Binary numbers are used in computing and mathematics to represent values with only two digits. For example, a binary number that is 11 represents a value of 3 in base-10. A binary number that is 1000 represents a value of 8 in base-10.
All computers use binary numbers to store information and make calculations. This can be done in three different ways:
- In computer memory as digital 0s and 1s
- In a memory register (an electronic circuit) as discrete electrical voltages or currents
- As an electrical pulse, which is then decoded into binary digits
Octal numbers are a type of positional number system. It uses base 8 and is the first positional number system since the abacus in ancient times.
Octal numbers are commonly used for specifying the order of a chemical compound, especially when it is possible for more than one atom to have the same oxidation state.
Octal numbers have also been used in data storage, although this practice is less common now that binary numeral systems have become more popular.
Hexadecimal numbers are used by programmers and computer scientists to identify computer memory or storage locations.
Hexadecimal numbers are also used in computers, such as the Motorola 68000 series, a microprocessor family that was developed in the 1970s. They are also used to identify color depth and other computer properties.
The hexadecimal numbering system is composed of 16 digits; 0 to 9, then A-F (10-15).