A binary number system is one that contains only two numbers. Today, most people are familiar with this type of a number system from the 1’s and 0’s that make up computer language. In a microcontroller, a binary number system is utilized to control the device at the most basic level. The 1’s and 0’s correspond to on and off states. Combine many binary numbers together and the possibility of making enormously complex systems, such as computers, follows.

Binary numbers are really at the foundation of all computer technology. Logic circuits—detailed below—utilize digital input to generate digital output in the form of binary numbers. These can be interpreted by machines in a way that allows them to do everything from add letters to a comment when a key is depressed to surf the internet to shutting down a dangerous line in a refinery if an alert condition comes up in some part of the complex. Microcontrollers and all other computer equipment utilize binary math to perform all the tasks they can be programmed to do.