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Orders of magnitude (data)

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Orders of magnitude
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This is a list of orders of magnitude for data (or information), measured in bits. This article assumes a formal attitude towards terminology. That means two things:

  1. A group of 8 bits in a computer is called an octet. A byte is the same for most practical purposes, but does not equal 8 bits on all computer architectures.
  2. The decimal prefixes kilo, mega etc. are strictly powers of 10. The powers of 2 are the binary prefixes kibi, mebi etc.

Accordingly, 8192 bits of data are a kibioctet and 8000 bits are a kilooctet.


Contents

1 bit

  • 1 bit – True or false
  • 1.5 bit – Average information entropy per character in English text.
  • 4 bits – A semioctet or nibble. The size of a hexadecimal digit.
  • 5 bits – Size of code points in the Baudot code, used in telex communication.
  • 6 bits – Size of code points in the Braille code, a tactile writing system for the blind.
  • 7 bits – Size of code points in the ASCII character set.
  • 8 bits – An octet. Equivalent to a byte on many computer architectures.

10 bits

  • 16 bits – In many programming languages, the size of an integer capable of holding 65,536 different values.
  • 32 bits – Size of an integer capable of holding 4,294,967,296 different values.
  • 32 bits – Size of an IEEE 754 single-precision floating point number.
  • 32 bits – Size of addresses in IPv4, the current Internet protocol.
  • 56 bits – Cipher strength of the DES encryption standard.
  • 64 bits – Size of an integer capable of holding 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 different values.
  • 64 bits – Size of an IEEE 754 double-precision floating point number.

102 bits

103 bits – One kilobit

  • 1,024 bits (210 bits) – One kibibit.
  • 8,000 bits (103 octets) – One kilooctet.
  • 8,192 bits (213 bits, 210 octets) – One kibioctet.

104 bits

  • 22,500 bits – Amount of information in a typical non-fiction book.
  • 27,000 bits – Amount of information in a typical phone book.
  • 42,000 bits – Amount of information in a typical reference book.

105 bits

106 bits – One megabit

  • 1,048,576 bits (220 bits) – One mebibit.
  • 8,000,000 bits (106 octets) – One megaoctet.
  • 8 Mbits – Typical computer screen capacity.
  • 8,388,608 bits (223 bits, 220 octets) – One mebioctet.

107 bits

  • 11,796,480 bits – Capacity of a 3.5" floppy disk, colloquially known as 1.44 megabyte but actually 1.44 × 1000 × 1024 bytes.
  • 25 Mbits – Amount of data in a typical color slide.
  • 25,964,951 bits – Size of the largest known Mersenne prime. All 25,964,951 bits are 1.

108 bits

  • 150 Mbits – Amount of data in a large foldout map.

109 bits – One gigabit

  • 1,073,741,824 bits (230 bits) – One gibibit.
  • 8,000,000,000 bits (109 octets) – One gigaoctet.
  • 5.45 × 109 bits (650 mebioctets) – Capacity of a regular compact disc.
  • 6.4 × 109 bits – Size of the human genome, 3.2 billion base pairs.
  • 8,589,934,592 bits (233 bits, 230 octets) – One gibioctet.

1010 bits

1011 bits

  • 1.46 × 1011 bits (17 gibioctets) – Capacity of a double-sided, dual-layered DVD.
  • (approximately) 4.12 × 1012 bits (515 gibioctets) – As of 2002, data of pi to the largest number of digits ever calculated (1.24 trillion).

1012 bits – One terabit

  • 1012 bits (100 gigaoctets) – Approximate size of all Wikimedia projects.
  • 1.6 × 1012 bits (200 gigaoctets) – Capacity of a hard disk that would be considered moderately large in 2004.

1013 bits

  • 1014 bits
  • 1.5 × 1014 bits (18.75 teraoctets) – Amount of information in the Library of Congress, if it were all digitized.

1015 bits – One petabit

1016 bits

1017 bits

1018 bits – One exabit

  • 1.6 × 1018 bits (200 petaoctets) – Total amoount of printed material in the world.

1019 bits

1020 bits

1021 bits – One zettabit

1022 bits

  • 1.8 × 1022 bits (2.25 zettaoctets)– amount of information which can be stored in 1 gram of DNA
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