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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Harry Lewis's talk on The Birth of Binary on Dec 8 (Thats today!)

 (Added Later: the talk is now available: here. When I tried it it said I did not have permission

but I got it to work anyway.) 

More on the information on Harry Lewis's  talk is in his blog post about it:here

1) On Dec 8, 2022 Harry Lewis is giving the annual Thoraf Skolem Memorial Lecture on

                                                     The Birth of binary 

Its in Oslo. BOO- I can't get there!

It will be on Zoom- YEAH I can see it! Here is the link: here

It will be at 7:15AM East Coast Time- BOO- I needs my sleep!
(Plus, I am posting this after its over)

It will be recorded-YEAH I can see it later. CAVEAT- Will I?

(It will be linked to at the link in item 4 below.)

2) Lloyd Strickland and Harry Lewis have a book on the subject: here titled

                               Leibniz on binary: The Invention of Computer Arithmetic.

3) Questions like who invented binary  or who invented parallelism or who first proved the dual-muffin theorem can be hard to answer. First  is an ill defined term. In the current era we can see who published first, which is usually well defined, though might not get at the heart of the issue.

Which brings us to Leibniz on Binary.  He had lots of notes, not really intended for modern readers or even for readers in his own time. The notes lay out binary notation and some algorithms, but not in a modern way. Hence the book is quite valuable to tell a modern audience what Leibniz did. Leibniz published very little of it.  Even so, seeing what he did, the statement
                                             Leibnitz invented binary
is reasonable. Some of his notes dealt with what we would now call complexity, so I need to add him to my already-long list of people who had modern ideas about complexity. 

4) For more on the Skolem Lecture, see here


  1. Sir Francis Bacon, around 1605, developed an encoding of the alphabet by any objects “capable of a twofold difference”. (Bacon, Advancement of Learning, Bacon used ‘a’ and ‘b’, but he also suggested that coding could be done “by Bells, by Trumpets, by Lights and Torches, by the report of Muskets, and any instruments of like natures”

    1. That URL no longer exists; here's another: