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Boolean logic
summary
This subchapter looks at Boolean logic.
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This subchapter looks at Boolean logic.
free computer programming text book projecttable of contents

Boolean algebra is an algebraic system consisting of binary elements and binary operations.
The postulates of Boolean algebra provide the foundation for the entire system. The order of the postulates varies greatly from author to author. Some parts of postulates are not strictly necessary (might be derived as theorems instead), but in introductory materials such as this one, are filled out to make details clear to students.
Basic set: X, Y, and Z are elements of the set S.
Note that some authorities use the elements A, B, and C instead.
Equivalence: Equivalence is defined for the set S such that:
if X = Y and Y = Z
then X = Z
Operations: The operations + (Boolean addition) and · (Boolean multiplication) are defined such that:
X + Y and X · Y are in the set S
NOTE: These two operations were informally introduced in the introduction chapter.
Values: All elements in the set S will take on the valuation:
S = (0,1)
NOTE: These two values are often interpreted as false (0) and true (1).
Complement Law: Each member of the set S has an inverse (or compliment), such that when X = 0, then ¬X = 1
NOTE: The compliment is also indicated by a “tick” mark after the variable (X') and by placing a bar (or horizontal line) over a variable.
NOTE: The Complement Law produces the following important relationships:
X · ¬X = 0
X + ¬X = 1
Identity Law: The value 1 is the identity for Boolean multiplication and the value 0 is the identity for Boolean addition.
NOTE: The Identity Law produces the following important relationships:
X + 0 = X
X + 1 = 1
Cummulative Law: Boolean addition and Boolean multiplication are both cummulative:
X + Y = Y + X
X · Y = Y · X
Distributive Law: The Distributive Law in Boolean algebra highlights its different nature from normal linear algebra (this law is not true for normal algebra):
X · ( Y + Z ) = ( X · Y ) + ( X · Z )
X + ( Y · Z ) = ( X + Y ) · ( X + Z )
There are slight variations and alternate axiomatizations in presentations of Boolean algebra. The following are often included as axioms in some works. These can be proven from the above. If these axioms are used, then some of the above might become theorems.
Duality Principle: Duality holds that for any valid expression of identity, the resulting expression obtained by interchanging 1 and 0 and · and +, is a valid dual.
NOTE: This gives:
for the expression: X + ¬X = 1
the dual is: X · ¬X = 0
Idempotent Law: Property of a variable operating on itself.
X + X = X
X · X = X
Associative Law: Boolean addition and Boolean multiplciation are both associative.
X · ( Y · Z ) = ( X · Y ) · Z
X + ( Y + Z ) = ( X + Y ) + Z
Absorption Law:
X · ( X + Y ) = X
X + ( X · Y ) = X
Null Law:
X + 1 = 1
X · 0 = 0
Note that Boolean algebra does not have a subtraction or a division operation, but it does have a complement operation that isn’t found in normal linear algebra.
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Created: November 5, 2010
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