The base-2 numeral system is a positional notation with a radix of 2. Each digit is referred to as a binary addition subtraction multiplication division pdf. Because of its straightforward implementation in digital electronic circuitry using logic gates, the binary system is used by almost all modern computers and computer-based devices.
The modern binary number system was studied in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries by Thomas Harriot, Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, and Gottfried Leibniz. However, systems related to binary numbers have appeared earlier in multiple cultures including ancient Egypt, China, and India.
Leibniz was specifically inspired by the Chinese I Ching. Early forms of this system can be found in documents from the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, approximately 2400 BC, and its fully developed hieroglyphic form dates to the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt, approximately 1200 BC. The method used for ancient Egyptian multiplication is also closely related to binary numbers.
This method can be seen in use, for instance, in the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, which dates to around 1650 BC. The I Ching dates from the 9th century BC in China. The binary notation in the I Ching is used to interpret its quaternary divination technique. It is based on taoistic duality of yin and yang.
Zhou Dynasty of ancient China. Viewing the least significant bit on top of single hexagrams in Shao Yong’s square and reading along rows either from bottom right to top left with solid lines as 0 and broken lines as 1 or from top left to bottom right with solid lines as 1 and broken lines as 0 hexagrams can be interpreted as sequence from 0 to 63. The binary representations in Pingala’s system increases towards the right, and not to the left like in the binary numbers of the modern, Western positional notation.
The residents of the island of Mangareva in French Polynesia were using a hybrid binary-decimal system before 1450. Slit drums with binary tones are used to encode messages across Africa and Asia. Sets of binary combinations similar to the I Ching have also been used in traditional African divination systems such as Ifá as well as in medieval Western geomancy. The base-2 system utilized in geomancy had long been widely applied in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 1605 Francis Bacon discussed a system whereby letters of the alphabet could be reduced to sequences of binary digits, which could then be encoded as scarcely visible variations in the font in any random text. Bells, by Trumpets, by Lights and Torches, by the report of Muskets, and any instruments of like nature”. John Napier in 1617 described a system he called location arithmetic for doing binary calculations using a non-positional representation by letters.
Possibly the first publication of the system in Europe was by Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, in 1700. The full title of Leibniz’s article is translated into English as the “Explanation of Binary Arithmetic, which uses only the characters 1 and 0, with some remarks on its usefulness, and on the light it throws on the ancient Chinese figures of Fu Xi”.
Leibniz’s system uses 0 and 1, like the modern binary numeral system. Leibniz interpreted the hexagrams of the I Ching as evidence of binary calculus. As a Sinophile, Leibniz was aware of the I Ching, noted with fascination how its hexagrams correspond to the binary numbers from 0 to 111111, and concluded that this mapping was evidence of major Chinese accomplishments in the sort of philosophical mathematics he admired. Leibniz was first introduced to the I Ching through his contact with the French Jesuit Joachim Bouvet, who visited China in 1685 as a missionary.