# LABORATORY. Exploring Number Systems OBJECTIVES REFERENCES

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1 Dmitriy Shironosov/ShutterStock, Inc. LABORATORY Exploring Number Systems 2 OBJECTIVES Experiment with number systems. Gain practice adding in binary and converting between bases. REFERENCES Software needed: 1) Number Systems app from the Lab Manual website (Number Systems.jar) 2) Binary Addition app from the Lab Manual website (Binary Addition.jar)

2 Exploring Number Systems 7 BACKGROUND Review these topics from your textbook, lecture notes, or online resources: Number systems and positional notation Binary, octal, and hexadecimal numbers Converting between bases Binary addition ACTIVITY Part 1 First, review positional notation of numbers in several bases, including decimal (base 1), binary (base 2), octal (base 8), and hexadecimal (base 16). See your textbook, lecture notes, or online resources. Bring up the Number Systems app and experiment with converting a few numbers, both from decimal to the other base and from the other base to decimal. For example, try the following exercises: Type the decimal number 26 into the top text area, and press the Convert button next to it (or simply press Return after you type the decimal number). You will see 111, which is 26 expressed in binary.

3 8 Laboratory 2 Now try converting in the other direction. Type 7777 into the Base X text area. This time, before you press the Convert button, you need to tell the app what base 7777 is a numeral of. Could it be binary? Base 5? Even base 7? (If you re not sure, review positional notation.) 7777 could be decimal, octal, or hexadecimal. Pull down the choice bar and select Octal. Now you can press Convert! What did you get? 495? Try verifying that the app didn t make a mistake (always a smart thing to do, considering that apps are software, and software is written by people, and people make mistakes) Some calculator programs, such as the Windows Calculator, also allow you to convert between decimal, binary, octal, and hexadecimal.

5 1 Laboratory 2 Now press the Add button and watch it go. First, the app converts 5 to binary, which is 11, and stashes that in the top binary box. Then it converts 7 to binary (111) and tucks that into the bottom box. Next, it splits those binary numbers into bits and pads them on the left side with s. (Why do you suppose computers insist on putting useless s on the left side of numbers?) Finally, the app animates its addition, column by column. When it is done, you will see 11 both in the Binary box and split up into bits. Can you convert that into decimal? You can confirm on the app screen that it s 12. Many of the apps in this lab manual have an Example button (or buttons) that you should explore. The Example button usually displays a harder task than you might think of inputting yourself. In later labs, the examples show you complex patterns that would take too long to type in. In any case, press it now to see what the app does.

6 Exploring Number Systems 11 EXERCISE 1 Name Date Section 1) Convert the binary number to decimal by hand, showing all steps. 2) Using the Number systems app, type into the Base X text area. Verify your answer above. Take a screenshot. 3) One way to convert a decimal number to binary is to repeatedly divide the number by 2, writing down the remainder at each step. To see how to do this in binary, type a number, such as 49, into the Base 1 text area of the Number Systems app and press Convert. The steps are shown in the little pink window that pops up.

8 Exploring Number Systems 13 DEEPER INVESTIGATION Many anthropologists believe that most human societies use base 1 (decimal) for their counting system because we have 1 fingers. (Why people don t use their toes as well, hence favoring a base 2 system, is a good question. Perhaps during the Ice Age, people had to keep coverings on their feet when they tramped from continent to continent!) There are a few interesting discrepancies. For example, the ancient Babylonians had a base 6 system, which shows itself still today in our minutes and seconds, and in our 36-degree compasses. Imagine what kinds of problems you would have to solve if you insisted on using a base 6 system. What would your calculator keypad look like? Would it be practical? An even deeper question is what base 1 would look like. Base 2, 3, 4, 5,... 8,... 1,... 16, even 6 are all very similar. In base X, there are X symbols, from up to (X 1). These symbols are multiplied by powers of X. But what about base 1? If you multiply 1 by any power, you still get 1. However, base 1, also called unary, actually has a place in theoretical computer science. Describe what a base 1 number would look like and how you could convert between decimal and unary.

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