A Bit is the most basic unit of information that exists in a binary numbering system. Bit is short for BInary digiT. That means that there are only two states, usually expressed as some variation of high and low current, which stand for the two binary volumes 0 and 1. They can also be expressed as yes/no expressions, or either/or ones. One such expression is one bit, and multiples of them are what, combined together, makes every file, program and computer function that we use.
Technipages Explains Bit
Eight bits comprise 1 byte, and most file sizes are expressed in magnitudes thereof, such as kilo-, mega-, giga- or terabyte. There are other quantifications as well – a collection of four bits is called a nibble, while a byte can also be referred to as an octet. These small sets of bits generally do not occur alone, but as parts of something bigger. An example could be a word – in a Windows environment, a word like ‘apple’ is stored within 16bits of data.
The term bit was first used in a paper on mathematics in 1948, though the contraction was first made in 1947. Since the bit became the basic unit of information in information theory, computing, and digital communications, bit is now a common term in computing.
While other forms of data storage and transmission are possible, the bit proved to be a very affordable and easy to implement method – also one that has a very high rate of success. Only incredibly few bits are lost or misrepresented in modern storage devices such as hard disks – and software can usually recover or replace them. Bit-based storage devices are cheap and reliable, which led to their prevalence when it comes to data storage today.
Common Uses of Bit
- Bits are the smallest unit used in bit-based computing.
- An octet, or eight bits is half the space needed to store a common word.
- A gigabyte is a file that takes up several magnitudes the space that a single bit does.
Common Misuses of Bit
- A bit is the unit in which the transfer speed of files is measured via a network.