The history of the early attempts to apply the algebra of logic to engineering problems

The development of electric engineering led to the emergence of relay-contact systems that included dozens of relays and contacts in some areas of technology (interlocking in naval turret artillery, automated statistical calculations, etc.) back in the 1880s and 1890s. Due to their relative simplicity, notwithstanding certain expenses, such systems were designed without using the apparatus of the algebra of logic. At the same time, the need in logical description of the functioning of complicated technological systems had arisen in the railroad sector (central mechanical signal and switch control). Such descriptions that actually used binary variables had been created by the French and Belgian engineering practitioners. The operators of one of such systems, i.e. Armand Flamache’s system, were functionally the same as logical operators of the algebra of logic, while lacking a wide set of properties inherent in the latters. Flamache’s system did not go any further and was forgotten although, despite its being narrowly specialized, was the first portent of using the algebra of logic in technology.


Recommended bibliographic description

, The history of the early attempts to apply the algebra of logic to engineering problems, Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki [Studies in History of Science and Technology], , p.  9-20

    © Studies in the History of Science and Technology: Quarterly scientific journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2015)
    ISSN 0205-9606. Индекс 70143