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Visual C#® 2012: How to Program, Fifth Edition by Harvey Deitel, Paul Deitel

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17.2. Data Hierarchy

Ultimately, all data items that computers process are reduced to combinations of 0s and 1s. This occurs because it’s simple and economical to build electronic devices that can assume two stable states—one state represents 0 and the other represents 1. It’s remarkable that the impressive functions performed by computers involve only the most fundamental manipulations of 0s and 1s.

Bits

The smallest data item that computers support is called a bit (short for “binary digit”—a digit that can assume one of two values). Each bit can assume either the value 0 or the value 1. Computer circuitry performs various simple bit manipulations, such as examining the value of a bit, setting the value of a bit and reversing a bit (from

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