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Do you even know what a bit means?

Updated: Jul 4


Sana Paul, Nishtha Singh, Diksha Garg, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design, Digital, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Tech, Technology, Algorithmic Thinking, Algorithms, Cybernetics, Computing, Embodiment, Digital Landscape, IOT, Generative Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, AR, VR, Building Information Modelling, Analysis, BIM, Zeyka, Zeyka India, Architecture, Interior Design, Home Renovation, Construction, Tech, Design, Project Management Consulting, Architect, Architects, Interior, Interiors, Interior Designer, Interior Designers, Modular Wardrobe, Modular Bathroom, Modular Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Kid's Room, Pooja Room, Garden Design, Landscape Design, False Ceiling, Balcony, New Delhi, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad

‘There are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don’t.’ – the irony!


Read on if you read the numeral as ten.


The computer has a limited set of symbols for representing data. It only has two digits, 0 and 1, to be precise. They are known as binary digits or simply, bits. These correspond to the two electronic ox magnetic states used in computer circuits and storage. The smallest unit used to feed data and programmes into a computer is the bit.


What exactly is a small bit?

Sana Paul, Nishtha Singh, Diksha Garg, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design, Digital, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Tech, Technology, Algorithmic Thinking, Algorithms, Cybernetics, Computing, Embodiment, Digital Landscape, IOT, Generative Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, AR, VR, Building Information Modelling, Analysis, BIM, Zeyka, Zeyka India, Architecture, Interior Design, Home Renovation, Construction, Tech, Design, Project Management Consulting, Architect, Architects, Interior, Interiors, Interior Designer, Interior Designers, Modular Wardrobe, Modular Bathroom, Modular Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Kid's Room, Pooja Room, Garden Design, Landscape Design, False Ceiling, Balcony, New Delhi, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad

A bit is to information what an atom is to matter. A bit is (currently) binary, it either conveys yes or no, true or false, up or down, in or out, black or white. It is represented by a 1 or a 0.

Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get our hands a little, technical.


Because 1 and 0 are mutually exclusive, they cannot coexist. Bit sequences only use numbers that begin with either a 1, or a 0, or both. Picture this: 1, 10, 11, 100, 101, 110, 111, and so on.


32-Bit Depth: Millions of colours can be supported by 32-bit. The size of the graphic file is directly proportional to the colour depth. A 32-bit colour depth file is larger than a 16-bit colour depth file. As a result, a 32-bit colour file takes longer to display than a 16-bit colour depth graphic file. Some post-processing applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, are available in 32-bit versions. In this case, the bits represent the number of possible memory addresses. You can use up to 4GB of physical memory with 32 bits.

Sana Paul, Nishtha Singh, Diksha Garg, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design, Digital, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Tech, Technology, Algorithmic Thinking, Algorithms, Cybernetics, Computing, Embodiment, Digital Landscape, IOT, Generative Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, AR, VR, Building Information Modelling, Analysis, BIM, Zeyka, Zeyka India, Architecture, Interior Design, Home Renovation, Construction, Tech, Design, Project Management Consulting, Architect, Architects, Interior, Interiors, Interior Designer, Interior Designers, Modular Wardrobe, Modular Bathroom, Modular Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Kid's Room, Pooja Room, Garden Design, Landscape Design, False Ceiling, Balcony, New Delhi, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad

One bit means that the information recorded is only in the form of single digits, that is, 1 or 0. Not much information can be stored in this format. However, if the number of digits in the formation is increased to 8, say from 00000000 to the highest, 11111111, there are 256 permutations possible between the two. Now, picture this: 00000000, 00000001, 00000010, 00000011, and so on.


Previously, bit sequences, such as a chain bit, were only used to represent numerical information. That was back in the early days of computing.

Data encoding by discrete bits was first used in punched cards and was later adopted by Semyon Korsakov, Charles Babbage, Hermann Hollerith, and early computer manufacturers such as IBM.


The perforated paper tape was a variation on that concept. In all of these systems, the medium (card or tape) carried an array of hole positions; each position could be punched through or not, and carried one bit of information. Text was also encoded by bits in Morse code and early communications machines such as teletypes and stock ticker machines.

The year is not 2012 but people are likely still watching the YouTube video for Korean pop star Psy's smash hit Gangnam Style. The song received so many views that Google was forced to upgrade YouTube's infrastructure to keep up.


Since nobody imagined that a video would be watched more than 2 billion times when YouTube was first created, the view count was stored as a signed 32-bit integer. The maximum value of this number type (32-bit integer) is 2,147,483,647, which C programmers refer to as INT MAX. Recording another view after INT MAX is reached will result in a rollover to -2,147,483,648.


Instead of this, the switch to a 64-bit signed number ensures that Gangnam Style will remain safe until it reaches 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 views. It is unlikely that that will happen for another 4 billion years, but who knows?

Sana Paul, Nishtha Singh, Diksha Garg, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design, Digital, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Tech, Technology, Algorithmic Thinking, Algorithms, Cybernetics, Computing, Embodiment, Digital Landscape, IOT, Generative Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, AR, VR, Building Information Modelling, Analysis, BIM, Zeyka, Zeyka India, Architecture, Interior Design, Home Renovation, Construction, Tech, Design, Project Management Consulting, Architect, Architects, Interior, Interiors, Interior Designer, Interior Designers, Modular Wardrobe, Modular Bathroom, Modular Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Kid's Room, Pooja Room, Garden Design, Landscape Design, False Ceiling, Balcony, New Delhi, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad

While this is not a problem for desktops and servers, which have already made the switch to 64-bit counts, it is possible that embedded systems will still be 32-bit in the next 24 years.


Bit vocabulary has grown over time to include all types of audio and visual information. Digitisation is the process of sampling an object and its information in the form of bits of discrete numbers. When put in the correct order and instrument, these produce the render of that object.


The CAD model of your building is not saved in the form of lines, dimensions, and textures. Everything is a 0 and a 1. The term “bit” refers to the amount of tonal variation in an image.


Understanding the tonal values within an image can assist you in producing the best print possible. When you open Photoshop, the sheet setting prompts you to choose between 1 bit, 8 bit, 16 bit, or 32 bit. But what do they signify? Something as follows:

Sana Paul, Nishtha Singh, Diksha Garg, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design, Digital, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Tech, Technology, Algorithmic Thinking, Algorithms, Cybernetics, Computing, Embodiment, Digital Landscape, IOT, Generative Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, AR, VR, Building Information Modelling, Analysis, BIM, Zeyka, Zeyka India, Architecture, Interior Design, Home Renovation, Construction, Tech, Design, Project Management Consulting, Architect, Architects, Interior, Interiors, Interior Designer, Interior Designers, Modular Wardrobe, Modular Bathroom, Modular Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Kid's Room, Pooja Room, Garden Design, Landscape Design, False Ceiling, Balcony, New Delhi, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad

8-Bit Depth: Images with 8 bits have 256 colours. Each RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour in an image is created by a gradient from black to white. Between absolute black and absolute white, there are 256 shades of grey. This means that Red, Green, and Blue each have 256. The math is 256 x 256 x 256=16.7 million possible colours.


16-Bit Depth: It is the same as 8-bit, except you now have 65,536 × 65,536 × 65,536 = 281 trillion colours, instead of 16.7 million possible colours. You can probably imagine that with only 256 shades of grey, you can recognise banding (sometimes). With 65,536, banding, as a potential limitation in your images, has been eliminated.


When you choose 8 bits in Photoshop and go on to choose colours in RGB or CMYK, the value of black is always 0 and that of white is always 255. This is because all colours are stored within an 8-bit permutation range that never exceeds 256.


Finally, picture this: 8 bits is more than enough to perfectly reconstruct a human eye image or a photorealistic render, imagine what 16-bit and 32-bit would do!

Sana Paul, Nishtha Singh, Diksha Garg, Architects, Architecting, Architecture, Architectural, Design, Digital, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Tech, Technology, Algorithmic Thinking, Algorithms, Cybernetics, Computing, Embodiment, Digital Landscape, IOT, Generative Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, AR, VR, Building Information Modelling, Analysis, BIM, Zeyka, Zeyka India, Architecture, Interior Design, Home Renovation, Construction, Tech, Design, Project Management Consulting, Architect, Architects, Interior, Interiors, Interior Designer, Interior Designers, Modular Wardrobe, Modular Bathroom, Modular Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Kid's Room, Pooja Room, Garden Design, Landscape Design, False Ceiling, Balcony, New Delhi, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad



About the Writer

Sana Paul is an undergraduate architecture student and writer at the Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi; hailing from the cozy streets of Punjab. She has experience working at the India Lost and Found (ILF) by Amit Pasricha, and Rethinking The Future (RTF).


About the Editor

Nishtha Singh is an editor, writer and researcher in the fields of Philosophy of Language, Ethics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). She has trained as an editor at the Seagull School of Publishing, Calcutta and is a graduate of the Department of Philosophy, and the Hansraj College, University of Delhi (DU), India.


About the Illustrator

Diksha Garg is an undergraduate architecture student at the School of Planning and Architecture Bhopal, hailing from Chandigarh. She is an illustrator, graphic designer and writer. She has received a citation for G-Sen Trophy and a Juror's Choice Award for Journalism Trophy by the National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA), India.




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