Bit

A bit (a contraction of binary digit) is the basic capacity of information in computing and telecommunications; a bit can have the value of either 1 or 0 (one or zero) only. These attributes may be implemented, in a variety of systems, by means of a two state device.

In computing, a bit can be defined as a variable or computed quantity that can have only two possible values. These two values are often interpreted as binary digits and are usually denoted by the numerical digits 0 and 1. The two values can also be interpreted as logical values (true/false, yes/no), algebraic signs (+/), activation states (on/off), or any other two-valued attribute. The correspondence between these values and the physical states of the underlying storage or device is a matter of convention, and different assignments may be used even within the same device or program. The length of a binary number may be referred to as its "bit-length".

In information theory, one bit is typically defined as the uncertainty of a binary random variable that is 0 or 1 with equal probability, or the information that is gained when the value of such a variable becomes known.

In quantum computing, a quantum bit or qubit is a quantum system that can exist in superposition of two bit values, "true" and "false".

The symbol for bit, as a unit of information, is either simply "bit" (recommended by the ISO/IEC standard 80000-13 (2008)) or lowercase "b" (recommended by the IEEE 1541 Standard (2002)).

Read more about Bit:  History, Representation, Information Capacity and Information Compression, Multiple Bits, Bit-based Computing, Other Information Units

Famous quotes containing the word bit:

    Bit by bit ... she had claimed herself. Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931)

    Assumptions of male superiority are as widespread and deep rooted and every bit as crippling to the woman as the assumptions of white supremacy are to the Negro.... this is no more a man’s world than it is a white world.
    Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, African American civil rights organization. SNCC Position Paper (Women in the Movement)

    Henry David Thoreau, who never earned much of a living or sustained a relationship with any woman that wasn’t brotherly—who lived mostly under his parents’ roof ... who advocated one day’s work and six days “off” as the weekly round and was considered a bit of a fool in his hometown ... is probably the American writer who tells us best how to live comfortably with our most constant companion, ourselves.
    Edward Hoagland (b. 1932)