Timothy Lee Murphy
6 July 2008
The first known occurrence of the binary numeral system is around the 8th century BC. It was created by the ancient Indian writer Pingala. He came across this as a method to describe prosody. This type of numeration system is a descendant of the Old Kingdom’s Eye of the Horus. A full set of eight trigrams and sixty four hexagrams, which are analog to the three bit and six bit binary numerals, are known to the ancient Chinese as I Ching. The Chinese scholar Shao Yong developed values for binary numbers 0-63 in the I Ching hexagrams arrangement. In 1605 Francis Bacon introduced a system by which letters of the alphabet could be reduced to sequences of binary digits.
He added that this method could be used with any objects at all: "provided those objects be capable of a twofold difference only; as by Bells, by Trumpets, by Lights and Torches, by the report of Muskets, and any instruments of like nature". In 1854, British mathematician George Boole published a landmark paper detailing an algebraic system of logic that would become known as Boolean algebra. His logical calculus was to become instrumental in the design of digital electronic circuitry. (First and second paragraph come from the history of binary code found on Wikipedia, http://www.wikipedia.com)
Binary meaning two. The principle behind digital computers. All input to the computer is converted into binary numbers made up of the two digits 0 and 1. The bits are stored as charged and uncharged memory cells or as microscopic magnets on disk and tape. Display screens and printers convert the binary numbers into visual characters. The electronic circuits that process these binary numbers are also binary in concept. The current flowing through one switch turns on (or off) another switch, and so on. A computer's capability to do work is based on its workspace capacity (memory), storage capacity...
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