In the simplest
terms, computers can be described as a series of on/off switches. Data
is fed in by an array of such switches. There are only two possible positions
for each switch, on or off. Programmers represent these positions as 1 for
on and 0 for off. Thus, information can be represented as binary numerals
like 10110111. The number of digits corresponds to the number of switches.
As computers have gotten larger, this information has grown from 8 bits (binary
digits) to 16, 32, 64, and even 128 bits. Numerals this large become unwieldy,
so we like to represent them by shorter numeral types like octal or hexadecimal.
It is also useful to know the decimal equivalent of these numerals.
It is occasionally useful to know the decimal equivalent of a particular binary location N. This is the same as 2 to the power of N. The lower row of the converter is designed for this purpose. Enter the location (radix) into the first field and then click the "=" button. |