# What is a trinary operating system?

Asked by DaphneT (5217 ) August 25th, 2013

Exactly what is a trinary operating system and who proposed it?

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## 9 Answers

instead of using 1s and 0s, it would use 0, 1, and 2

ragingloli (32761 )

So DNA is tertiary?

Nibulnod (26 )

A ternary computer (also called trinary), is a computer that uses ternary instead of binary logic.

There are two forms of ternary:

The first form replaces powers of 2 with powers of 3. For example:
decimal -> binary -> ternary
1 -> 1 -> 1
2 -> 10 -> 2
3 -> 11 -> 10
11 -> 1011 -> 102

The second form uses the values (-1, 0, 1) instead of (0, 1, 2), but still uses base 2.

This form of ternary, called balanced ternary, is useful because is allows the easy representation of negative numbers. In typical binary, negative numbers are represented by changing a sign bit. Those are not needed in balanced ternary:
7 -> 111 -> 111
-7 -> 100000111 -> (-1)(-1)(-1)

PhiNotPi (10983 )

@Nibulnod In a basic sense, yes, a single strand of DNA is similar to tertiary, since there are 4 possible bases. There are, however, many other factors that control the function of a strand of DNA.

PhiNotPi (10983 )

Very interesting. First I’ve heard of this.The first form PhiNotPi explained makes no sense to me, but the second form certainly does. Binary is used in computers because basically a computer can only recognize 1 or 0, on or off, something or nothing. I don’t see how they could be designed to see a 2, but I can easily see how they can be designed to see a negative 1. So it would appear to me that -1, 0, +1 would be workable, and very efficient. Thanks for the great question Daphne, and the great answer PhiNotPi.

Old_Timer (159 )

Here is an interesting property of ternary numbers using the 0,1,2 notation. Do you see how can you tell if a ternary number is even or odd? It is not enough to look at the last digit like you can for decimal or binary numbers. You could convert it to decimal or divide by two using ternary arithmetic, but there is a much simpler and quicker way.

LostInParadise (16424 )

@LostInParadise Add up the digits and check the parity of the sum.

PhiNotPi (10983 )

Or you can just check if the number of 1’s is even or odd.

LostInParadise (16424 )

Thanks @PhiNotPi, that helps.

DaphneT (5217 )

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