Chapter 9

Digital Electronics

The whole of the developments and operations of analysis are now capable of being executed by machinery.… As soon as an Analytical Engine exists, it will necessarily guide the future course of science.—Charles Babbage, from Life of a Philosopher, 1864

There is nothing magical about the decimal (base 10) numbering system; it is one of many different numbering schemes that just so happens to be the most common human numbering system. Is it just a coincidence that there are 10 unique numbers in the decimal system and that we have 10 fingers? Perhaps. But you can imagine that there exists some connection between the convenience of finger counting and the management of large numbers.

By the same token, a computer has ...

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