# Storing Numbers as Bits & Bytes

## Introduction

Have you ever wondered how the text you type, the images you view, and the videos you watch are all just a sequence of numbers inside your computer? As a systems engineer, I find it fascinating how the smallest units of data, bits and bytes, come together to create these complex digital experiences. Today, I want to dive into how numbers themselves are stored in a computer and the magic behind the ones and zeros.

## The Basics: Bits and Bytes

At the heart of digital storage are bits and bytes. A bit is the smallest unit of data in a computer and can hold a value of either 0 or 1. Think of it as a tiny switch that can either be off (0) or on (1). A byte, on the other hand, is a collection of eight bits. This structure allows for a wide range of numbers to be stored, from 0 to 255, in just one byte.

## Binary System: The Language of Computers

Computers use the binary system to perform operations and store data. In this system, every number is represented using only the digits 0 and 1. For example, the decimal number 5 is represented as `101`

in binary. The power of binary lies in its simplicity and efficiency, allowing computers to execute complex calculations and store vast amounts of information with incredible speed.

## Storing Integers

When storing integers, computers use a method called **binary encoding**. The integer value is converted into its binary form and then stored as a series of bits. For example, the decimal number 13 is `1101`

in binary, which would be stored as `00001101`

in an 8-bit system. With larger integers, more bits are used to accommodate the additional data.

## Storing Rational Numbers

Rational numbers, or fractions, are also stored in binary form. However, the process is a bit more complex. Typically, floating-point representation is used to encode these numbers. The number is divided into two parts: the mantissa and the exponent. This allows the computer to store a wide range of values, from very small fractions to very large numbers. For an in-depth understanding of rational numbers, you can check out this resource.

## Conclusion

The world of digital storage is nothing short of magical when you understand the basics of how bits and bytes operate. It's amazing to see how such small elements can come together to create the complex systems we rely on every day. As a systems engineer, there's always more to learn, and each discovery deepens my appreciation for the digital world.

Thank you for joining me in this exploration of how numbers are stored as bits and bytes. Feel free to dive deeper into any of these topics to uncover even more of the magic behind our digital devices.