Digital Circuit Design – It’s All About Numbers

In the electronics industry today, so many things are computerized. With the help of microprocessors and logic technology, even the car you drive each day is a product of advanced digital circuit design. But what is this technology really all about? It can be as simple as one and zero. Let’s examine some of the basics to give you a better understanding of modern circuitry today.

Why Numbers?

The computer you use to access the Internet, read emails and perform other tasks, relies on very basic information. For example, computers understand “true” and “false”. Think of the number one as true (on) and zero as false (off). All computer data is a combination of zeros and ones. This is a basic method known as binary code. Without this code, computers and digital circuit design could not be possible. This is the main difference between digital and analog technology. In digital technology, all data must become numbers and transforming information to numbers and then back to information is the main goal of the process.

Binary Code is Nothing New

Did you know the binary system has been around for centuries and in the early 18th Century a man name Leibniz recognized the value of base two counting system for combining logic with math? This would eventually become known as digital logic, thanks to George Boole and he is credited with Boolean logic. Even though Mr. Boole died over 150 years ago, his system lives on.

In the late 19th Century Charles Peirce experimented with switching circuits on and off to create a mathematical logic. This was accomplished with relays, which were replaced by vacuum tubes and eventually transistors. At first, computers were analog in nature and mechanical. However, after the Second World War, electronics ushered in the age of the digital computer. The first digital computers were huge and took up entire rooms.


By the time of the late 40s, transistors came on the scene and computers got smaller and smaller. A transistor is basically an electronic switch and they not only are much smaller than vacuum tubes they are much more efficient. In addition, tubes create a great deal of heat and transistors do not. Plus, transistors have much longer lifespan than tubes and require virtually no maintenance.

Digital Circuit Design in the 21st Century

As technology grows, things are getting smaller, more powerful and making life better for everyone. From improved space travel to better healthcare to high tech communications, the future is bright for the electronics industry today.

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