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In mathematics and digital electronics, a binary number is a number expressed in the base-2 numeral system or binary numeral system, which uses only two symbols: typically '0' (zero) and '1' (one). The base-2 numeral system is a positional notation with a radix of 2. Each digit is referred to as a bit. 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. The scribes of ancient Egypt used two different systems for their fractions, Egyptian fractions (not related to the binary number system) and Horus-Eye fractions (so called because many historians of mathematics believe that the symbols used for this system could be arranged to form the eye of Horus, although this has been disputed). Horus-Eye fractions are a binary numbering system for fractional quantities of grain, liquids, or other measures, in which a fraction of a hekat is expressed as a sum of the binary fractions 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, and 1/64. 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. In this method, multiplying one number by a second is performed by a sequence of steps in which a value (initially the first of the two numbers) is either doubled or has the first number added back into it; the order in which these steps are to be performed is given by the binary representation of the second number. 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.eight trigrams (Bagua) and a set of 64 hexagrams ('sixty-four' gua), analogous to the three-bit and six-bit binary numerals, were in use at least as early as the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China. The Song Dynasty scholar Shao Yong (1011–1077) rearranged the hexagrams in a format that resembles modern binary numbers, although he did not intend his arrangement to be used mathematically. 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.

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