Mathematics - Discrete Mathematics - Boolean Algebra

in STEMGeeks4 days ago

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Hey it's a me again @drifter1!

Today we continue with Mathematics, and more specifically the branch of "Discrete Mathematics", in order to get into Boolean Algebra.

This will be a small introduction to the topic. For more information I highly suggest checking out Logic Design in general.

So, without further ado, let's get straight into it!

Boolean Algebra

Boolean algebra is a branch of mathematics, which studies the algebra of 0 and 1, or false and true. It finds many applications in computer science, with logical circuits being the most direct application, but it's also useful in programming / coding in general.

Boolean Operations

The three main boolean operations are:

  • AND (conjunction)
  • OR (disjunction)
  • NOT (negation)

These are the same exact operations that were covered in the article about Propositional Logic.


In Boolean algebra the AND and OR operations are commonly symbolized using multiplication and addition respectively, meaning that AND uses "*" or even nothing, and OR uses "+". Using the symbols ∧ and ∨ is of course also valid. Lastly, negation is usually represented by an apostrophe (') or an overline (-) instead of an tilde (~) in front of the respective boolean variable.

Boolean Properties

Boolean operations satisfy the properties shown in the table below.

Boolean algebra is basically a complemented, distributive lattice, with boolean operations AND (∧ or *), OR (∨ or +) and a unique complement or unary operation defined for each element. The elements are only two: 0 and 1.

Boolean Expressions

Boolean expressions are expressions defined over boolean Algebra. Each element in such an expression is an boolean expression itself (i.e. 0 and 1 are boolean expressions on their own).

For example:

is a valid boolean expressions with boolean variables x and y.

Such expressions are evaluated by assigning either 0 or 1 to each boolean variable, yielding a final result of 0 or 1.

Equivalent Expressions

Of course, there can be multiple boolean expressions giving the same result for the same assignment of values. These so called equivalent expressions have the same truth table.

Canonical Forms

It's common to write boolean expressions in either disjunctive or conjunctive normal form, and so basically as a sum of products (SOP) or a product of sums (POS). In a SOP, the product terms are known as min-terms (resulting in 1), whilst in a POS the sum terms are called max-terms (resulting in 0).






Mathematical equations used in this article, have been generated using quicklatex.

Block diagrams and other visualizations were made using

Previous articles of the series

  • Introduction → Discrete Mathematics, Why Discrete Math, Series Outline
  • Sets → Set Theory, Sets (Representation, Common Notations, Cardinality, Types)
  • Set Operations → Venn Diagrams, Set Operations, Properties and Laws
  • Sets and Relations → Cartesian Product of Sets, Relation and Function Terminology (Domain, Co-Domain and Range, Types and Properties)
  • Relation Closures → Relation Closures (Reflexive, Symmetric, Transitive), Full-On Example
  • Equivalence Relations → Equivalence Relations (Properties, Equivalent Elements, Equivalence Classes, Partitions)
  • Partial Order Relations and Sets → Partial Order Relations, POSET (Elements, Max-Min, Upper-Lower Bounds), Hasse Diagrams, Total Order Relations, Lattices
  • Combinatorial Principles → Combinatorics, Basic Counting Principles (Additive, Multiplicative), Inclusion-Exclusion Principle (PIE)
  • Combinations and Permutations → Factorial, Binomial Coefficient, Combination and Permutation (with / out repetition)
  • Combinatorics Topics → Pigeonhole Principle, Pascal's Triangle and Binomial Theorem, Counting Derangements
  • Propositions and Connectives → Propositional Logic, Propositions, Connectives (∧, ∨, →, ↔ and ¬)
  • Implication and Equivalence Statements → Truth Tables, Implication, Equivalence, Propositional Algebra
  • Proof Strategies (part 1) → Proofs, Direct Proof, Proof by Contrapositive, Proof by Contradiction
  • Proof Strategies (part 2) → Proof by Cases, Proof by Counter-Example, Mathematical Induction
  • Sequences and Recurrence Relations → Sequences (Terms, Definition, Arithmetic, Geometric), Recurrence Relations
  • Probability → Probability Theory, Probability, Theorems, Example
  • Conditional Probability → Conditional Probability, Law of Total Probability, Bayes' Theorem, Full-On Example
  • Graphs → Graph Theory, Graphs (Vertices, Types, Handshake Lemma)
  • Graphs 2 → Graph Representation (Adjacency Matrix and Lists), Graph Types and Properties (Isomorphic, Subgraphs, Bipartite, Regular, Planar)
  • Paths and Circuits → Paths, Circuits, Euler, Hamilton
  • Trees → Trees (Rooted, General and Binary), Tree Traversal, Spanning Trees
  • Common Graph Problems → Shortest Path Problem, Graph Connectivity, Travelling Salesman Problem, Minimum Spanning Tree, Maximum Network Flow, Graph Coloring
  • Binary Operations → Binary Operations (n-ary, Table Representation), Properties
  • Groups → Groups (Properties, Theorems, Finite and Infinite, Abelian, Cyclic, Product, Homo-, Iso- and Auto-morphism)
  • Group-like Structures (part 1) → Subgroups, Semigroups, Monoids
  • Group-like Structures (part 2) → Magma, Quasigroup, Groupoid
  • Rings → Rings (Axioms, Commutative and Non-Commutative, Semirings, Subrings, Rng)
  • Fields → Fields (Axioms, Subfields, Finite Fields, Field Extension)

Final words | Next up

And this is actually it for today's post!

Not sure about the next article's topic yet.

See ya!

Keep on drifting!

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