit. For example, the binary number 1011 can be broken down as:
scssCopy code<code>1 x 2^3 (8)
0 x 2^2 (0)
1 x 2^1 (2)
1 x 2^0 (1)
Adding these values together gives us the decimal equivalent of 11.
Binary is important in computer science because all digital devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets, operate on a binary system. Data is stored and manipulated using binary code, which is a series of 1s and 0s. Each individual 1 or 0 is referred to as a binary digit, or bit for short.
In order to represent more complex data types, such as letters, numbers, and symbols, binary code is combined in specific ways to create characters using ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) or Unicode encoding. These character codes are then translated by the computer into the corresponding letters, numbers, or symbols that we see on our screens.
Binary is also important in computer programming because it’s used to represent logic gates, which are the building blocks of computer circuitry. Logic gates use Boolean algebra to perform mathematical operations and make decisions based on binary inputs.
In conclusion, binary is a fundamental concept in computer science and digital electronics. By understanding how it works and how it’s used, we can better understand how digital devices and computer programs operate.