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Understanding Binary Code


Binary code is the language that computers communicate with and use to process information. Our human ability to communicate with others is done in a number of ways, through letters, numbers, symbols, signs, and sounds. In other words, we use our senses to communicate with others. However, a computer’s ability to communicate and relate information is done in a much different way - through “0s” and “1s” - this method of communication or computer language is what’s known as “binary code”. To understand it you must first understand how it all works, so keep on reading and start learning and see if you can decipher the hidden code in the example below.

How binary code works

computer basics

Binary code works by representing content (letters, symbols, colors) in a form that computers can understand. This is done by breaking the content down into a numeric system of two digits “0” and “1”. To accomplish this, computers use electrical impulses switching OFF and ON to represent these two digit numbers. This can be better understood by understanding how a computer chip works.

A computer chip is made of millions of transistors that act as switches much like a light bulb in your home. If you want light you move the switch to “ON” to allow electricity to flow through the light bulb thus giving you light, but if you switch back to “OFF” the light goes away because the electrical signal is interrupted. The switching behavior from a computer chip is similar in the sense that it can only understand two results, “ON” and “OFF”. These results correspond well with the two digits numeric system of “1” and “0” best described as binary (“1” representing “ON” and “0” representing “OFF”).

Every command that we give to computers is interpreted in binary language (“0s” and “1s”), and everything that computers display back to us is display in a way that we can comprehend. For example the binary numbers for the letters “A”, “B”, and “C” are as follow: 01000001 = A; 01000010 = B; and 01000011 = C.

Here is another example: 01010101 01101110 01100100 01100101 01110010 01110011 01110100 01100001 01101110 01100100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01000010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01000011 01101111 01100100 01100101.

If you can guess what the above zeros and ones mean, then congratulations! If not, here is the answer: it is this page title – Understanding Binary Code. Every set of numbers of zeros and ones contain eight characters and each of these sets in the example represent one character (whether a letter or a space).

As you can imagine, we don’t use 0s and 1s in our human language as a method of communication. It would take us forever to express ourselves. Computers on the other hand do this in seconds. The faster the computer hardware is, the faster it can perform this binary way of communication.

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