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Published:April 26th, 2012 16:20 EST
Binary: A System of Thought, Computing and Logic

Binary: A System of Thought, Computing and Logic

By Keith Johnson

The SOP Word of the Day: Binary for Thursday 04/26/12

Binary is a system of thought, computing and logic that is based on two essential concepts: one (on) and zero (off). There are really only two commands that the computer and simple machines understand - and that is on (open switch) and off (closed switch) - and this is all pervasive in the world of computing.

You could even say that lamps and simple electrical devices are binary machines because when you turn you lamp on, for example, then power goes through the device and activates the light bulb. Conversely, when you click off on the lamp, the circuit is closed and power does not flow, and so the light bulb cannot illuminate.

The same is true in computing - energy flows through computers, motherboards, circuits, chips, and ultimatley the logic of programs. Hence, binary is the fundamental language of all machines and computers.

So, the next time you hear people arguing about what system is better - Windows, Mac OS or Linux - trump the conversation and remind them that ultimately, binary is what makes all this possible.


Keith Johnson, M.S. Education
Senior Technical Writer & Author
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
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