What is the physical form of binary data in a computer processor?

  • Thread starter greswd
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Main Question or Discussion Point

This a general, layman question. Computer processors work with binary digits, 1 and 0. Of course, computer processors can be seen as microscopic forms of Babbage's analytic engine. So in reality, in the circuits of a microprocessor, what physical form do binary digits take?
 

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  • #2
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High and low voltage in circuits.
 
  • #3
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High and low voltage in circuits.
what about on/off currents? Though, I've heard that binary in newfangled quantum computers corresponds to excited and de-excited states of atoms.
 
  • #4
berkeman
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what about on/off currents?
No, not in typical digital logic circuits. Voltage levels are used to encode the binary data.
 
  • #5
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Though, I've heard that binary in newfangled quantum computers corresponds to excited and de-excited states of atoms.
Quantum computers will use different mechanisms, right. There is no quantum computer processor yet.
Current is problematic to control (it would always depend on sender AND receiver of data).
 
  • #6
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Quantum computers will use different mechanisms, right. There is no quantum computer processor yet.
Current is problematic to control (it would always depend on sender AND receiver of data).
what about the one from D-Wave?
 
  • #7
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No, not in typical digital logic circuits. Voltage levels are used to encode the binary data.
the sort of digital logic circuits found in most PCs? what sort of circuits use current?
 
  • #8
rcgldr
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Processors also include "tables" of data for certain operations, so in addtion to voltage levels, binary data is represented by the presence or absence of connectors or diodes used to change a set of voltage inputs into a particular combination for output from a table.
 
  • #9
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what about the one from D-Wave?
Is that more than an announcement?
Their flux qubits would use the direction of current flow (or, equivalently, the direction of a magnetic field) to decode 0, 1 and superpositions of those.

the sort of digital logic circuits found in most PCs?
In all.

what sort of circuits use current?
Well, current can correspond to data in analog circuits.
 

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