About The Name Exploring Binary

To explore is to “investigate, study, or analyze” or “travel over (new territory) for adventure or discovery.” OK, so that part you knew. So what is “binary?”

Merriam-Webster defines binary as “something made of or based on two things or parts.” That follows from the word’s components: the prefix bi-, which means “two” (like bicycle, binocular, or biannual), and the suffix -ary, which means “relating to or connected with” (like budgetary, illusionary, or revolutionary).

Binary can be used generically as a noun, as in “Exploring Binary,” or as an adjective, as in “binary number.” As an adjective it can describe many things, some of which are not of interest to us (like binary star, binary fission, or binary form). We are interested in things that relate to mathematics, computer science or computer engineering: binary numbers, binary code, binary logic, binary arithmetic, binary trees, binary search, etc.

Many things not specifically labeled as such are binary in nature. For example, coin tosses (heads or tails), single-elimination tournaments (win or lose), truth tables (true or false), etc. These also fall under our definition of binary.

The above discussion notwithstanding, it is common to use the noun binary to mean binary numbers specifically, as in the phrases “convert decimal to binary” or “5 is 101 in binary.” We will certainly be using it that way as well (that usage will be clear with context).

So in summary, we view binary as anything with “twoness” that can be studied mathematically or has an application in computers.


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