The study of *number systems* is important from the viewpoint of understanding how data are represented before they can be processed by any digital system including a digital computer. It is one of the most basic topics in digital electronics. In this chapter we will discuss different number systems commonly used to represent data. We will begin the discussion with the decimal number system. Although it is not important from the viewpoint of digital electronics, a brief outline of this will be given to explain some of the underlying concepts used in other number systems. This will then be followed by the more commonly used number systems such as the binary, octal and hexadecimal number systems.

There are two basic ways of representing the numerical values of the various physical quantities with which we constantly deal in our day-to-day lives. One of the ways, referred to as *analogue*, is to express the numerical value of the quantity as a continuous range of values between the two expected extreme values. For example, the temperature of an oven settable anywhere from 0 to 100 °C may be measured to be 65 °C or 64.96 °C or 64.958 °C or even 64.9579 °C and so on, depending upon the accuracy of the measuring instrument. Similarly, voltage across a certain component in an electronic circuit may be measured as 6.5 V or 6.49 V or 6.487 V or 6.4869 V. The underlying concept in this mode of representation is that variation in the numerical value ...

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