In modern computers almost all data is ultimately represented in binary form. In its most elemental state, deep in the bowels of every computer system, data is represented by a series of electronic logic gates (switches) that are either “on” or “off” (on=1, off=0). These binary digits are called bits, and a group of eight bits forms a byte. A byte can represent any one of 256 different combinations; everything you see on your keyboard (e.g. letters, numbers, characters, or actions) can each be represented by a single byte. Throw a whole bunch of bytes together and you get what is euphemistically called data. Data presented in a useful format becomes information.
Back in the Middle Ages there was a science (alchemy) that embraced the somewhat nefarious goal of transforming ordinary, base metals into gold. In pursuit of those dreams, ancient alchemists utilized a device called an alembic (ə-ˈlem-bik) to aid in the transmutation process. In more modern times the word alchemy has come to represent “a power or process that turns something common into something special,” and the word alembic to symbolize “anything that transforms, purifies, or refines.”
Putting it all together, a binary alembic is a tool, process, or device that transforms, purifies, or refines data into something special; a digital instrument that essentially turns common, base data into clear, concise (and sometimes extraordinary) business information. Therefore Microsoft Excel can, itself, be classified as a type of binary alembic. Our goal is to help you gain the skills and expertise you need in order to transform data into information… a foray into modern-day alchemy.
BINARY ALEMBIC – turning data into information