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George Boole: Boolean Algebra And Sets Theory

2031 words - 8 pages

The work of George Boole on mathematical logic that gave birth to the “Boolean Algebra” was the most important contribution to the development of computer technology. We are going to see briefly, how the prodigy George Boole came from an economically modest family, to change the way we relate with logic, influencing the concept of computing and processing information. We are also going to analyse how his work in algebra revolutionised the way we think and symbolise logic sets, making the binary code and logic relations as the fundamental tool in the evolution of computer systems and networks, from the first breakthrough of Boole's work, until many years later, when science identified that his mathematical set theories could in fact be the base of circuits operation and information storage and access, computer as we know it.
George Boole was born in Lincoln, England, in 1815, his mother was a lady’s maid and his father a shoemaker, who was also an amateur scientist. Not the exactly childhood of a genius, in fact at the age of 16 he saw himself forced to abandon school to help supporting their family, but maybe it was the interest that his father had on scientific instruments that got his interest on science. He went to work as teacher assistant, self educated, the prodigy boy taught himself Latin, Italian, Greek, German and French, eventually opening his own school in 1834. His interest in mathematics grew then started to develop and he started to self educate in the subject, writing his first mathematical paper in 1838. He founded a new branch of mathematics called Invariant Theories, which late would inspire Albert Einstein. He also worked in Differential Equations, which are still used, and that earned him a Gold Medal of the Royal society of London. in 1844. With strong religious beliefs, he believed to have answered a call from God, that called up on him to explain the process of human reasoning, which he did on his most important piece of work “An Investigation of The Laws of Though: On Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities”. With the confidence earned through his breakthroughs in mathematics, he applied for professorship, in 1845, and had it granted in 1849, becoming Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College, in Cork, Ireland. George Boole made many contributions to the computer science with his mathematics, but we can single out his Boolean Algebra as the most significant, which unfortunately he would not have lived to see, dying prematurely in 1864, of pneumonia (Reville, 2004).
In 1854 his most famous work was published: “An Investigation of The Laws of Though: On Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities”. In this book, Boole proposes the algebraic manipulation of symbols to express logical deduction equations, by grouping collection of “things”, as sets, we can than make logical deductions of the relation of this sets between each other, using reason and algebraic...

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