“If the base 2 is used [for measuring information] the resulting units may be called binary digits, or more briefly bits, a word suggested by J. W. Tukey. A device with two stable positions, such as a relay or a flip-flop circuit, can store one bit of information”–Claude Shannon, 1948
“Binary arithmetick: A method of computation proposed by Mr. Leibnitz, in which, in lieu of the ten figures in the common arithmetick, and the progression from ten to ten, he has only two figures, and uses the simple progression from two to two. This method appears to be the same with that used by the Chinese four thousand years ago”–Ephraim Chambers, quoted in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, 1755
In 1728, Ephraim Chambers, a London globe-maker, published the Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. It is the first encyclopedia to include a system of cross-references. It was the earliest attempt to link by association all the articles in an Encyclopedia or, in more general terms, of everything we know at a given point in time.
One thing that was not known to Chambers and his contemporaries was that the Indian scholar Pingala (circa 5th–2nd centuries BC) developed mathematical concepts for describing prosody, and in so doing presented the first known description of a binary numeral system.
In 1998, Microsoft patented ones and zeros.