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, Bits and Bytes
The smallest unit of information a computer can hold in its memory. A bit is always represented as a 0 or a 1 in binary code. The word is a contraction of "binary digit."
bit a digit which takes the value zero or one and which can therefore be represented electronically by an off/on switch in a COMPUTER. Computers use groups of bits to represent numbers or letters for storage, transmission and processing of numerical or alphabetical data. Specifically, computers use various off/on permutations of eight bits to represent all numbers, letters and punctuation characters. Most computers use multiples of eight bits to handle data in this way and various eight-bit, sixteen-bit and thirty-two bit machines are available, the larger ones generally being able to process data faster.