I recently wrote a very brief introduction to Boolean algebra for the glossary, so I thought it would be worth describing a very simple but important application example. There are two main reasons why I'm interested in Boolean algebra. The first is that in probability theory, the hypotheses we investigate are assumed to be Boolean in character (true or false, with no intermediates allowed). The second is that Boolean algebra is an important branch of logic, and therefore intimately linked to science and rationality.
In an earlier post, I discussed how all transfer of information comes down to a sequence of answers to yes/no questions. In this spirit, therefore, consider the following:
By answering only yes/no type questions, calculate the sum 234 + 111. In other words, if you were a digital computer, how would you perform this calculation?