The decimal system, or base-10, is the number system most frequently utilized by humans in day-to-day life. This system utilizes ten distinct digits: 0 through 9. The position of each digit in a decimal number signifies a different power of 10. Hence, it’s known as a positional number system.
Consider the number 4567. The ‘7’ is in the ones place (10^0), the ‘6’ is in the tens place (10^1), the ‘5’ is in the hundreds place (10^2), and the ‘4’ is in the thousands place (10^3). So, in expanded form, it can be expressed as (41000) + (5100) + (610) + (71).
We use the decimal system virtually everywhere in our daily life. When we count the money in our wallets, check the time, read dates, measure weights and distances, or even when tallying scores in a game, we are using the decimal system. Most of our mathematical education is also based on the decimal system, from basic arithmetic to complex equations.
In the world of computers and digital technology, however, binary (base-2) is the norm because digital circuits use the binary language of 1s and 0s, corresponding to ‘on’ and ‘off’ states in the circuit. Nevertheless, for most user interfaces and applications, these binary numbers are converted back into the decimal system. This is because the decimal system is much more intuitive and easier for humans to read and comprehend.
For instance, suppose we have the binary number 11001. Although a computer can process this directly, it would be challenging for most humans to make sense of it. So, for human users, this binary number is often converted to its decimal equivalent, which is 25. This conversion happens behind the scenes in most digital devices and user interfaces, bridging the gap between the binary understanding of machines and the decimal thinking of humans.
In essence, the decimal system, with its ease of understanding and ubiquitous use in daily life, plays a crucial role in human interaction with the numerical and digital world. Despite the internal workings of computers being binary, the conversion of binary to decimal ensures that human-computer interactions remain user-friendly and intuitive.