116. Numbering Systems


The numbering system in many societies is based on 5 or 10, the number of fingers in one hand or two. But there are several exceptions to this and those numbering systems have different bases, as opposed to 5 or 10.

Bolans of West Africa count in sevens. Maoris of New Zealand have a system based on 11. Babylonians had a system based on 60. The Mayas, the ancient people of Central America used a number system based on 20.

The modern computer uses the binary system with just a 0 and 1. The value of 1 is doubled, each time it is moved to the left by one place. So 1 represents1, 10 represents 2, 100 represents 4 and 1000 represents 8 etc.

Many computers have difficulty jumping back and forth between the decimal system and the binary system. They use another system as an intermediate step between the two. The Hexa decimal system or the Hex is based on 16.

Hex uses the numerals 0 to 9 together with alphabets A, B, C, D, E and F representing the numbers 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. The number 16 is represented as 10!

An adult trained in the traditional ways of counting would surely get baffled by this system, but the young geniuses think that it is merely a child’s play.

Visalakshi Ramani

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199 Responses to 116. Numbering Systems

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