Least Significant Bit

What Does Least Significant Bit Mean?

In computing, the least significant bit is the bit which is farthest to the right and holds the least value in a multi-bit binary number. As binary numbers are largely used in computing and other related areas, the least significant bit holds importance, especially when it comes to transmission of binary numbers.

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Techopedia Explains Least Significant Bit

Digital data is computed in binary format, and similarly to numerical notation, the right digit is considered the lowest digit whereas the leftmost is considered the highest digit. Due to the positional notation, the least significant bit is also known as the rightmost bit. It is the opposite of the most significant bit, which carries the highest value in a multiple-bit binary number as well as the number which is farthest to the right. In a multi-bit binary number, the significance of a bit decreases as it approaches the least significant bit. Since it is binary, the most significant bit can be either 1 or 0.

When a transmission of binary data is done with the least significant bit first technique, the least significant bit is the one which is transmitted first, followed by other bits of increasing significance. The least significant bit is frequently employed in hash functions, checksums and pseudorandom number generators.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.