The decimal (aka Base 10) number system uses ten symbols for counting and expressing value.
The decimal system as we know it today found its origin in India in the 9th century. Of course, different number systems had been in use by other civilisations before, but they all lacked a symbol for the value of zero. The first recorded use of the symbol '0' as a place value was found on a stone tablet dating back to the year 876. The inscription on this stone tablet concerns a planted garden in the Indian town of Gwalior. It is inscribed that this garden would produce enough flowers for 50 garlands per day, given to a local temple.
The decimal number system arrived in Europe in 1202 with the book titled 'Liber Abaci' by Fibonacci, also known as Leonardo of Pisa. Fibonacci praised the decimal system and explained that any number may be written with the nine Indian figures 1-9 and with the sign 0. Today, the decimal system is the most commonly used system for most calculations and it has no limitation in value representation.
Decimal Symbols and Values
In the decimal number system, the symbols 0 to 9 represent values zero to nine. Unlike other number systems, decimal values generally do not require a specific prefix or suffix. However, in calculations with other number systems you may find decimal values represent by the subscript '10'.
Decimal Symbols Table
|Decimal Value||Decimal Symbol||Possible Decimal Value Representations|
The left most digit within a decimal number is the least significant digit (LSD) and has the lowest place value. As further the digits move to the right, as higher the place value becomes. The right most digit within a decimal number is the most significant digit (MSD) and has the highest place value.
Decimal Place Values
|Power of 10 (|
Decimal Number Line
Example of a number line displaying hexadecimal numbers from
Counting Bananas in Decimal
In above image, let us count all the bananas in decimal. We count as follows:
1 … 2 … 3 … That's it, there are
3 bananas in above image!
Counting Pears in Decimal
Now let us count all the pears in decimal. We count as follows:
1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … 5 … 6 … 7 … 8 … 9 … 10 … 11 … That's it, there are
11 pears in above image!
Counting Apples in Decimal
We can also count all the apples in decimal. We count as follows:
1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … 5 … 6 … 7 … 8 … 9 … 10 … 11 … 12 … 13 … 14 … 15 … 16 … That's it, there are
16 apples in above image!