Use of binary to represent and store data

Computers can represent and store data as the following:

  • integers and real numbers
  • characters
  • instructions (machine code)
  • graphics (bit-mapped and vector)
  • sound
  • video

Processors can only understand binary. Ultimately, everything that is processed by a computer is handled in one of two states, 1 or 0.

Many devices such as hair straighteners or games consoles make use of the following symbols:

A typical on-off switch. A 'one' printed on the switch represents the on position. A 'zero' represents off.

The number 1 represents on and the number 0 represents off.