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Number Systems

Number Systems Concepts

The study of number systems is useful to the student of computing due to the fact that number systems other than the familiar decimal (base 10) number system are used in the computer field. Digital computers internally use the binary (base 2) number system to represent data and perform arithmetic calculations. The binary number system is very efficient for computers, but not for humans. Representing even relatively small numbers with the binary system requires working with long strings of ones and zeroes. The hexadecimal (base 16) number system (often called "hex" for short) provides us with a shorthand method of working with binary numbers. One digit in hex corresponds to four binary digits (bits), so the internal representation of one byte can be represented either by eight binary digits or two hexadecimal digits. Less commonly used is the octal (base 8) number system, where one digit in octal corresponds to three binary digits (bits). In the event that a computer user (programmer, operator, end user, etc.) needs to examine a display of the internal representation of computer data (such a display is called a "dump"), viewing the data in a "shorthand" representation (such as hex or octal) is less tedious than viewing the data in binary representation. The binary, hexadecimal , and octal number systems will be looked at in the following pages. The decimal number system that we are all familiar with is a positional number system. The actual number of symbols used in a positional number system depends on its base (also called the radix). The highest numerical symbol always has a value of one less than the base. The decimal number system has a base of 10, so the numeral with the highest value is 9; the octal number system has a base of 8, so the numeral with the...

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...all the whole numbers between 1 and n, where n must always be positive. For example 0! is a special case factorial. This is special because there are no positive numbers less than zero and we defined a factorial as a product of the numbers between n and 1. We say that 0! = 1 by claiming that the product of no numbers is 1. The reasoning and mathematics behind this is complicated and beyond the scope of this page, so let's just accept 0! as equal to 1. This works out to be mathematically true and allows us to redefine n! as follows: For example The above allows us to manipulate factorials and break them up, which is useful in combinations and permutations. Useful Factorial Properties The last two properties are important to remember. The factorial sign DOES NOT distribute across addition and subtraction. Permutations and Combinations Permutations and Combinations in mathematics both refer to different ways of arranging a given set of variables. Permutations are not strict when it comes to the order of things while Combinations are. For example; given the letters abc The Permutations are listed as follows Combinations on the other hand are considered different, all the above are considered the same since they have the exact same letters only arranged different. In other words, in combination, you can't just rearrange the same letters and then claim to have a completely different combination. Combinations are done differently: Given abc, we can make a number of......

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