Business Data Structures
Bits and Bytes
In this section, we start with the very basics: the machine level representation of how data is stored in the computer. It is not possible to truly understand data structures without a general understanding of basic data types (Chapter 2). Correspondingly, it is not possible to truly understand basic data types without first understanding the components (bits and bytes) which make up these basic data types. Its basically that simple; in fact, it is that simple (no adjectives needed). For an electronic engineer, the material covered in this chapter would be considered profoundly rudimentary. It would be as necessary as memorization of multiplication tables are to normal day functioning; we would not even be aware that we were once forced to memorize them unless it were brought to our attention.
With this in mind, we undertake our discussion of bits and bytes, and how the computer interprets bit sequences. The material discussed is not meant to qualify you to build your own computer, nor even to give you a complete understanding of how computers operate. The intent is to provide you with an overview of how computers function and, basically, how they process data. At times, the chapter might be oversimplified, and certain areas will be omitted. However, as noted above, failure to grasp the concepts presented here probably means that you will experience similar results when it comes to understanding data structures.
This page was last updated on 05/20/03.