Karnaugh Mapping

What Does Karnaugh Mapping Mean?

Karnaugh mapping (K-mapping) is the process of forming a pictorial map used to reduce a Boolean expression, forming a resultant with a fewer number of literals (logical operations) and variables. K-mapping can be similar to drawing a truth table whereby each variable’s state is shown in every possible combination with other variables. This way, common variables can be grouped together to optimize the actual equation.

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Techopedia Explains Karnaugh Mapping

Maurice Karnaugh devised the Karnaugh mapping technique in 1953. It involves the grouping of expressions with conjoint terms and literals together, hence eliminating unwanted variables, to get an optimized resulting function. K-mapping is most used where the number of variables involved are to be minimized. Similarly, the number of operations can also be reduced using K-mapping. The expression can be depicting a real-time situation problem or case studies. Expressions involving five to six variables are comparatively tough but realizable, whereas expressions having seven or more variables are very difficult (if not impossible) to optimize using K-mapping.

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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…