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 Everyday Examples
 Binary System:  The base 2 number system that uses the digits 0 and 1.


Image source: http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/kids/hometour/images/liteswit.jpg

Circuits and switches rely on binary codes to turn lights on and off, open and close doors, or activate or reset alarms. The number 1 represents "yes" (on or open), and the number 0 represents "no" (off or closed).

Image source: http://www.dol.gov/dol/oasam/public/grants/enpref/computer.jpg

Computers use binary codes to communicate symbols and commands. For example, suppose a menu has four different options, such as copy, cut, edit, and paste. The computer might identify copy as option 1, cut as option 2, edit as option 3, and paste as option 4. In order to reduce the complexity of the symbols, a binary system allows the computer to use only 0's and 1's. So the computer might associate the following number codes with these options:

option (decimal equivalent)
action
binary equivalent
1 copy 00
2 cut 01
3 edit 10
4 paste 11

The actual processing and coding in a computer can be much more complex than these binary codes, with extremely long strings of 0's and 1's that help execute different commands.