All sorts of number systems have been proposed by previous civilizations, but our current system is a positional number system using a base 10. The number 1234 really means the sum of one thousand, plus two hundreds, plus three tens, plus four ones, which can be expressed as 1 × 1000 + 2 × 100 + 3 × 10 + 4 × 1. It should be obvious that the base 10 is nothing special, it just so happens that human beings have evolved with 10 digits, which we use for counting. This suggests that any number can be used as a base: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc. In fact, the decimal number system is not very convenient for computer technology, where electronic circuits switch on and off billions of times a second using binary numbers — numbers to a base 2- with great ease. In this text there is no real need to explore such numbers. This can be left to programmers who have to master number systems such as binary (base 2), octal (base 8) and hexadecimal (base 16).
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