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What is Binary?

Binary is a base 2 number system that is used to represent everything from the most basic pieces of data, to the most complex programs - using only 0’s and 1’s.

But what does ‘base 2’ mean?

We are all familiar with the decimal system or ‘base 10’. The 10 different digits we use for counting; 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Once you reach 9, you continue counting by carrying a 1 to the left and starting to count again from 0, in this case making 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, etc. 

Binary is similar but much simpler. It only has two numbers - 0 and 1! Once you reach 1, you continue counting by carrying a 1 to the left; 0, 1, 10, 11, 100, 101, etc. 

Why Do We Use Binary in Computers?

To keep it simple, 0/1  = On/Off.  A "0" represents no flow of electricity, and "1" represents electricity being allowed to flow. Believe it or not, that’s how numbers are represented physically inside our computing devices.

By reducing virtually anything into the most basic form of representation, ON and OFF, we unlock the doors to endless possibilities of creations.

Think about painters and how they use primary colors to create an entire spectrum of the rainbow. Binary is similar. By breaking down and representing the simplest elements with 0’s and 1’s, we can encode and translate them into the spectrum of our own desires - software, apps, photos, videos, documents, websites - the possibilities are endless.

Why Should I Care? What Does Binary Do For Me?

Binary code connects us with the rest of the world. From photos, songs and videos, social media, to texting, emailing, browsing the net and video conferencing with family, colleagues or customers. Beneath the surface, it is all binary code; our most common form of communication in the digital world.

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