Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Binary

So boil it all down to one and zero and you have the simplest possible system. Two digits. Yes or no.

The Indian scholar Pingala is credited with the first known use of a binary system. He used a system of dashes, a short dash and a long dash to represent 1 and 0. The Chinese used hexagrams to represent numbers. These are squares made of a stack of 6 lines that are either solid or broken in the middle to represent 1 and 0. Then finally in 1703, Leibnitz uses the 1 and 0 digits as we know them and formalized the binary system as a practical device for computation.

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