Section 04 Part 01 – Bit significance “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Introduction

I think that before we tread into polarity territories, we should first look at bit significance.  This is very short and real simple, so I’ll try not to drag it.

The least significant bit

We’ll take a byte and display it in binary:

 0000 0001

You’ll notice that all bits are 0 (clear) except for one.  The bit that is furthest to the right, is 1 (set).  And that is what is referred to as the “least significant bit” (LSB for short, and will be used most often).

The most significant bit

Likewise, we’ll display another byte in binary:

 1000 0000

Here, you’ll notice that all bits are 0 (clear) except for the one that is further to the left.  That bit, is referred to as the “most significant bit” (MSB for short, and is used most often).

Practical use

You’ll find that the terms “LSB” and “MSB” will be used multiple times in instruction manuals, hardware manuals, other tutorials, and even for other languages that perform binary manipulation.  Hence the reason I’m explaining the terminology here and now.

All you need to remember, is that regardless of the size (be it byte, word, or long-word), the bit furthest to the right is the LSB (least significant bit) and the bit furthest to the left is the MSB (most significant bit).