Polynesian Islanders Used Binary System 600 Years Ago

binaryFrom the file of lost mathematics systems of remote cultures, via Scientific American:

Binary arithmetic, the basis of all virtually digital computation today, is usually said to have been invented at the start of the eighteenth century by the German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz. But a study now shows that a kind of binary system was already in use 300 years earlier among the people of the tiny Pacific island of Mangareva in French Polynesia.

The discovery, made by analysing historical records of the now almost wholly assimilated Mangarevan culture and language and reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that some of the advantages of the binary system adduced by Leibniz might create a cognitive motivation for this system to arise spontaneously, even in a society without advanced science and technology.

2 Comments on "Polynesian Islanders Used Binary System 600 Years Ago"

  1. Was going to say something about how it actually traces back to ancient Egypt and China (found also in the I Ching), but the article includes a quote to that effect buried towards the end. Anyway, great video here that’s more informative and entertaining than the article:

    Egyptian Maths

    If you like that, I highly recommend his book (one of my all-time favorites):

    A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science


    http://issuu.com/hunabkuproductions/docs/a-beginner-s-guide-to-constructing-the-universe— (available online in full here)

  2. does this mean PCs could of come about in te east?

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