Binary Digit

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binary digit

[′bīn·ə·rē ′dij·ət]
(computer science)
bit
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Binary Digit

 

(in information theory), a unit used to measure entropy and the quantity of information. An entropy of 1 binary digit (1 bit) has a source with two equiprobable messages. The term is derived from the fact that the number of binary digits determines (to an accuracy of 1) the average number of characters required to record messages from a given source in the binary code. Decimal digits (decit) are also used. The conversion from one digit to another corresponds to the change in the base of logarithms when the entropy and the quantity of information are being determined (10 instead of 2). The conversion formula is 1 decit = 1/log 2 bits ≈ 3.32 bits.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

bit

(1) (Built-In Test) See BIST.

(2) (BInary digiT) The smallest element of computer storage. The bit is a single digit in a binary number containing only 0s and 1s. Physically the bit is a transistor and capacitor in a RAM cell, a magnetic domain on disk or tape, a cell in a solid state drive (SSD), a spot on optical media or a voltage pulsing through a circuit.

Transmitting Bits
Bits are used as a measurement for network transmission. For example, one hundred megabits per second (100 Mbps) means that 100 million pulses are transmitted per second. See space/time.

Storing Bytes
Eight bits make up a "byte," which is manipulated as one entity. Each byte can store one alphanumeric character, one decimal digit or a decimal number from 0 to 256 (see binary number and binary values). Measurements of files, databases, storage drives and memory (RAM) are given in bytes rather than bits. See space/time and word.


Storage - Making it Smaller
Making the spot or cell smaller increases the storage capacity. Today's storage drives hold staggering amounts of data compared to 10 years ago. For a fascinating storage technology that never became popular, see holographic storage.


Storage - Making it Smaller
Making the spot or cell smaller increases the storage capacity. Today's storage drives hold staggering amounts of data compared to 10 years ago. For a fascinating storage technology that never became popular, see holographic storage.







Transmission - Making it Faster
The bit is transmitted as a pulse of high or low voltage. Speed is increased by making the transistors open and close faster, illustrated here as a mechanical switch. Transmitting pulses within the computer is much simpler than over an external network where they are influenced by distance and interference. However, the telephone companies pioneered optical trunks, which overcame these limitations.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Then, we obtain the set S, by processing the binary digit codes of each vertex in [K.sub.m,t].
However, in the ternary optical computer, the numerical representation and the computation should adopt the MSD binary digit. The division routine should calculate F based on G, thus determing the maximum iterations in the division algorithm.
To satisfy this condition the coefficients of linear form must be coprime with p and the value of check module must be equal to p [greater than or equal to] [2.sup.m], where m--is the number of binary digits in the selected block (if we divide the packet into bytes then m = 8).
Initially the authors chose binary digits as the unit of measurement, that is, the number of 1s and 0s involved when operating those technologies.
While attached to an EEG amplifier, the first person would generate and transmit a series of binary digits, imagining moving their left arm for zero and their right arm for one.
Competitors from all over the World will compete for the title of World Memory Championship competing in 10 disciplines such as spoken numbers, playing cards, dates, abstract images, binary digits, random words and names and faces.
In chapter 1, Gunkel adeptly observes that information computing technologies not only function via the binary digits, 0 and 1, but also that their reception and evaluation have been characterized in binary terms as well.
Bits, for those of us who are not particularly computer-savvy, are binary digits, electrical impulses expressed in ones and zeros that create what we receive as emails, web pages, computer graphics, and downloaded music -- the stuff of modern life.
A parity check involves looking at binary digits in computer programmes to see whether a value is even or odd.
The code uses binary digits, with the digits being interpreted as plus or minus ones.
In the article, Mercer starts with the basics, explaining the binary digits, or bits, that are at the heart of computer data, and then explains why the hexadecimal system is needed to represent 26 letters and 10 numbers.