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How is math used in technology?

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Quick Answer

Digital processing is based on Boolean algebra, so it is inherently mathematical. Computers are, in many ways, calculators and logic machines with various input and output mechanisms. Statistics are used for basic research, which fuels the development of new technology.

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Full Answer

The processors that power computers are able to perform calculations quickly, and the calculations are performed using Boolean algebra. People generally solve math problems using a base-10 number system. Boolean algebra relies on base-2 math, in which all numbers are represented using ones and zeros.

In addition to calculating basic math problems, however, computers also use Boolean logic. This logic, which is rooted in discrete mathematical principles, allows computers to solve problems that require making logical decisions. Boolean algebra and logic combine to make sophisticated devices; self-driving cars, for example, use the input calculated from digital cameras to make decisions about how to navigate.

Modern technology depends on basic research to advance. GPS devices must know the speed of light to work, and this value is determined with math and experimentation using statistics. Advanced medical devices rely on studies supported by statistics. Even consumer devices, such as smart phones and tablet computers, are sold only when surveys and other forms of customer feedback, which rely on math, predict that they are profitable.

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