16 May Number Systems
The very basic step in mathematics education are counting numbers, which children learn at a very tender age. Come to think of it however, what really is a number? How was the association of objects and numbers made? These are certainly not naturally existing systems and concept. Rather they are conventional methods that were agreed upon to facilitate uniform referencing systems. The most common of these systems is the Decimal system which we use daily. It consists of ten digits that are used systematically to represent numerical values. These are zero up to nine.
There are actually four number systems that are used for various purposes. These are; Binary system, Octal system, Decimal system, and Hexadecimal system. Each system was generated for a specific purpose that makes it most efficient. Modern gadgets for example greatly utilize the binary system to process information since it consists of only two digits; zero and one. This makes programming easy and machines more efficient. The Decimal, on the other hand, is easier to comprehend for humans and minimizes the number of figures in value. The other two number systems help to bridge the gap between the common decimal system and the binary system. Imagine if our gadgets and machines like the ATM were to give values in their binary format. An $18 Balance would appear as Binary $10010. People would get pretty confused and more prone to calculation errors.
A number system can, therefore, be defined as a way of expressing values in a mathematical notation or sequence using digits or symbols in a consistent manner. However, the same sequence used in one system can still be used to represent a different numeral system. Number systems can also be alphanumeric. The term alphanumeric refers to the use of both digits and alphabetical characters to represent a value. An example of this is the use of the phrase 1K to represent one thousand. It is worth noting that the complexity of any number systems comes from the familiarity levels. The more one calculates using any particular system, the easier it becomes to comprehend. Coding experts have been known to struggle to revert back to the decimal system after working on long projects using the Binary number system.