PARI/GP is an open source computer algebra system I use frequently in my study of binary numbers. It doesn’t manipulate binary numbers directly — input, and most output, is in decimal — so I use it mainly to do the next best thing: calculate with powers of two. Calculations with powers of two are, indirectly, calculations with binary numbers.
PARI/GP is a sophisticated tool, with several components — yet it’s easy to install and use. I use its command shell in particular, the PARI/GP calculator, or gp for short. I will show you how to use simple gp commands to explore binary numbers.
This image is designed to remind you of space exploration (imagine a photo taken from the surface of the moon). The symbols “floating in space” are exemplary of the topics to be explored on this site. The black and white imagery is also symbolic of binary encoding, which is characterized by two opposing “states.”
(A reader proposed an alternate view of the image — that of a chalkboard full of mathematical symbols!)
What do the symbols mean?
Here is a brief explanation of each of the sixteen symbols in the image, from left to right: