# Talk:Trinary syntax

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## BinaryEdit

I coulda sworn I heard the Voth refer to the fact that Voyager's systems used a simple binary code system... Continuity error or am I just getting old? :o) Ben Sisqo 01:02, 16 Sep 2005 (UTC)

i think i heard it too. Voyagers Computer systems are definitely binary-based --Shisma 17:27, 9 Nov 2005 (UTC)

Here is a thought what if trinary doesn't refer to bits like 1 or 0 but to possitions of space x,y, and z? -- phate

## Trinary Edit

"However, an increase in the number of states per data primitive does not represent any increase in computing power or data storage"

Yes it does! 0.5 more, really!

While the rest of the article attempts to put it in a bit of context (using "more difficult"), it's still not enough to mitigate this idea into correctness.

It may need more components to build trinary logic gates, or it may not. It's a matter of circuit design. There are trinary primers on the web, explaining the truth tables for all the possible 2-input trinary gates. Trinary memory, using something as simple as 3 different voltages (of which one would be 0v), would store 50% more per memory cell, which in modern DRAM, is basically just a capacitor. All that would be needed (theoretically!) is a bit more complexity in the reader / writer circuits. Using 4-state RAM would be even better, and also mean you could convert the data easily into binary for traditional circuits, since 4 is 2 2's.

Similarly trinary logic might in fact help drag more power out of existing microelectronic techniques. Or even more, say, 5-state or 16-state.

I suspect the real reason it isn't more popular nowadays, is just how head-bending it is. Once you get used to binary thinking, trinary is round a mental corner. George Boole, Von Neumann and Alan Turing's ideas are still very much the centre of all modern computers. But there's no reason why, with all sorts of future-tech, that base-x for any x could be used. Optical computers could use wavelength, electronic ones voltage, DNA and chemical computers all sorts of others.

Anyway... it's Star Trek. They can make up any old nonsense and nearly always do. Especially in Voyager. I wouldn't be so sure about their logic chips, since no-one seems to know yet how big a quad is.

Greenaum 80.3.96.42 02:11, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

## Why Trinary, octal, decimal and hexidecimal are not used as fundamental units for computers... Edit

Its mostly down to error correction. with current error detection methods (parity) it is possible to identify data as corrupt and even identify which bit, which single on or off state cell is wrong. suppose you know the fourth digit in the following byte 01100110 is wrong, as it can only have two possible states, the corrected byte is 01110110. now suppose you know the forth digit in the following string is wrong: 01201201 what is the correct string? 01211201 or 01221201? there are two posible answers in trinary, more as you increase the possible number of states. There is a second issue, quantisation. Suppose I had a cup of water, the amount of water in the cup can be considered an analogue value, akin to voltage. If I'm using that cup to store one bit of data, I can have the cup full or empty and it is easy to tell the difference. Now suppose I want it to store ten states, 0 - 9. It becomes harder to tell the states apart, therefore increasing the number of errors created during reading and writing. Now suppose my cup is a thimble, ten different states in there? no easy way to know what the answer should have been? headache?

Don't expect trinary in computers any time soon, a mathematical breakthrough in error detection and correction is required first. next person to say that a quantum unit has four states gets ridiculed, each unit has two properties to toggle on or off, thats still two binary bits for a total of four states but its still binary.

Sorry for the rant and hopefully this will help clear-up some of the real-world arguments for and against trinary.

## Uh, where? Edit

I've never actually seen an scene in any of the series or movies where they mention trinary code. Can someone provide a reference? At the moment, this article seems like pure speculation based on Kim's line of "convert to their binary system", which could just have easily have meant "convert to their binary system [as opposed to our own way of representing binary]". Perhaps Voyager stored binary 0's and 1's in some fashion other than low and high voltages. If anything, the term quad would suggest quaternary coding, not trinary. -- gsl @ 68.251.82.222 21:17, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

The only reference to trinary code I was able to find happens in "Hope and Fear", where Captain Janeway asks Arturis:
ARTURIS: Not really. It's a natural ability. Some species are born with great physical prowess, others, like yours, with a generosity of spirit. My people can see patterns where others see only confusion. Is something wrong?
JANEWAY: No. Tell me, how are you at computational languages? Algorithms, trinary syntax.
ARTURIS: It's all the same to me.
when she wants him to help decipher Starfleet's scrambled message. --Jörg 21:41, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

## PNA Edit

I have to call foul here. If that is the only mention (and I can't find another one), then we don't have one for "trinary code". Trinary syntax may mean something completely different, like a programming technique, but still be binary code. This article is in need of a major re-write, and a move. --OuroborosCobra talk 21:44, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Agreed... move to trinary syntax and rewrite it to say "Trinary syntax is a computer language... When Arturis was asked by Captain Kathryn Janeway about his skills with computer trinary syntax and algorithms, he replied that they were 'all the same' to him. (VOY: "Hope and Fear")" -- or something like that. A note that it may be similar to trinary code should also be included. --From Andoria with Love 02:44, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Seconded. The use of the term "syntax" implies a programming language of some sort, as opposed to an encoding scheme like binary notation. Gregly 18:34, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Ignoring the fact that this entire entry may be changed (soon?), wouldn't the correct term for a "3"-numbered computational language be "tertiary" instead of trinary?

--Resplendent 6:41 PM PDT 16 March 2007

We have no evidence that it is a 3 numbered computational language, hence why that is not mentioned in the article. The name itself comes from dialogue. --OuroborosCobra talk 02:02, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
No, I realize this. I'm just saying wouldn't the proper term for it, if it existed, be "tertiary" instead of "trinary." Not saying it actually exists, just what it *should* be in the grand scheme of things. --Resplendent 8:14 AM PDT 17 March 2007
Actually, the proper term is "ternary" -- "tertiary" is the next term in the series containing "primary" and "secondary", while "ternary" is the term following "unary" and "binary".
A handful of computers over the years have been based on base-3 mathematics. Another system is "balanced ternary", which uses "trits" (analogous to bits or digits) that represent -1, 0, and 1. However, to get back to the point, this whole thing seems to be based around some technobabble writer who wanted to make up something futuristic-sounding, saw that "tri-" means one more than "bi-", and thus assumed that "trinary" would be inherently better than "binary". Gregly 18:34, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Definitely heard Janeway say their computer used trinary logic. Suspect the above discssion is too technical/real world. A more Startrek interpetation would be that primitive binary computers can only work with "true" and "false", but trinary can also handle "maybe"...