Digital Data Representation WebQuest

posted by: Mr. Bergquist 19 September 2011 No Comment

We’ve learned that all computerized information is stored as binary – a numerical system in which only two states are possible. We generally think of this representation as a sequence of ‘0’s and ‘1’s.

In this webquest, you’ll use websites I outline as well as your favorite search engine to answer a series of questions related to digital data storage and representation. You should come away with a better understanding of how information is represented by computers.

Data storage

1. To represent the number 5634, how many bits do I need? (try search for ‘5634 in binary’ using Google)

2. The largest harddrives currently on the market have a capacity of approximately 10 terabytes (and costs around 1,500 to 2,500 dollars.) How many bits are in one terabyte?

3. Roughly how many MP3s can be stored in a terabyte of space? How many hours of music is this?

4. How are bits encoded on a CD?  Hint: search for how CDs work.

Digital images

  1. As we discussed, colors in digital pictures are represented numerically. Designers and web developers often describe colors in hexadecimal. What is hexadecimal and how is it related to binary?
  2. Why do you think designers use hexadecimal instead of binary?
  3. Use a color chart and write how your favorite color is represented both in hexadecimal (HTML code) and in decimal (three values for red, green and
  4. blue).
  5. Using a hex to binary converter, how many bits would it take to represent your color in binary?
  6. How many colors can be represented this way? (use your converter – the biggest color value in hexadecimal is FFFFFF for white)
  7. What is lossless compression?
  8. Give two examples of common image formats that are lossless.
  9. What is lossy compression?
  10. What common image file format is lossy?

(Taken from Ms Martin’s Digital Data Representation and Storage post from last year).

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