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The Use of Binary Number System in Digital Computers

Since computers only process digital information, it requires only digital input. Even if an analog input is sent to a computer, the hardware part of the computer digitize the analog signal and convert it into a binary format that the computer can understand.

Why Does Computer Needs Binary System?

The question seems pretty simple but the answer is not as straightforward. To get to an appropriate answer, first, we have to understand why engineers who design today’s computers use binary number system instead of using the decimal number system.

Nowadays binary computers are used rather than decimal computers because decimal computers are complicated to differentiate the states.

Digital computers use switches with two states; “on” and “off”. This means that it just needs two numbers : 0 and 1 to represent each state. Here “ 0 “ represents the “ ON “ state and “ 1 ” represents the “  OFF” state. On the other hand, if the computer uses decimal number system, it consumes a lot of time to represent the states.

The computer consists of the software and hardware part. In the hardware part, signals are of the analog form. Whereas, in the software part, the information is in digital form. The analog signal here is sinusoidal in nature, its behaviour is studied exclusively under mathematics using trigonometric functions. The computer needs an Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) which helps to convert the input analog signal to a digital signal before it can be read. After all the computation and processing gets over, it sends back the digital signal to the analog signal with the help of Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC).

Since the computer uses physical properties, it does not understand the human properties which are implemented in decimal number system. To avoid this complexity, computer uses binary numbers. Moreover, it is very easy to implement binary elements in hardware part of the computer like transistor because the heart of the digital computers is the processing power. It provides reliability and accuracy. The whole storage system of a computer is based on a series of trillions of switches using binary numbers which is a good practice. As one can see the computer or precise hard disk, it contains a magnetic tape having the properties of attracting (unlike poles) and repelling(like poles) which also maintains the two states.

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