Home » What is a Quipu?The Quipu is a system of knotted cords used by the Incas and its predecessor societies in the Andean region to store massive amounts of information important to their culture and civilization. The colors of the cords, the way the cords are connected together, the relative placement of the cords, the spaces between the cords, the types of knots on the individual cords, and the relative placement of the knots are all part of thelogical-numerical recording. For example, a yellow strand might represent gold or maize; or on a population quipu the first set of strands represented men, the second set women, and the third set children. Weapons such as spears, arrows, or bows were similarly designated. The combination of fiber types, dye colors, and intricate knotting could be a novel form of written language, according to Harvard anthropologist Gary Urton. He claims that the quipus contain a seven-bit binary code capable of conveying more than 1,500 separate units of information. Quipus were knotted ropes using a positional decimal system. A knot in a row farthest from the main strand represented one, next farthest ten, etc. The absence of knots on a cord implied zero. Quipucamayocs, the accountants of the Inca Empire (called Tahuantinsuyu in old spelling Quechua) created and deciphered the quipu knots. Quipucamayocs were capable of performing simple mathematical calculations such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing information for the indigenous people. In the absence of written records the quipus served as a means of recording history and passed on to the next generation, which used them as reminders of stories. An thus these primitive computers – quipus – had knotted in their memory banks the information which tied together the Inca empire.