General purpose scientific computing was done for a number of years by analog computers, which use an "infinite" number of states to represent values of variables. Digital computers are preferred these days because of the high signal-to-noise ratio of binary signals and the simplicity of associated circuitry. In an effort to achieve more density in circuitry, especially memory, some makers of computers and memory are building devices that use 4 states on each signal line.
It means that anything and everything can be represented in one of two states, on and off. This is the easiest system to use electronically. It also means that Boolean logic can be used to design the processing tools necessary to deal with binary data.