KarbosGuide.com. Module 1a.
Our PCs are data processors. The PC's function is simple: to
process data, and the processing is done electronically
inside the CPU and between the other components. That
sounds simple, but
is data, and
is it processed
electronically in a PC? That is the subject of these pages.
The signals, which we send each other to communicate, is
data. Our daily data have many forms: sound, letters,
numbers, and other characters (handwritten or printed),
photos, graphics, film. All this data is in its nature
which means that it varies in type. In this form, the data-
signals are unusable in a PC. The PC can only process
concise, simple data formats. Such data can be processed
The PC is an electric unit. Therefore, it can only deal with
data, which are associated with electricity. That is
accomplished using electric switches, which are either off
or on. You can compare with regular household switches.
If the switch is off, the PC reads
numeral 0. If it is on, it is read as
numeral one. See the illustration
With our electric switches, we can
write 0 or 1. We can now start our
The PC is filled with these switches (in the form of
transistors). There are literally millions of those in the
electronic components. Each represents either a 0 or a 1,
so we can process data with millions of 0s and 1s.
Each 0 or 1 is called a
. Bit is an abbreviation of the
expression BInary digiT. It is called binary, since it is
derived from the
binary number system:
The binary number system
The binary number system is made up of digits, just like
system (10 digit system). But, while
the decimal system uses digits 0 through 9, the binary
system only uses digits 0 and 1.