What is Bit (Binary Digit)?

The term bit is derived from the Binary Digit expression. It is the basic and minimal unit that can be transmitted on a computer and represents the presence or absence of an electronic impulse. In addition, eight contiguous bits specify a byte, the basic unit of data on personal computers.

What is Bit (Binary Digit)?

What is a Bit in Computer?

Invented by Basile Bouchon and Jean-Baptiste Falcón in 1725, it was developed by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1804, and then discrete bit data encoding was used in punched cards by the first computer manufacturers such as Semén Korsakov, Charles Babbage, Hollerith Hermann and the American company IBM.

Another variant of the idea was this puncture of the paper tape. In all these systems, the card or tape conceptually led to a series of hole positions, each location could be punctured, which could lead to a bit of information.

Bit text encoding has also been used in Morse code and in digital communication machines such as teletypewriters and bag machines.


One byte is the basic unit of data in personal computers, one byte being eight contiguous bits. A byte is also the basic unit of measurement for memory that stores the equivalent of a character. It is an electronic signal that can be open (1) or close (0).

It is the smallest unit of info used by a computer. 8 bits are required to create bytes.

The byte unit has no internationally generated symbol. ISO and IEC recommend limiting the use of this unit to octets (8-bit bytes).

The term byte was produced by Waner Buchholz in the early design stages of IBM 7030 Stretch in 1957. It was originally defined by 4-bit instructions and 1 to 16 bits were allowed in 1 byte.

In this period, 6-bit units were used in typical I/O equipment. Subsequently, a fixed 8-bit byte size was accepted and announced as standard by IBM S/360.

The term byte comes from biting, the smallest amount of data a computer bites at a time.

Letter change not only reduced the likelihood of misunderstanding for lice but was also consistent with the early computer scientists’ love for creating words and changing letters.

In the 1960s, however, the UK Department of Education taught that one bit is a Binary number, and one byte is a BinarY Tuple.

One byte is also known as an 8-bit byte and reinforces the idea that it is an n-bit layer and other dimensions are allowed.

Early microprocessors like Intel 8008 can perform a few 4-bit operations, such as the DAA (Decimal Adjustment) command and the half-carriage flag used to implement decimal arithmetic procedures.

These 4-bit quantities are called nibbles after 8-bit equivalent bytes. Computer architecture is primarily based on binary numbers, so bytes are counted as the power of the two. Some people prefer to look for 8-bit group octets.

In terms of kilobytes, kilo (k) and mega terms in megabytes are used to count bytes.

Often bits are used to define transmission rates, while bytes are used to define memory or storage capacity.

The process detects the difference between the electronic circuit in the two states and represents these two states as one of two numbers, 1 or 0. These basic information units are called bits.

Binary Digit

In the world of computers, bits are often shortened by the word bit, which is the minimum storage unit or information unit applied in computing.

These two values ​​are represented by 0 or 1, which also form the binary number system using 0 and 1.

Technically there are various applications, 0 and 1 can be represented as different values, where 0 is represented as false or closed, 1 as true or explicit.

A bit is a number represented using only zero and one digit (0 and 1).

This is used in computers because they work internally with two voltage levels, so natural numbering systems are binary systems.

A bit is a number in the binary numbering system. Storage units have a bit symbol.

While ten digits are used in the decimal numbering system, only two digits are used in the binary number 0 and 1. A bit can represent either of these two 0 or 1 values.

History of Binary System

The modern binary system was fully documented by Leibniz in the 17th century. Binary symbols used by Chinese mathematicians are mentioned. Leibniz used 0 and 1 as the existing binary numbering system.

The ancient Indian mathematician Pingala, BC. He presented the first known definition of the concept of binary numbers in the 3rd century and discovered the concept of zero number.

In the classical text of I Ching, a complete series of 8 trigrams and 64 hexagrams (3-bit analog) and 6-bit binary numbers was known in ancient China.

Similar series of binary combinations have also been used in traditional African divination systems such as Ifá and in western medieval geography.


With a bit, we can represent only two values, usually represented as 0 and 1. More bits are required to show or encode more information on a digital device. If we use two bits, we will have four combinations:

Both are closed.
The first is open, the second is closed.
The first is closed, the second is open.
Both are open.

With these four combinations, we can represent up to four different values ​​such as red, green, blue, and black.

Any discrete value such as numbers, words, and images can be encoded via bitstreams.

Four bits create a nibble and can represent up to 24 = 16 different values. Eight bits form an octet and up to 28 = 256 different values ​​can be represented. In general, up to 2n different values ​​can be displayed with a few bits.

A byte and an octet are not the same things, an octet always has 8 bits, a byte necessarily contains a fixed number of non-8 bits.

On older computers, bytes can be 6, 7, 8, or 9 bits. Today, in the vast majority of computers and in most areas, one byte has an octet, equivalent to octet, but there are exceptions. A set of bits, such as bytes, represents a series of ordered elements.

The highest value bit in the set is called the most important bit (MSB). Similarly, the lowest weighting bit in the set is called LSB (Least Significant Bit).

In one byte, the most important bit is at the 7 positions and the least significant is at the 0 positions.

Value by Location:

On computers, each byte is identified by its location (address) in memory. When processing multiple byte numbers, they should also be sorted.

This feature is particularly important in programming in machine code because some machines consider the byte at the lowest address least significant, while others consider it to be the most important.

In this way, a byte with a decimal number of 27 is stored in a small endian machine and a large endian machine because it occupies only one byte. However, for larger numbers, the bytes representing them are stored in a different order in each architecture.


In the first non-electronic information conversion devices, such as the Jacquard loom or analytical Babbage engine, some are usually stored as the location of the mechanical or gear lever or the presence or absence of a hole at a particular point from a paper card.

The earliest electrical devices for discrete logic represent bits as the state of electrical relays that may be open or closed.

When the relays were replaced with vacuum tubes starting in the 1940s, builders tried various storage methods such as pressure pulses to the mercury delay line, loads stored on the inner surface of the cathode ray tube, or opaque stains.

In the 1950s and 1960s, these methods were largely supplemented with magnetic storage devices such as memory for magnetic cores, magnetic tapes, drums and discs, where the polarization of a particular area was somehow represented.

The same principle was later used in the magnetic bubble memory developed in the 1980s and still found in various magnetic strip items such as metro tickets and some credit cards.

In modern semiconductor memory, such as dynamic random access memory or flash memory, two values ​​of one bit can be represented by two levels of electric charge stored in a capacitor.

In programmable gate arrays and certain types of read-only memory, it can be represented in small amounts by the presence or absence of a conductive path at a certain point in a circuit.

In optical discs, some are coded as the presence or absence of a microscopic hole on a reflective surface. In barcodes, bits are encoded as thickness or distance between a line.

Transmission and Processing

Lice can be applied in many ways. In most modern computing devices, a bit is usually represented by an electrical voltage or current pulse or the electrical state of a flip-flop circuit.

For devices using positive logic, the value of 1 is represented by a positive signal relative to the ground voltage, while the value of 0 is represented by 0 volts.

Other Data Terms


A kilobyte is a computer unit of measurement equal to 1024 bytes and its symbol is kB.


Megabyte is a computer unit of measure equivalent to 1024 kB or 1048,576 bytes and its symbol is MB.

The next unit of measurement in the calculation is the gigabyte used to indicate the capacity of some devices, such as RAM memory, graphics card memory, CD-ROM memory, or the size of some software and files.

   Binary Prefix

With the advent of the calculation, the units are multiplied by 1000, while this is used for data storage, for hardware, RAM, it was much easier to determine a binary base because computers are working on a binary.

Considering the similarities of the International Measurement System, they determined that they received the same prefixes in a thousand base units. In practice, 1024 is false with the prefix 1000, because these prefixes were present in the calculation, which expressed a thousand base of any unit of the international measurement system, such as volts, amps, or meters.

To determine the difference between decimal and binary prefixes, IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), a standardization team, proposed prefixes containing the word binary with the shortened unions of the International System of Units in 1997.

This is called a mebibyte (MiB), i.e. the contraction of binary megabytes, but this contract has not spread enough in the world.

Data Unit Table

1 bit
It is the minimum storage unit; It can be 0 or 1.
8 bits
1 bayt – One Bit Octet.
1024 bytes
1 kilobyte
1024 kilobytes
1 megabyte
1024 megabytes
1 gigabyte
1024 gigabytes
1 terabyte
1024 terabytes
1 petabyte
1024 petabytes
1 exabyte
1024 exabytes
1 zettabyte
1024 zettabytes
1 yottabyte
1024 yottabytes
1 brontobyte
1024 brontobytes
1 geopbyte
1024 geopbytes
1 saganbyte

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