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Coding System

Text Representation ASCII Collating Sequence

What is a BIT

As w know a bit is the smallest unit in a computer system A bit can either be a 12 or a 02 This means that with one single bit we can only represent only 2 different values 12 = 110 and 02 = 010

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Representing Text, Pictures ect …

Text, pictures and videos are also stored in a computer system using a sequence of binary digits

Using one single bit is not enough due to its small size
If we want to store a large quantity of data many more bits are required.

Combining a number of Bits

Each time a bit is combined with another bit, more different combinations can be stored.

If we will be using two bits to store data, there are a total of 22= 4 different combinations
Hence if we have 4 bits we would have 24= 16 different combinations

Working

With the following number of bits how many combinations could be created? 5 bits 3 bits 6 bits 8 bits

1. 2. 3. 4.

Answers
1.

5 bits = 25  32 combinations 3 bits = 23  8 combinations 6 bits = 26  64 combinations

2.

3.

4.

8 bits = 28  256 combinations

List of Combination
Number of Bits Calculation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Number of Combinations 2 4 8 16 32 64 128

8

28

256

In the Early Days

When computers were first introduced they were simply used for performing calculations

After a while scientists realized that computers can also be used to store and edit text in different ways
The problem was that a computer could only understand binary (1s & 0s)

ASCII Coding System

The scientists had to come up with a way for binary to be able to represent characters ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) was developed With ASCII every single character is assigned a binary code

ASCII also allows computers to communicate with each other (files containing text can be copied from one computer to another)

How ASCII Coding Works

The first ASCII system used a series of 7 Bits This meant that 27=128 different characters could be used These 128 characters are represented in the following table

Code 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Char NUL SOH STX ETX EOT ENQ ACK BEL BS TAB LF VT FF CR SO SI DLE DC1 DC2 DC3 DC4 NAK SYN ETB CAN EM SUB ESC FS GS RS US

Code 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63

Char Space ! “ # $ % & ‘ ( ) * + , . / 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 : ; < = > ?

Code 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95

Char @ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z [ \ ] ^ _

Code 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127

Char ` a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z { | } ~ DEL

Now a Day’s

The first 32 characters were used for transmission purposes, they are no longer needed After some time it was noted that ASCII consisted only of the English alphabet, so an extra bit was added to accommodate more languages, graphics and mathematical symbols By adding an extra bit 128 more characters can be stored since 28=256.

Codes Available Today

Try it!
You can check the symbols on your computer by typing in its decimal code 1. Open Notepad (Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad) 2. Make sure that NUM LOCK is switched on 3. Press and hold ALT 4. From the Numpad enter the 3 digits that you want (example 234 for Ω) 5. Release the ALT, and the symbol should appear.

Important Note

It is important that all computers use ASCII as otherwise different codes would represent different values

Example if a computer used the XYZ system (fictitious) and another uses ASCII the work HELLO would be represented differently on the two machines

Coding in ASCII

We must use the ASCII table to be able to code the following;
H E 69 1000101 L 76 1001100 L 76 1001100 O 79 1001111

Letter

Decimal Code 72 Binary Code 1001000

Example of XYZ system

Remember this is fictitious
Code Char
69 70 71 72 73 74 75 ! “ £ $ % ^ &

Code Char
1 2 3 4 5 6 ... A B C D E F

Code Char
76 77 78 79 80 81 ... * ( ) _ +

So HELLO would look different when decoded
1001100 76 * 1001100 76 * 1001111 79 -

Binary Code 1001000 1000101 Decimal Letter 72 $ 69 !

When the computer with the XYZ representation system receives the text file from the computer with the ASCII representation system instead of HELLO, one will see $!**-, which is completely wrong!
Since nowadays computers are used across the world a new system is being used which is UNICODE

UNICODE is compatible with ASCII but then it uses a different system. A list of UNICODE characters can be accessed on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unico

Work

Code the following word using ASCII;

Letter Decimal Code Binary Code

B

Y

E

!

!

Answer
Letter B Y 89 E 69 ! 33 ! 33

Decimal Code 66

Binary Code

1000010

1011001

1000101

0100001

0100001

Collating Sequence

The character codes assigned to the characters in ASCII are very important since they can be used to sort letters and distinguishing from upper to lower case letters For instance if the letters C, V and B have to be sorted, they can be easily sorted by looking at their ASCII code and use it to sort text in ascending (AZ) or descending order (ZA).

Example

Using the ASCII codes the computer could sort the letters in ascending or descending order by sorting the ASCII code (numbers)
Character C V B Code 67 86 66