# Grade 6 Math Circles. Binary and Beyond

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1 Faculty of Mathematics Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 The Decimal System Grade 6 Math Circles October 15/16, 2013 Binary and Beyond The cool reality is that we learn to count in only one of many possible number systems: the decimal system. The decimal system is our default number system. The word decimal doesn t just mean a number with digits on the right side of a dot. In fact, the word decimal is derived from the Latin word decem which means ten. Strictly speaking, the decimal system is a number system of base 10. Don t worry about all the fancy language right now. Just follow along with the example below to find out what s so special about the number 10 in the decimal system. Example 1 Notice that we can write the number 4175 in the following way: 4175 = (4)(1000) + (1)(100) + (7)(10) + (5)(1) = (4)(10 3 ) + (1)(10 2 ) + (7)(10 1 ) + (5)(10 0 ) We can also write in a similar way: = (1)(10 4 ) + (2)(10 3 ) + (0)(10 2 ) + (9)(10 1 ) + (9)(10 0 ) Do you see a pattern? Each number can be written as a sum composed of their digits times specific powers of 10, where the powers correspond to the place value of the digits in the number. For example, in 4175, the digit 7 is in the tens column and so corresponds to the power So we can basically say that in the decimal system, numbers are built from powers of 10. 1

2 Let s summarize what we have discovered: Place Value Thousands Hundreds Tens Ones Power And note that this pattern continues for higher place values. Also, we should make one other important point about the decimal system. That is, in the decimal system, digits may be integers from 0 to 9 only. We cannot have a digit with a value greater than or equal to 10 since it would require at least two place values. So we can now talk about the decimal number system as as the following: The decimal system is a number system with base 10. Every place value corresponds to a power of 10 and a digit may be any integer from 0 to 9. Exercise I (a) Write the following numbers in expanded form (as sums of powers of 10): i ii. 593 iii (b) Write the following numbers in standard form (usual digit representation): i. (7)(10 4 ) + (4)(10 2 ) + (3)(10 1 ) ii. (9)(10 5 ) + (2)(10 3 ) + (8)(10 1 ) + (1)(10 0 ) + (4)(10 0 ) iii. (6)(10 3 ) + (4)(10 2 ) + (10)(10 1 ) + (3)(10 0 ) 2

3 Binary Numbers Another number system that is used every day is the binary system. It is the number system that computers use. It can be described as follows: The binary system is a number system with base 2. Every place value corresponds to a power of 2 and a digit may only be either 0 or 1. Some examples of binary numbers are 11, 10001, , and Note that these are not read as eleven, ten-thousand and one, etc., but as one-one, one-zero-zero-zero-one, and so on (to avoid confusion). Just like the decimal system used powers of 10 to create place values, the binary system uses powers of 2 to do the same. Look at the expanded form of the binary number and the way it is written in the place value chart: (1)(2 5 ) + (1)(2 4 ) + (0)(2 3 ) + (1)(2 2 ) + (1)(2 1 ) + (0)(2 0 ) Place Value Place Value Digit Converting From Binary to Decimal Example 2 Write the binary number as a decimal number. Solution First we represent the binary number with a place value chart: Place Value Place Value Digit Notice that we make 5 place value columns because the binary number is 5 digits long. We place the digits as they appear in the binary number. 3

4 Just as we did with the decimal numbers, we can now write as a sum of powers, in this case powers of (1)(2 4 ) + (0)(2 3 ) + (1)(2 2 ) + (0)(2 1 ) + (1)(2 0 ) = (1)(2 4 ) + (1)(2 2 ) + (1)(2 0 ) = = 21 So the binary number is the decimal number 21. Notice that all we actually need to do is add up the numbers in the Place Value row that have a 1 below in the Digits row. Lets summarize the steps to convert a binary number to a decimal number: 1. Write out the binary number using a place value chart (as in Example 2). 2. Add the numbers in the Place Value row that have a 1 below in the Digits row. 3. The sum is the decimal form of the binary number. Exercise II (a) Read the following binary numbers out-loud and then order them from least to greatest: i ii iii (b) Convert the following binary numbers to decimal numbers: i ii iii

5 Converting From Decimal to Binary Example 3 Write the decimal number 13 as a binary number. Solution We want to write 13 as a sum of powers of 2. Each power of 2 in the sum must be multiplied by a 1 or 0 since these are the only allowed integers for binary digits. What is the best way to do this? We can start by trying to find the greatest power of 2 that is less than or equal to 13. We find that this is 2 3 = 8, and so we may write 13 as the following: 13 = = (1)(2 3 ) + 5 Now we just need to write 5 as a sum of powers of 2. The greatest power of 2 that is less than or equal to 5 is 2 2 = 4. Therefore, we can write 13 = = (1)(2 3 ) + (1)(2 2 ) + 1 Now we only need to write 1 as a power of 2. Since 2 0 = 1, then 13 can be written as a sum of powers of 2 as 13 = (1)(2 3 ) + (1)(2 2 ) + (0)(2 1 ) + (1)(2 0 ) So now we can construct a binary place value chart with 8 and 2 3 in the left-most column in the Place Value rows: Place Value Place Value Digit Notice that we place the 1 s and 0 s in the Digits row so that they correspond to the appropriate powers of 2 (from the equation above). Therefore, we can just read off from the chart that 13 can be written in binary as

6 Now that you have seen an example of how to convert a decimal number to a binary number, you have one method to do it. But we can simplify the method in some easy to follow steps: 1. Find the greatest power of 2 less than or equal to the decimal number. 2. Make a place value chart with the left-most column containing the greatest power of 2 (from Step 1) in the Place Value rows. 3. Fill in the left-most column in the Digit row with a 1. Subtract the place value of this column from the original decimal number and keep track of the difference (called a running total). 4. Repeat Step 1 using the running total. Under that place value, put a 1 in the Digit row. Subtract the place value of this column from the running total to get a new running total. 5. Repeat the procedure until the running total becomes 0. Fill in the remaining spaces in the Digits column with zeros. 6. Read off the Digits row from left to right. This is the binary form of the decimal number. Example 4 Write the decimal number 26 as a binary number. Solution Step 1: The greatest power of 2 less than or equal to 26 is 2 4 = 16. Step 2: Construct the place value chart with the left-most column being the 2 4 place value: Place Value Place Value Digit Step 3: Running total = = 10. Place Value Place Value Digit 1 6

7 Step 4: The greatest power of 2 less than or equal to 10 is 2 3 = 8. Running total = 10 8 = 2. Place Value Place Value Digit 1 1 Step 5: The greatest power of 2 less than or equal to 2 is 2 1 = 2. Running total = 2 2 = 0. Place Value Place Value Digit Fill in the remaining spaces in the Digits row with zeros: Place Value Place Value Digit Step 6: The binary form of 26 is Notice that the running total is like a remainder in division. We are really just doing division. We are dividing the decimal number (and then the running total) by the greatest power of the base (in this case 2) that is less than or equal to the decimal number (or the running total in later steps). This idea will be important when we convert decimal numbers to numbers of an arbitrary base number system. Exercise III Write the following decimal numbers as binary numbers: (a) 45 (b) 128 (c) 30 7

8 Number Systems of Arbitrary Base So far we have seen two different number systems of different bases: decimal (base 10) and binary (base 2). Now lets think about the general idea of a number system with base B. What was special about the numbers 10 and 2 in the two number systems we studied? There were a couple of important things that I hope you noticed: The place values were powers of the base. The digits were allowed to be integers from 0 to the base minus 1. So just by changing the base of a number system, we can change the way in which numbers are represented completely. The base characterizes the number system. This motivates the following definition: A base B number system is a number system in which every place value corresponds to a power of B and a digit may only be an integer from 0 to (B 1). For example, consider the base 6 number system. Place values correspond to powers of 6 and digits may be integers from 0 to (6 1) = 5. An example of a base 6 number is It has the expanded form below and can be written in a place value chart as follows: (5)(6 5 ) + (4)(6 4 ) + (0)(6 3 ) + (1)(6 2 ) + (2)(6 1 ) + (3)(6 0 ) Place Value Place Value Digit

9 Restrictions on Choice of Base We cannot have 0 or 1 as a base. The main problem is that there is no meaning to place value for these bases because their powers are equal to themselves regardless of the exponent (and even undefined in the case of 0 0 ). Can you think of another reason why we can t have 0 or 1 as a base? A base must be a positive integer because we count using positive integers. A place value must be countable. A base B number system with B > 10 can be created with appropriate numerals. In the B 0 place value, we would count 1, 2, 3,..., 8, 9,..., B 1. So if B = 12 let s say, we would have to put 10 and 11 in the B 0 place value (ie. treat them as one digit). But they are two-digit numbers! However, if we use a to represent 10 and b to represent 11, then numbers like 22 or 23 could be written in base 12 as 1a and 1b respectively. The reason we have trouble creating a base B number system with B > 10 is that we use Arabic numerals for our numbers. These numerals were created for a base 10 system. Other ancient civilizations used base B number systems with B > 10, such as the Mayans. To make such a system work, they used different numerals then we do. In general, if you define your own set of numerals, there are infinitely many base B number systems that you could make. Think about why we chose to use base

10 Problem Set *difficult **challenge 1. Write (1)(2 6 ) + (4)(2 2 ) + (1)(2 1 ) as a binary number. 2. Write (1)(2 4 ) + (1)(2 2 ) + (1)(2 0 ) as a decimal number. 3. Write (5)(8 5 ) + (3)(8 4 ) + (7)(8 1 ) as a base 8 number. 4. Convert the base 3 number to a decimal number. 5. Binary numbers can also be used to encrypt messages! Figure out the following secret message by converting each binary number to base 10 and then matching the base 10 number to the corresponding letter of the alphabet (ie. 3 C, 13 M, 1 A) *6. A palindrome is a positive integer whose digits are the same when read forwards or backwards. For example, 2002 is a palindrome. How many more 3-digit palindromes exist in the decimal number system than in the binary number system? 7. The Mayans used a base 20 number system. How do you think they learned to count? What number system do you think we would use if we learned to count with only our fingers and not our thumbs? 8. Consider the base 5 number system. (a) What are the place values in this number system? (b) What integers are allowed to be digits in this number system? (c) Write the following decimal numbers as base 5 numbers: i. 700 ii. 127 iii Invent your own set of numerals and make a base B number system with B > Let s add binary numbers! Do the following binary calculations by first converting the numbers to base 10, performing the calculations, and then converting the answer back to binary. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

11 *11. Use the results from the previous question to do the following binary calculations without converting to base 10. Check your answers by converting the numbers to base 10 and then performing the calculations. Hint: Think of place value and carrying (as with base 10 addition). (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) *12. (a) How many different 5-digit binary numbers are there? (b) How many different 5-digit binary numbers are there that have 1 as the last digit? (c) How many different 5-digit base B numbers are there for a given B? Assume 2 B 10. **13. For a given positive integer n 2, (a) How many different n-digit binary numbers are there? (b) How many different n-digit binary numbers are there that have 1 as the last digit? (c) How many different n-digit base B numbers are there for a given B? Assume 2 B 10. **14. A friend gives you a challenge: There are seven stacks of coins that look the same. Each stack has exactly 100 coins. There are two stacks that have counterfeit coins, and all 100 coins in each of those two stacks are counterfeit. Your task is to figure out which two of the seven stacks contain the counterfeit coins. The counterfeit coins weigh 11g each, while the real coins weigh 10g each. You have an electric balance, but you can only use it to make one measurement. How can you determine which two stacks contain the counterfeit coins with only one use of the balance? Explain why the strategy works. Hint: Think about taking different numbers of coins from each of the stacks and placing them on the balance together. Think about the important numbers in the binary number system. 11

12 Answers I (a) i. (1)(10 5 ) + (2)(10 3 ) + (7)(10 1 ) + (9)(10 0 ) ii. (5)(10 2 ) + (9)(10 1 ) + (3)(10 0 ) iii. (5)(10 4 ) + (4)(10 3 ) + (1)(10 0 ) (b) i ii iii II (a) < < (b) i. 51 ii. 15 iii. 512 III (a) (b) (c) Problem Set

13 5. MATH IS FUN The Mayans likely used their fingers, thumbs, and toes to count. We would likely count in the base 8 number system if we learned to count with only using our fingers (no thumbs). 8. (a) Powers of 5 (b) A digit can be any one of the integers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4. (c) i ii iii Answers may vary. 10. (a) 0 (b) 1 (c) 1 (d) 10 (e) (a) 11 (b) 1111 (c) 100 (d) 1000 (e) (a) 16 (b) 8 (c) B 5 B (a) 2 n 2 n 1 ( ) 1 (b) (2 n 2 n 1 ) 2 (c) B n B n See solutions. 13

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