Talk:Binary number

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WikiProject Mathematics (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject Mathematics
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Mathematics rating:
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 Field: Basics
One of the 500 most frequently viewed mathematics articles.

Division is hard to understand[edit]

For binary arithmetic, I understood addition, subtraction and multiplication fine; but I felt division was poorly explained. It is only explained in one paragraph (which is too condensed) and it would be helpful if the provided example was displayed at different stages of the process. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Ask here, not here. See also. (talk) 19:25, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the comments above - the article doesn't really explain how you do binary division. For purposes of clarity, the quotient should be different from the divisor and it's also confusing that the dividend is shown as 110111 instead of 11011. It would be useful if the article could demonstrate how a computer would do it, as this would be different from doing it from the decimal way. There is a page on "Division (digital)", but that's not very clear either. Perhaps an external link would be useful. I've looked at the link that the poster 'should' have posted his comments to, but that takes you to a page entitled "Editing Wikipedia:Reference desk/Mathematics (new section)", which doesn't seem very appropriate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:23, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Further to the above, I've tried to add a wiki link for the word 'dividend' but it comes up with the wrong definition. I've read the editing tutorial and it doesn't really explain how to correct this, so I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable.. hopefully they'll change the tutorial as well! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:56, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Talk:101010101010000100101#Not71.146.20.62 (talk) 19:26, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Deleted per request. -R. S. Shaw (talk) 23:30, 24 June 2012 (UTC)


Any number can be represented by any sequence of bits (binary digits), which in turn may be represented by any mechanism capable of being in two mutually exclusive states. The following sequence of symbols could all be interpreted as the binary numeric value of 667:

1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1
| − | − − | | − | |
x o x o o x x o x x
y n y n n y y n y y

This does not equal 667. It equals 663. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:09, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

No, it does equal 667. 663 would be 1010010111. This is binary, not binary coded decimal. -R. S. Shaw (talk) 21:51, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

"computer-based devices such as mobile phones"[edit]

Is this recent addition to the lead topical? IMHO it is not enough. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 15:12, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't think it's strictly necessary, but actually I think the lead reads nicely with it and I would support keeping it. --JBL (talk) 16:50, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
I think the addition is neutral-bordering-useful. In any case, the language and disposition of edit summaries by User:EEng are certainly unacceptable. Rschwieb (talk) 14:44, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Why does the sentence say "almost" all modern computers? Are there some that don't use binary? What are they? - GroveGuy (talk) 23:49, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

analog computers? Are quantum computers binary? --JBL (talk) 00:00, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Discussion of the name of this article[edit]

Because of a recent change in the title of this article, which I undid, I've started a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics#Binary_numeral_system.2FBinary_number_system. Michael Hardy (talk) 19:21, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Consensus is that the article be moved, and two well-formed arguments are given for the new title being Binary number, with no objections. Drmies (talk) 04:16, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Binary numeral systemBinary number system – A numeral is a symbol for a number. A numbering system is the mathematics of using a particular number as a base. By over 40 to 1 books written choose "binary number system", not numbering, and not numeral. Apteva (talk) 19:54, 19 December 2012 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Weak oppose. A number system is a system of numbers (real, rational, integer, hyperreal, etc). A numeral is a means of representing a number. So the title with the word "numeral" as opposed to "number" is more precise and correct, since the actual numbers that are described by binary numerals are precisely the same numbers that are described by any other system of numerals. I'm open to debate about whether the word "system" is needed. Sławomir Biały (talk) 21:27, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
    • That would be correct if the article was about the two numerals used, and did not go on to add system, and include the mathematics of the binary numbering system. There is a difference between the symbol used to describe a number, the numeral 1, and the number one, which is unary. Apteva (talk) 22:07, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - Consistent with the policy on common names which says that the title should agree with the most common use in reliable sources. A Google Scholar search turns up 4150 results for "binary number system" and 391 for "binary numeral system". No less an authority than Donald Knuth has a chapter entitled "Positional number systems" in The Art of Computer Programming. Volume 2. RockMagnetist (talk) 21:43, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. But I would prefer "binary number" (i.e. for the title to refer to the individual pieces of notation described by the system, rather than to the system as a whole) for the same reason that we have articles titled Leopardus pardalis and not Leopardus pardalis species, addition and not addition operation, real number and not real number field, etc — the excess verbiage just makes the title look more technical and intimidating without adding any useful meaning. Additionally the Google scholar hit count argument applies even more strongly for this as it does for the proposed move. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:17, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:COMMONNAME which is a policy I fully agree with. I also agree with David Eppstein that the 'system' part should just be dropped to leave 'Binary number'. System doesn't add anything useful and doesn't disambiguuate with some other common term. Dmcq (talk) 22:34, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
    The problem with that is the scope of the article would be restricted to numbers like 1010 and 1000010101011, and would not properly include how they are used or what they are used for. Addition is an operation. Leopardus pardalis is a species. The field of real numbers is covered in the article real number. We do not need to add explanatory words like that. Apteva (talk) 02:09, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
    WP:TITLE says 'Precision – Titles usually use names and terms that are precise enough to unambiguously identify the topical scope of the article, but not overly precise.' WP:SCOPE says 'The lead, ideally the introductory sentence or at least introductory paragraph, of an article, should make clear what the scope of the article is.' The scope of an article is not narrowly determined by the title. Dmcq (talk) 02:37, 20 December 2012 (UTC)


Any additional comments:
Why are people using numeral for things like that? We're not here to correct the world, we're here to say what's said in reliable sources. Just check out google ngrams for positional number system compared to positional numeral systems. [2] There's no comparison and numeral just sounds awkward there. Dmcq (talk) 23:36, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Using singular rather than plural makes a difference to your comparison [3] but I think it still makes the same point. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:29, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I tried numbering and number wins. Apteva (talk) 08:35, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

merge from base 32[edit]

Propose a merge from the base 32 stub to binary number as it is essentially a notation for five binary bits. It would best be covered as a section of the binary number article. Bcharles (talk) 03:11, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

why merge base 32 into binary ? jjbernardiscool (talk) 15:52, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
I think the best resolution would be to redirect "base 32" to "base32" encoding scheme, add an "about (positional numerical system)" template which links to "binary number" at the top of the "base32" article, and include a section on "base 32 numerical system" in the binary article. This is similar to how "base 64" is handled.
It is helpful to distinguish numerical/mathematical systems from specific applications such as a data encoding scheme. Base 32 is not notable as a numerical system, it amounts to a compact notation for 5 binary bits, a section of the binary article could fully cover the content of this stub and link to its application for data encoding. Bcharles (talk) 17:19, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose I see no reason why this would be an improvement. I would also oppose merging to Base32 - its use as a real, if obscure, counting system has no overlap with the encoding scheme. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:03, 19 September 2013 (UTC)