Today’s Google Doodle — in most of the world, at least — celebrates the 200th anniversary of George Boole’s birth. We all have a lot to thanks Boole for, as he created the mathematics that underpins the logical operations of computing.

Boolean algebra, as its become known, is the branch of mathematics that operates on values of true or false — usually written as 1 or 0 —to process logical statements. In turn, it’s possible to create complex conditional operations based on so-called logic gates which allow computers to make sense of concepts like OR and AND.

The Doodle itself shows how the output of several logical operations depending on whether values of *x* and *y* are true or false. When the *x* and *y *appear in the small ‘g’, the other letters light up their output becomes true. So, when’ x and y’ is true, the big ‘G’ lights up. If you’re wondering what XOR means, that’s the ‘exclusive or’—it’s only true when one of its inputs is true, but not when both are.

Boole himself was an English mathematician, who became the first professor of mathematics at Queen’s College, Cork. His research dug deep into differential equations and, most memorably, symbolic logic.

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Sadly in the U.S. today’s Doodle is dedicated to the Day of the Dead, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the Boolean offering.

[Google]

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