Technical Fresh Guru

Technical Fresh Guru

Types of Data | Numbers System

In the previous post, we covered the topic classification of digital computers. In this post we will also cover two topics, first, types of
data and numbers systems and this post also grow your knowledge of basic
computer skills. For people who are beginners in the realm of computers, this
post will be very helpful.

Types of

We’ll discover today how computers use data. Computers
employ a variety of different types of data. We will discuss the various sorts
of data in this post.

A computer is considered to be a complex device
capable of performing large calculations, it is in fact essentially a data
processing machine. There are two basic types of data that are stored &
processed by computers, viz, numbers & characters. The list of these is
below. You can review our previous posts about Data Information and Introduction
to computers.

  • Character Data (consists of alphabets, numbers &
    special symbols)
  • Numeric Data (consists of numbers)

Data (alphabets)

In the English language, there are twenty-six alphabets.
Data in alphabetical order is represented by these 26 alphabets. Small letters
from a to z, capital letters from A to Z, and empty spaces make up the word.  

Example:             {A,
B, C, D, E………Z) capital letters

b, c, d, e……….z} small letters

Computers may be made to read a list of names, arrange them
in alphabetical order and print this arrange list. Thus a list of names such as
Rehan, Kamal Khan, and Shahid read by an input unit would be arranged in alphabetical
order as Kamal, Rehan, and Shahid. The data processed in this case are strings of
characters, the strings being Shahid, Rehan, and Kamal.

The character and numeric data fed to the computer and the
output obtained from the computer must be in a form that is usable by
people. For this purpose natural language symbols (like A, B, d, g, *, +, /,
<, > etc.) and decimal digits (like 2,5,7,9 etc.) are appropriate. These
constitute the external data representation.

On the other hand, the representation of data inside a
computer must be in a form understandable by the computer i.e. in the
strings of 0’s and 1’s. This type of data representation inside the computer is
called internal data representation. 

Data Representation

We know that character data is represented as strings of 0’s
and 1’s i.e. the computer uses a binary numbers system to represent characters.
The 2 symbols 0 & 1 are called as BITS, an abbreviation for binary digits.

Let us now see how these bits are used to represent
character data.

Suppose we begin by using two bits to represent characters.
It is possible to make 4 unique combinations of 2 bits. They are:

01  10  and

Now let us use each of these combinations to represent a
character. We can represent only 4 characters through these four

Information processing using computers requires the processing

  • 26 capital letters
  • 26 small case letter
  • 10 digits
  • 32 special symbols like (! @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, (,), +,
  • 34 non-printable characters like tab, end of line, end of
    page, etc.
  • 128 graphic characters

Obviously for representing all of these 256 characters
uniquely four combinations are insufficient.

Let us see if combinations of 3 bits are able to represent
these 256 characters. With three bits we can make eight (2 ^ 3) unique combinations.
These 8 combinations are again insufficient to represent 256 characters.

If we go on making combinations of 4 bits, 5 bits, etc. we
find that if we use strings of 8 bits each, we will have 2 ^ 8  = 256 unique strings & can thus represent
all the 256 characters.

Now, the combination used to represent each of the 256
characters must be the same for all the computers. Otherwise, data used by one
computer will not be understood by another computer.

Therefore, to facilitate the exchange of data between computers, the coding of characters has been standardized.

The most popular coding system is called ASCII (American
Standard Code for Information Interchange
).  It used 8 bits to represent each character.

Example: The internal data representation of THINK is:

01010100             01001000             01001001             01001110             01001011

       T                         H                            I                          N                          K

The appendix shows a chart of
ASCII codes used for all the characters.

A string of bits used to
represent a character is called a byte. Characters coded in ASCEE need 8 bits
for each character. Thus a byte is a string of 8 bits. 

Unit for Measurement of Capacity

Memory Unit


8 bits

1 byte

1 KB (Kilobyte)

1024 bytes

1 MB (Megabyte)

1024 KB

1 GB (Gigabyte)

1024 MB

1 TB (Terabyte)

1024 GB

1 PB (Petabyte)

1024 TB

 In the case of numeric data, the
binary equivalent of the numeric data is used by the computer. Whereas, in the case
of character data the ASCII code of the character data is used by the computer.
Sometimes, decimal digits are also considered character data.

For example, if “MZT 813” is the
registration number of a scooter, then 813 becomes character data and not
numeric data. This is because, here, 813 is being merely used as a symbol and
does not have any value in the conventional sense. Therefore, 813 will be
represented by ASCII code for 8, 1, and 3. However, if 813 is a person’s basic
salary then it has some value and therefore will be represented by its binary
equivalent and not by ASCII code for 8, 1, and 3.

Data (numbers)

Numeric data consists of digits from {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9} which are stored as up numeric data type. Numerical data is used to
indicate any kind of measurement or count. There are different types of number
systems used in numeric data. The binary system, decimal system, octal system,
& hexadecimal system.

The other types of data are decimal nos. such as 47, 58, etc.
Numbers are processed using arithmetic operations such as +, -, *, and /. The
processing results in new values which can be printed on the printer.

Data Representation

As mentioned earlier external to the computers we use
Decimal numbers (0 to 9) whereas internally the computer uses Binary numbers (0
to 1).

Therefore, to make the computer understand the data given to
it in decimal numbers it, must be first be converted to binary form and then
presented to the computer. This conversion is achieved by the computer as

The given decimal number is
divided by 2.

The quotient is again
divided by 2.

Division is continued till
the quotient becomes zero.

When the remainders
obtained during these divisions are written in reverse order we get the binary
equivalent of the given decimal number.

For example, if we want to find out how the decimal number
42 is internally represented in a computer, then the procedure for converting
the decimal number 42 into its binary equivalent is as follows:

Once the numeric data is presented to the computer in the
binary form it performs the operations on it and finds the result. This result
is also in the binary form. However, the result cannot be presented to the user
in binary form. It must be first converted into decimal form and then
presented to the user.

Now let us see how this conversion from binary to decimal is

In order to find the decimal value of a binary number 10110 we
processed as follows:

(1 x 24 + 0 x 23 + 1 x 22 +
1 x 21 + 0 x 20)

= (16 + 0 + 4 + 2 + 0)

= 2210

Each digit of the binary number is multiplied by an
appropriate power of 2. All such numbers are then added to get the equivalent
decimal number.

Have a go at this….

Find out the binary equivalents of 76 and 23.

What are the decimal equivalents of 1001100 and 10111?


We have already seen in the previous post that inside a
computer system, data is stored in a format that cannot be easily read by human
beings. This is the reason why input and output (I/O) interfaces are required.
Every computer stores number, letters, and other special characters in a coded
form. Before going into the details of these codes, it is essential to have a
basic understanding of the number system. So the goal of this post is to
familiarize you with the basic fundamentals of number computer professionals
and the relationship between them.

There are four numbers system given below:

  • Binary Number System
  • Decimal Number System
  • Octal Number System
  • Hexadecimal Number System

Binary Number System

The binary number system is exactly like the decimal system
except that the base is 2 instead of 10. We have only two symbols or digits (0
and 1) that can be used in this number system. Note that the largest single
digit is 1 (one less than the base). Again, each position in a binary number
represents a power of the base (2). As such, in this system, the right
position, the second position from the right is the 2’s (21)
position and proceeding in this way we have 4’s (22) position, 8’s
(23) position, 16’s (24) position, and so on. Thus, the decimal
equivalent of the binary number 10101 (written as 101012) is

= (1 x 24) + (0 x 23) + (1 x 22)
+ (0 x 21) + (1 x 20)

= 16 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 1

= 21 

Decimal Number System

The decimal number system, also known as the base-10 system,
is the most commonly used number system in the world. It uses the digits 0-9 to
represent numbers, with each digit representing a power of 10. For example, the
number “123” in the decimal system represents 1 hundred, 2 tens, and
3 ones.


  • The number “1234” in the decimal system represents
    1 thousand, 2 hundred, 3 tens, and 4 ones.
  • The number “567” in the decimal system represents
    5 hundred, 6 tens, and 7 ones.
  • The number “0.25” in the decimal system represents
    2 tenths and 5 hundredths.
  • The number “3.14” in the decimal system represents
    3 ones and 14 thousandths.
  • The number “100” in the decimal system represents
    1 hundred.

Convert a Decimal Number to Binary

To convert a decimal number to binary, we can use the method
of repeated division by 2.

For example, let’s convert the decimal number 42 to binary:

Divide 42 by 2: 42 ÷ 2 = 21 with a remainder of 0.

  • Write down the remainder (0) and divide 21 by 2: 21 ÷ 2 = 10
    with a remainder of 1.
  • Write down the remainder (1) and divide 10 by 2: 10 ÷ 2 = 5
    with a remainder of 0.
  • Write down the remainder (0) and divide 5 by 2: 5 ÷ 2 = 2
    with a remainder of 1.
  • Write down the remainder (1) and divide 2 by 2: 2 ÷ 2 = 1
    with a remainder of 0.
  • Write down the remainder (0) and divide 1 by 2: 1 ÷ 2 = 0
    with a remainder of 1.
  • The binary representation of 42 is 101010.

Alternatively, we can also use the method of bit shifting,
where we take the decimal number and shift the bits to the right, dividing by 2
each time, and noting the remainder.

For example, 42 in decimal can also be represented as 101010
in binary.

Note: In order to convert decimal to binary, we need to
divide the decimal number by 2 repeatedly and note down the remainder till the
quotient becomes 0. The remainder obtained in the last step to the first step will
be the binary equivalent of the decimal number.

Octal Number System

The octal number system, or base-8 system, uses the digits 0
through 7 to represent numbers. Each digit in an octal number represents a
power of 8. For example, the octal number “12” is equivalent to 18^1
+ 28^0 = 8 + 2 = 10 in decimal (base-10) notation. Similarly, the octal number
“37” is equivalent to 38^1 + 78^0 = 24 + 7 = 31 in decimal notation. 

Octal is commonly used in computing and digital systems
because it provides a convenient way to represent binary data using only 3
digits instead of 8. For example, the binary number “11010101” can be
represented as “315” in octal notation. 


Decimal to Octal:

(42)10 = (52)8 

Octal to Decimal:

(52)8 = (42)10 

Binary to Octal:

(11010101)2 = (315)8 

Octal to Binary:

(315)8 = (11010101)2

Hexadecimal Number System

The hexadecimal number system, also known as base 16, uses
16 digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F. Each digit represents
a power of 16. For example, the number F3A in hexadecimal is equivalent to
6,186 in decimal (base 10). The rightmost digit represents the one place, the
next digit to the left represents the 16’s place, and the next represents the
256’s place, and so on. 

Here are a few examples of converting hexadecimal to

F3A in hexadecimal is equal to 6,186 in decimal (F * 16^2 +
3 * 16^1 + A * 16^0)

2A3 in hexadecimal is equal to 675 in decimal (2 * 16^2 + 10
* 16^1 + 3 * 16^0)

B1 in hexadecimal is equal to 177 in decimal (11 * 16^1 + 1
* 16^0)

And here are a few examples of converting decimal to

6,186 in decimal is equal to F3A in hexadecimal

675 in decimal is equal to 2A3 in hexadecimal

177 in decimal is equal to B1 in hexadecimal


We have created this post for the newbies who are prepared for the number system. It is designed to develop basic computer skills to enhance your knowledge. Also, you can review other posts about basic computer skills. If there is any kind of lack in this post or if liked it, please comment to us. Thanks 

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