Number systems are a fundamental part of mathematics and computing. They are used to represent and manipulate numbers in different ways. They are essential for various applications, from cryptography to computer graphics. This article will explore the basics of number systems, including the most common bases, how to convert between them, and their practical applications.

What is a Number System? |

Binary Number System |

Octal Number System |

Hexadecimal Number System |

Applications of Number Systems |

## What is a Number System?

A number system represents numbers using a finite set of symbols known as digits. The most common number system is the decimal system, which uses ten digits (0 to 9) to represent all possible numbers. In this system, each digit represents a different power of ten, starting with 10^0 (which is equal to 1) and increasing by a factor of ten for each subsequent digit.

For example, the number 1234 in the decimal system can be broken down as follows:

1 x 10^3 + 2 x 10^2 + 3 x 10^1 + 4 x 10^0

= 1000 + 200 + 30 + 4

= 1234

While the decimal system is the most common, it is not the only number system. There are many other systems that use different bases, or sets of digits. Some of the most common bases include binary, octal, and hexadecimal.

## Binary Number System

The binary system uses just two digits, 0 and 1, to represent all possible numbers. This system is commonly used in computing, where the binary digits, or bits, represent the on and off states of electronic devices.

In the binary system, each digit represents a different power of two, starting with 2^0 (equal to 1) and increasing by a factor of two for each subsequent digit.

For example, the binary number 1011 can be broken down as follows:

1 x 2^3 + 0 x 2^2 + 1 x 2^1 + 1 x 2^0

= 8 + 0 + 2 + 1

= 11

Binary numbers can be easily converted to decimal by adding up the values of each digit, as shown in the example above. To convert a decimal number to binary, you can use a process known as division by two. This involves dividing the number by two and recording the remainder, and then repeating the process with the quotient until the quotient is zero.

For example, to convert the decimal number 13 to binary, we can follow these steps:

13 ÷ 2 = 6 remainder 1

6 ÷ 2 = 3 remainder 0

3 ÷ 2 = 1 remainder 1

1 ÷ 2 = 0 remainder 1

So the binary representation of 13 is 1101.

## Octal Number System

The octal system uses eight digits, 0 to 7, to represent all possible numbers. This system is sometimes used in computing, particularly in older systems that used 12-bit or 24-bit words.

In the octal system, each digit represents a different power of eight, starting with 8^0 (which is equal to 1) and increasing by a factor of eight for each subsequent digit.

For example, the octal number 123 can be broken down as follows:

1 x 8^2 + 2 x 8^1 + 3 x 8^0

= 64 + 16 + 3

= 83

To convert a decimal number to octal, you can use a similar process to the one used for binary conversion. However, instead of dividing by two, you divide by

eight and record the remainder. You continue the process with the quotient until the quotient is zero. The remainders are then read in reverse order to get the octal representation of the decimal number.

For example, to convert the decimal number 45 to octal, we can follow these steps:

45 ÷ 8 = 5 remainder 5 (the remainder 5 is the last digit in the octal representation)

5 ÷ 8 = 0 remainder 5 (the remainder 5 is the next digit in the octal representation)

So the octal representation of 45 is 55.

Similarly, to convert an octal number to decimal, you can use a process similar to the one used for binary and hexadecimal conversion. However, instead of multiplying by two or sixteen, you multiply by eight and add up the results for each digit.

For example, to convert the octal number 62 to decimal, we can follow these steps:

6 x 8^1 + 2 x 8^0

= 48 + 2

= 50

So the decimal representation of 62 is 50.

## Hexadecimal Number System

The hexadecimal system uses sixteen digits, 0 to 9 and A to F, to represent all possible numbers. This system is commonly used in computing, particularly in systems that work with binary data, as it allows large numbers to be represented with fewer digits than in the binary system.

In the hexadecimal system, each digit represents a different power of sixteen, starting with 16^0 (equal to 1) and increasing by a factor of sixteen for each subsequent digit. The digits A to F represent the values 10 to 15, respectively.

For example, the hexadecimal number AB can be broken down as follows:

A x 16^1 + B x 16^0

= 10 x 16^1 + 11 x 16^0

= 160 + 11

= 171

To convert a decimal number to hexadecimal, you can use a process similar to the one used for binary and octal conversion. However, instead of dividing by two or eight, you divide by sixteen and record the remainder. Then, repeat the process with the quotient until the quotient is zero. The remainders are then converted to hexadecimal digits.

For example, to convert the decimal number 294 to hexadecimal, we can follow these steps:

294 ÷ 16 = 18 remainder 6 (the remainder 6 is equal to the hexadecimal digit 6)

18 ÷ 16 = 1 remainder 2 (the remainder 2 is equal to the hexadecimal digit 2)

1 ÷ 16 = 0 remainder 1 (the remainder 1 is equal to the hexadecimal digit 1)

So the hexadecimal representation of 294 is 126.

Hexadecimal numbers can also be converted to binary and vice versa, as each hexadecimal digit corresponds to a four-bit binary number. For example, the hexadecimal number 2A equals the binary number 0010 1010.

## Applications of Number Systems

Number systems are used in various applications, particularly in computing and cryptography. In computing, different number systems are used to represent and manipulate data, including numbers, characters, and graphics.

For example, in computer graphics, colors are often represented using a hexadecimal code, where each pair of digits represents the values of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The code #FF0000 represents pure red, #00FF00 represents pure green, and #0000FF represents pure blue.

In cryptography, number systems are used to represent and manipulate large numbers, which are used as keys in encryption and decryption algorithms. The security of these algorithms depends on the difficulty of factoring large numbers, which is why number systems with large bases, such as hexadecimal and decimal, are often used.

**Conclusion**

Number systems are fundamental to mathematics and computing and essential for various applications. The most common number system is the decimal system, which uses ten digits to represent all possible numbers. However, many other systems use different bases, including binary, octal, and hexadecimal.

Each number system has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the application. Binary is commonly used in computing, while octal and hexadecimal are used to represent binary data in a more compact form. Hexadecimal is also commonly used in cryptography, where large numbers are used as keys in encryption and decryption algorithms.

By understanding the basics of number systems, you can better understand how numbers are represented and manipulated in different contexts. Develop a more intuitive understanding of the mathematical and computational principles that underpin modern technology.

For complete list of topics in **Digital Electronics** course, **CLICK HERE**

For **Analog Electronics** course **CLICK HERE**

For **Embedded System Design** course **CLICK HERE**

If you have any suggestions, comment below or contact us at admin@chandrashaker.com

If you found this article interesting and helpful, don’t forget to share it with your friends.