Why nerds are bi | Life | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Circle of safety
    April 27, 2013
    Apps that send alerts to selected contacts during an emergency gains popularity after Delhi rape.
  • The future is now
    April 13, 2013
    Stuff that seems futuristic, but already exists.
  • The easter egg hunt
    March 30, 2013
    For kids, Easter is defined by the egg hunt, where decorated artificial eggs of various sizes - are hidden both indoors and outdoors.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
The beautiful number

Why nerds are bi


The number 2 has been the basis of computers since the very beginning. Of course, not in the Arabic form that we see the numeral, but as the underlying basis for binary - the language that computers speak. Geeks even have jokes in binary: "There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don't. "

If you got it, chances are you're a nerd;a computer programmer. If you didn't, well - in binary - the number 2 is denoted by 10.
Transistors - the basis of all machine computing - as envisaged by Claude Shannon in 1937, carry out calculations by switching themselves on or off. (' On' is the condition when there is an electric current in the transistor. 'Off' is when there is no electric current. )

Understandably, computers needed a language where everything could be denoted using these 2 states. Enter binary, where everything on God's green earth can be translated mathematically into zeroes and ones, or 'Off' and 'On'. In fact, the clock speed of processors - megahertz and gigahertz - is nothing but a measurement of how fast these chips can switch between the two states.

The binary system of calculation has existed for centuries. Indian scholar Pingala (circa 5th-2 nd centuries BC) was the first to use it. Much, much later, Francis Bacon, the man of ideas, dabbled in it. Gottfried Leibniz, the German mathematician known for his work in the field of calculators, refined it. Briton George Boole picked it up and gave birth to Boolean algebra, which gave rise to Boolean logic.

In fact, binary is so deeply ingrained in computers that Bill Gates once remarked: "I don't think there's anything unique about human intelligence. All the neurons in the brain that make up perceptions and emotions operate in a binary fashion. "
For engineers and geeks, 2 as the base number became the guiding spirit. This led to bit, kilobit (1024 bits or 210 bits), megabit (220 bits), gigabit (230 bits), so on and so forth.


In 1965, Gordon E Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel, stated that for the next 10 years the number of transistors in a processor would double every two years. It had little scientific basis. But such was the obsession of the industry to "double" everything that since 1965, Moore's Law has continued to define the semiconductors industry.

Moreover, as engineers became obsessed with multiples of 2, RAM grew from 2MB to 4MB, from 4MB to 8MB, and 8MB to 16MB... to now reach an average of 4GB. Storage took the same course: From 16GB to 32GB, 32GB to 64GB...

If computers are affordable nowadays and are powerful enough to render extremely complex scenes in 3D video games in real time, the credit for it goes to how well the computing industry has been able to follow Moore's Law. Theoretically, every time transistors have been doubled in processors, computers have become doubly powerful, but at half the cost.

Two is a beautiful number. It is the symbol of balance and harmony. In the case of computers and the digital world, the number has proved particularly significant. It has been the number of logic and progress. It has been the base on which mankind has built its virtual castles.

Reader's opinion (7)

Srijan ChaubeyNov 4th, 2011 at 18:50 PM

completely agree! the power of two has exaggerated the world........

Kashish ChulaniOct 31st, 2011 at 19:04 PM

i think its the magic of number 2

Shruti RaoOct 30th, 2011 at 16:58 PM

i agree with this

Venkat RamOct 29th, 2011 at 02:34 AM

Arabic? That is Indian numeral system goddammit!! of course seeing the writers name it doesn't surprise me..

Krishna BandaruOct 27th, 2011 at 09:44 AM

The definitions given for kb, Mb, etc. are not right.

Ankita ChodankarOct 29th, 2011 at 03:20 AM

its probably 2^20 for 1mb and 2^30 for 1gb

J POct 22nd, 2011 at 19:31 PM

The nerd joke is good!

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service