In mathematics and computing, the hexadecimal (also base 16 or simply hex) numeral system is a positional numeral system that represents numbers using a radix (base) of 16. Unlike the decimal system representing numbers using 10 symbols, hexadecimal uses 16 distinct symbols, most often the symbols "0"–"9" to represent values 0 to 9, and "A"–"F" (or alternatively "a"–"f") to represent values from 10 to 15.
Software developers and system designers widely use hexadecimal numbers because they provide a human-friendly representation of binary-coded values. Each hexadecimal digit represents four bits (binary digits), also known as a nibble (or nybble). For example, an 8-bit byte can have values ranging from 00000000 to 11111111 in binary form, which can be conveniently represented as 00 to FF in hexadecimal.
In mathematics, a subscript is typically used to specify the base. For example, the decimal value 56,073 would be expressed in hexadecimal as DB0916. In programming, a number of notations are used to denote hexadecimal numbers, usually involving a prefix. The prefix 0x is used in C, which would denote this value as 0xDB09.
Hexadecimal is used in the transfer encoding Base16, in which each byte of the plaintext is broken into two 4-bit values and represented by two hexadecimal digits.
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