Boolean Algebra

Computer Systems

Boolean Operations

There are $2^{2^k}$ possible boolean operations on k inputs


XOR gate table

XOR gate using AND,OR and NOT

XOR diagram

Functionally complete sets

Any logic circuit can be constructed from just the 3 operators:

  • AND, OR, NOT

  • They form a functionally complete set

  • It has been shown that NOR gates alone form a functionally complete set

NOR Gates

AND: $A\cdot B = \overline{(\overline{A+A})+(\overline{B+B})}$

OR: $A + B = \overline{(\overline{A+B})+(\overline{A+B})}$

NOT: $\overline{A}=\overline{A+A}$

NOT gate

NAND Chips

NAND gates are easier to make (use less silicon for same performance) than NOR gates, so are often used as universal gates

Digital Design Principles

Digital design is all about managing the complexity of huge numbers of interacting elements. Some principles help humans do this:

  • Abstraction: Hiding details when they aren’t important.

  • Discipline: Restricting design choices to make things easier to model, design and combine. E.g. the logic families and the digital abstraction.

The three —y’s:

  • Hierarchy: dividing a system into modules and submodules

  • Modularity: well-defined functions and interfaces for modules

  • Regularity: encouraging uniformity to modules can be swapped or reused.


A circuit has:

  • one or more discrete valued input terminals

  • one or more discrete valued output terminals

  • a specification of the relationship between inputs and outputs

  • a specification of the delay between inputs changing and outputs - performance specification responding

The circuit is made up of elements and nodes:

  • An element is itself a circuit with inputs, outputs and specs.

  • A node is a wire joining elements, whose voltage conveys a discrete valued variable.

Combinatorial Logic

We wish to design very large circuits to perform functions for us. Arbitrary circuits can include short circuits and instability, so we restrict what we allow, firstly to combinational logic (and later sequential logic). Combinational logic rules:

  • Individual gates are combinational circuits.

  • Every circuit element must be a combinational circuit.

  • Every node is either an input to the circuit or connecting to exactly one output of a circuit element

  • The circuit has no cyclic paths — every path through the circuit visits any node at most once.

Boolean Algebra

  • The algebra of 0/1 variables.

  • Used for specifying the function of a combinational circuit

  • Used to analyse and simplify the circuits required to give a specified truth table.

Variables are represented by letters, e.g. A, B, C…

The complement or inverse of a variable is written with a bar, e.g. $\overline{A}$.

A variable or its complement is called a literal, e.g. A, $\overline{A}$, B or $\overline{B}$.

The AND of several literals is called a product or implicant, e.g. ABC or AC,

Products may be written $A\cdot B\cdot C$, ABC, $A\cap B\cap C$ or $A\land B\land C$.

A minterm is a product involving all the inputs to a function.

The OR of several literals is called a sum or implicant, e.g. A+B+C or A+C,

Sums may be written A+B+C, $A\cup B\cup C$ or $A\lor B\lor C$.

A maxterm is a sum involving all the inputs to a function.

Truth Table to Boolean Equation

Sum of products form:

Every Boolean expression can be written as minterms ORed together:

$$(A\cdot B \cdot C)+(A\cdot \overline{B} \cdot \overline{C})+(\overline{A}\cdot B \cdot C)$$

Product of sums form:

Also every boolean expression can be written as maxterms ANDed together


Truth Table to SOP (Sum of Products)


OR together the 1 values of the function, to give SOP form

$$F(X, Y, Z)=\bar{X} \cdot \bar{Y} \cdot \bar{Z}+\bar{X} \cdot Y \cdot Z+X \cdot \bar{Y} \cdot Z+X \cdot Y \cdot \bar{Z}$$
  • The minterms are true only for the combination of inputs


$$Y=\bar{A} \bar{B} \bar{C}+A \bar{B} \bar{C}+A \bar{B} C$$

SOP example

This layout can be used for any sum-of-products expression. It is how programmable logic arrays are laid out

$$Y=\bar{B} \bar{C}+A \bar{B}$$

SOP example

The simplified expression gives the same logical output with much less hardware

Boolean Algebra

Two equivalent expression for the same logical formula:

$$\begin{array}{l} \mathrm{F}(\mathrm{X}, \mathrm{Y}, \mathrm{Z})=(\mathrm{X}+\mathrm{Y}+\overline{\mathrm{Z}})(\mathrm{X}+\overline{\mathrm{Y}}+\mathrm{Z})(\overline{\mathrm{X}}+\mathrm{Y}+\mathrm{Z})(\overline{\mathrm{X}}+\overline{\mathrm{Y}}+\overline{\mathrm{Z}}) \\ \mathrm{F}(\mathrm{X}, \mathrm{Y}, \mathrm{Z})=\overline{\mathrm{X}} \cdot \overline{\mathrm{Y}} \cdot \overline{\mathrm{Z}}+\overline{\mathrm{X}} \cdot \mathrm{Y} \cdot \mathrm{Z}+\mathrm{X} \cdot \overline{\mathrm{Y}} \cdot \mathrm{Z}+\mathrm{X} \cdot \mathrm{Y} \cdot \overline{\mathrm{Z}} \end{array}$$

Which is simpler?

Is there another equivalent expression that is simpler than either?

We will use Boolean algebra and Karnaugh maps to produce the simplest equivalent expression that can then be turned into circuitry

Axioms of Boolean Algebra

AxiomDual AxiomName
A1B=0 if $B\neq 1$A1’B=1 if $B\neq 0$Binary Field
A3$0\cdot 0=0$A3’1+1=1AND/OR
A4$1\cdot 1=1$A4’0+0=0AND/OR
A5$0\cdot 1 = 1\cdot 0 =0$A5’1+0-0+1=1AND/OR

Axioms cannot be proven — they are defined or assumed.

Each axiom has a dual obtained by interchanging AND and OR, and 0 and 1.

Theorems of several variables

several variables theorems several variables theorems

De Morgans

Proof of two variable case:

$$\overline{A\cdot B}=\overline{A}+\overline{B}$$


AB$A\cdot B$$\overline{A\cdot B}$$\overline{A}$$\overline{B}$$\overline{A}+\overline{B}$