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Is there such thing as one bit of information?

  1. Mar 22, 2015 #1
    The smallest unit of information is a bit, which has two possible states. Yet don't you also have to specify the location of this information? So in a 4d world we're talking about 4 + 1 = 5 degrees of freedom, or 5 bits of information to code for just the one bit.

    So is there really such thing as one bit of information or is each bit of information really 5 bits?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2015 #2

    mfb

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    No. You can say "this device [here] stores one bit of information". And this information (not your description of it!) can then be zero or one.
     
  4. Mar 22, 2015 #3
    Why should it be necessary for a bit of information to be described in a 4d world space?
    Depending on what the bit represents it could be in any dimensional world space.
    8 bits in a computer memory describe what is called a 'byte', which represents a value in a linear (one dimensional) world space.
    We don't need to know where the computer is located in space and time for the information to be meaningful.
     
  5. Mar 22, 2015 #4

    DaveC426913

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  6. Mar 23, 2015 #5
    Isn't this base 5 though rather than base 1?
    Here, each 'cell' of information, (or whatever it's called) has five possible states instead of two, so obviously less such cells can indicate a given value.
    Take the number 27 for example though, that's just a number out of thin air.
    It can be described in binary as 11011, five information cells.
    In the tally system it is 5+5+5+5+5+2, 6 information cells to describe the same number.
     
  7. Mar 23, 2015 #6

    mfb

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    The groups of 5 are just made to make it more convenient to read. Every tick has the same value of 1, independent of its position.
     
  8. Mar 23, 2015 #7

    DaveC426913

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    Wut mfb said. :wink:
     
  9. Mar 23, 2015 #8
    It certainly is convenient given that we have five fingers.
     
  10. Mar 23, 2015 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Well, thing is, as soon as you introduce fingers, you also introduce position. You can count up to 31 on a single hand if you use binary, because each finger has a unique position and therefore can be ascribed a unique meaning.

    In the tally system, there are no columns/positions. If there are five marks, then it indicates five, regardless of mark position, proximity or spacing.
     
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