Fundamentals of Data Representation: Bit patterns in a computer

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UNIT 1 - ⇑ Fundamentals of Data Representation ⇑

Bit patterns in a computer Binary number system →


The language that a computer understands is very simple, so simple that it only has 2 different numbers: 1 and 0. This is called Binary. Everything you see on a computer, images, sounds, games, text, videos, spreadsheets, websites etc. Whatever it is, it will be stored as a string of ones and zeroes.

monochrome image of a smiley face

Bit - a standard unit to measure computer memory, consisting of of a value that is either 1 or 0


Byte - a standard unit to measure computer memory, consisting of 8 bits. e.g. 10101011


Exercise: Bit patterns in a Computer

How do computers store data?

Answer :

as binary values, using a pattern of 1s and 0s

What sort of data can be stored in binary?

Answer :

  • Video
  • Sound
  • Picture
  • Text
  • Code
  • Spreadsheet
  • Game
  • etc

What does the following binary string represent: 10011100

Answer :

This could be anything:

  • sound data
  • picture data
  • text ASCII for œ
  • unsigned integer = 156
  • video data
  • etc

How many bits in a byte?

Answer :

8

How many bits in a 7 bytes?

Answer :

7 * 8 = 56