Understand the following number bases:
|Understand that computers use binary to represent all data and instructions.||Students should be familiar with the idea that a bit pattern could represent different types of data including text, image, sound and integer.|
|Explain why hexadecimal is often used in computer science.|
We usually use Arabic numbers, which are base 10, or decimal. Computers use binary, which is base 2. This page deals with numbers in other bases. Enter a number to convert it to a different base, or count in a base.
How numbers in other bases work
In Arabic numbers (decimal, or base 10), there are 10 digits: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. You need one digit each to count up to 9, but two digits for ten, and three digits for a hundred, which is ten times ten. In Binary, base 2, you need two digits for two, as you only have two digits, 0 and 1. Base 5 has five digits, and the number five becomes 10. For base 16, you will need sixteen digits, and there are only ten numerals. So we use the letters A,B,C,D,E,F. These represent the decimal numbers 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Look at the table below and find the pattern for these bases.
|Base 10||Base 2||Base 3||Base 4||Base 5||Base 8||Base 16|
Base systems like binary and hexadecimal seem a bit strange at first. The key is understanding how different systems “tick over” like an odometer when they are full. Base 10, our decimal system, “ticks over” when it gets 10 items, creating a new digit. We wait 60 seconds before “ticking over” to a new minute. Hex and binary are similar, but tick over every 16 and 2 items, respectively.