NUMBER SYSTEM

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A number system of base, or radix, r is a system that uses distinct symbols for r digits. Numbers are represented by a string of digit symbols. To determine the quantity that the number represents, it is necessary to multiply each digit by an integer power of r and then form the sum of all weighted digits. For example, the decimal number system in everyday use employs the radix 10 system. The 10 symbols are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The string of digits 724.5 is interpreted to represent the quantity.

7 X 102 + 2 X 101 + 4 X 10° + 5 X 10-1

that is, 7 hundreds, plus 2 tens, plus 4 units, plus 5 tenths. Every decimal number can be similarly interpreted to find the quantity it represents. The binary number system uses the radix 2. The two digit symbols used are 0 and 1. The string of digits 101101 is interpreted to represent the quantity.

To distinguish between different radix numbers, the digits will be enclosed in parentheses and the radix of the number inserted as a subscript. For example, to show the equality between decimal and binary forty-five we will write (101101), = (45)10.

Besides the decimal and binary number systems, the octal (radix 8) and hexadecimal (radix 16) are important in digital computer work. The eight symbols of the octal system are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The 16 symbols of the hexadecimal system are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, 0, E, and F. The last six symbols are, unfortunately, identical to the letters of the alphabet and can cause confusion at times. However, this is the convention that has been adopted. When used to represent hexadecimal digits, the symbols A, B, C, D, E, F correspond to the decimal numbers 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, respectively.

A number in radix r can be converted to the familiar decimal system by forming the sum of the weighted digits. For example, octal 736.4 is converted to decimal as follows:

(736.4), = 7 X 82 + 3 X 8 1 + 6 X 8° + 4 X 8-I

= 7 X 64 + 3 X 8 + 6 X 1 + 4/8 = (478.5)1 0

The equivalent decimal number of hexadecimal F3 is obtained from the following calculation:

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