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DATA STORAGE:

    BITS AND BYTES
  1. BEYOND KILOBYTES

 

BITS AND BYTES

        The most basic, indivisible unit of computational information is called a bit. The word itself is a contraction of binary digit, referring to its two possible values denoted by the Arabic numerical digits, 0 and 1. Zero conventionally represents logical false, (-), off, or no, while one corresponds to true, (+), on, or yes. In quantum computing a quantum bit, or qubit, can exist in a superposition of both states (simultaneously true and false.)

        A byte (or octet) is the most basic addressable unit of digital information storage in a computer, consisting of a string of 8 bits. Half a byte, or four bits is a nibble, (or semioctet / quartet) and half a nibble or two bits is a semi-nibble. Memory circuits use the binary numeral system (base 2), rather than the decimal system (base 10) usually used elsewhere. The established prefix kilo in kilobyte refers to 103 or 1000 bytes. In binary, however, the closest value to this is 210 or 1024 bytes, which is approximately 1000. For this reason, there are two definitions of a kilobyte and every larger unit. As the units become larger, so does the divergence between their two possible values. For example a megabyte can be either 106 = 1,000,000 bytes or 220 = 10242 = 1,048,576 bytes, and a gigabyte is either 109 = 1,000,000,000 bytes or 230 = 10243 = 1,073,741,824 bytes.

 

BEYOND KILOBYTES

 
unit abbrev. bytes (decimal) bytes (binary)        
bit b ⅛ or 0.125 2-3
semi-nibble s ¼ or 0.25 2-2        
nibble n ½ or 0.5 2-1        
byte B 1 20
kilobyte kB 1000 or 103 210        
megabyte MB 10002 or 106 220
gigabyte GB 10003 or 109 230        
terabyte TB 10004 or 1012 240
petabyte PB 10005 or 1015 250        
exabyte EB 10006 or 1018 260
zettabyte ZB 10007 or 1021 270        
yottabyte YB 10008 or 1024 280        
brontobyte BB 10009 or 1027 290        
geopbyte GeB 100010 or 1030 2100        
saganbyte SB 100011 or 1033 2110        
pijabyte PiB 100012 or 1036 2120        
alphabyte AB 100013 or 1039 2130
kryatbyte KB 100014 or 1042 2140        
               

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