Boolean Algebra

What Does Boolean Algebra Mean?

Boolean algebra is a type of mathematical operation that, unlike regular algebra, works with binary digits (bits): 0 and 1. While 1 represents true, 0 represents false. Computers can perform simple to extremely complex operations with the use of Boolean algebra. Boolean algebra and Boolean operations are the basis for computer logic.

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Techopedia Explains Boolean Algebra

Unlike conventional mathematical operations – addition, subtraction, division and multiplication – the operations in Boolean algebra are different and limited in number. There are three operations: NOT, AND and OR. The NOT operation returns the opposite of the value that is provided to it. For example, 1 is the opposite of 0 and vice versa. So there are just two outcomes of the operation. Both the AND and OR operations take two digits and return 0 or 1 depending on the inputs. The AND operation returns 1 in case both the inputs are equal to 1. Else, it returns 0. The OR operation returns 1 only if either of the values given to it is 1. Else, it returns a value of 0.

Boolean algebra is named for George Boole, a mathematician who first described it in 1847.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.