CHAPTER2

Data Representation in Computer Systems

There are 10 kinds of people in the world—those who understand binary and those who don’t.

—Anonymous

2.1   INTRODUCTION

The organization of any computer depends considerably on how it represents numbers, characters, and control information. The converse is also true: Standards and conventions established over the years have determined certain aspects of computer organization. This chapter describes the various ways in which computers can store and manipulate numbers and characters. The ideas presented in the following sections form the basis for understanding the organization and function of all types of digital systems.

The most basic unit of information in a digital computer is called ...

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