b. Form Follows Function. Electronic components, by their very nature,
operate in binary mode. Switches are either open (0 state) or closed (1 state).
Transistors are either not conducting (zero) or conducting (one). As Von Neuman
indicated in his paper on evacuation, equipment design lent itself to the binary
model. Shown below are other computer elements that operate in one of two states
("on" or "off," present or absent, and so forth).
binary number system: a number system that uses two as its base and
expresses numbers as strings of zeros and ones.
Figure 1-2. Computer design lends itself to the two-state binary mode. Shown
are two-state elements of a computer.
Section II. WORKING IN THE BINARY AND DECIMAL SYSTEM
CONVERSION FROM DECIMAL TO BINARY AND BACK
a. Powers. The computer is constantly converting your input into decimal and
then binary terms and back. To understand conversion, you must know how to
determine powers. If you are familiar with this, skip down to paragraph 1-6b. If you
need a quick review, look at the examples and explanation provided here.