Why Computers Use the Base 2 (Binary) System?

People around the world speak different languages like English, Hindi, French, German, etc. If you want to talk to anyone speaking a different language you should know or learn her/his language.

Which Language Do Computers Understand?

The modern day computers understand the language of 0s and 1s. The instructions and the data provided to a computer are converted into a series of 0s and 1s before computer starts working on it. This form of data is also known as digital data.

So, when you want to communicate with a computer, what language should you know? Why computers use the Base 2 (Binary) system?

Modern-day computers use binary numbers to operate. An immediate question you might have is why do computers use binary numbers? Why not any other natural language that we speak and write?

Well, the answer to this question lies in the fact that computers use switches (similar to ones you use at home to switch on or off electric appliances) to depict data and these switches have only two states – ON and OFF, where ON is represented by 1 and OFF is represented by 0.

In order to make computers understand, the instructions are provided in the form of a series of 0s and 1s, i.e., in binary language. This language that computers understand is called machine language.

But again for humans, it’s a very tedious job or rather next to impossible to give instructions in a series of 0s and 1s. Further, it’s time-consuming.

Hence, the instructions in a program fed to a computer are written in English like language, called high-level language, which is then converted to machine language by special software called translators, which are of two types – compilers and interpreters.

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