The philosopher of computing Bill Rapaport noted three Great Insights of Computer Science:
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's, George Boole's, Alan Turing's, Claude Shannon's, and Samuel Morse's insight: there are only two objects that a computer has to deal with in order to represent "anything".
All the information about any computable problem can be represented using only 0 and 1 (or any other bistable pair that can flip-flop between two easily distinguishable states, such as "on/off", "magnetized/de-magnetized", "high-voltage/low-voltage", etc.).
See also: Digital physics
Alan Turing's insight: there are only five actions that a computer has to perform in order to do "anything".
Every algorithm can be expressed in a language for a computer consisting of only five basic instructions:
move left one location;
move right one location;
read symbol at current location;
print 0 at current location;
print 1 at current location.
See also: Turing machine
Corrado Böhm and Giuseppe Jacopini's insight: there are only three ways of combining these actions (into more complex ones) that are needed in order for a computer to do "anything".
Only three rules are needed to combine any set of basic instructions into more complex ones:
sequence: first do this, then do that;
selection: IF such-and-such is the case, THEN do this, ELSE do that;
repetition: WHILE such-and-such is the case DO this.
Note that the three rules of Boehm's and Jacopini's insight can be further simplified with the use of goto (which means it is more elementary than structured programming).