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## Polynesians May Have Invented Binary Math170

Posted by samzenpus
from the original-number dept.
sciencehabit writes "How old is the binary number system? Perhaps far older than the invention of binary math in the West. The residents of a tiny Polynesian island may have been doing calculations in binary—a number system with only two digits—centuries before it was described by Gottfried Leibniz, the co-inventor of calculus, in 1703."
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## Polynesians May Have Invented Binary Math

• #### "Ethiopian" or "Egyprian" multiplication (Score:2, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:20PM (#45709281)

This uses binary math, though not quite explicitly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_multiplication

• #### The Chinese (of course) (Score:5, Interesting)

<[moc.liamg] [ta] [woemthgin]> on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:26PM (#45709337) Homepage Journal
Perhaps an apocryphal story, but it goes that Leibniz was introduced to the I Ching (Yijing) oracle by a Catholic missionary friend who had gotten it translated into Latin (must have been strange). Anyway, the story goes that Leibniz instantly recognized the binary system in the 64 hexagrams and 8 trigrams. The I Ching is somewhere between 2,500 and 4,000 yrs. old in the format and ordering it still has today.
• #### Europeans used binary before Liebniz or Polynesia (Score:3, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @07:53PM (#45710047)

Humans used binary long before Leibniz and long before the Polynesians mentioned in the article. For one example:

2 tablespoons = 1 ounce
2 ounces = 1 jack
2 jacks = 1 gill
2 gills = 1 cup
2 cups = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
2 quarts = 1 pottle
2 pottles = 1 gallon
2 gallons = 1 peck
2 pecks = 1 kenning
2 kennings = 1 bushel
2 bushels = 1 strike
2 strikes = 1 coomb