We commonly represent number is base 10, there are 10 elements in our
base 10 numbering system, 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and 9. In a base *n*
counting system there are *n* distinct elements, 0 through *n* - 1.

When a number which is greater than *n* - 1 needs to be displayed in
base *n* it is represented by a string of the *n* - 1 elements. The
value of any given symbol in the string is found by multiplying that
symbol by *n*^{x}, where *x* is the number of symbols in the string
that are to the right of the symbol in question.

For example, in base 10 the number 982 is equal to
9*10^{2} +8*10^{1} +2*10^{0}.

Likewise, in base two the number 10101001 is equal to
1*2^{7} +0*2^{6} +1*2^{5} +0*2^{4} +1*2^{3} +0*2^{2} +0*2^{1} +1*2^{0} = 169 in base 10.