Boolean Canonical Kinds: Sum-of-Merchandise and Product-of-Sums

On this follow-up to my earlier articles on Boolean algebra fundamentals and Boolean algegra legal guidelines, after first discussing some terminology, we’ll discover two canonical types used to explain logic methods through the Boolean expressions that outline them:

  1. The sum-of-products (SoP), which is also referred to as the disjunctive regular type
  2. The product-of-sums (PoS), which is also referred to as the conjunctive regular type


I’ll begin with the SoP type as a result of most individuals discover it comparatively simple. The PoS type is much less intuitive for a lot of. We’ll develop each utilizing the rules of Boolean algebra and an enchantment to instinct. After establishing each types, we’ll describe how arbitrary Boolean equations will be recast into both type and the way every type will be remolded into the opposite.


What’s a Boolean Canonical Type?

Let’s demystify a number of the terminology we shall be utilizing. The title says that this text is about “canonical types.” What does this imply? A “type” is only a approach to symbolize one thing—on this case, representing logic methods utilizing Boolean expressions. One thing is in a “canonical type” if it follows usually accepted guidelines concerning the right way to categorical that illustration.

In lots of math and science fields, these guidelines typically require that the illustration have a selected format such that the canonical illustration of a selected system is exclusive. This uniqueness makes figuring out if two methods are equal very simple. If their canonical representations are equivalent, then the 2 methods are equal, in any other case, they aren’t.


Equal Sans Ordering

Different terminology that you’ll come throughout is “sans ordering” or one thing related. Which means that two expressions are thought-about equivalent even when the ordering of the phrases and/or components inside the expressions, or the ordering of variables inside phrases and/or components, is totally different. As an example, A + B and B + A, whereas not strictly equivalent, can be thought-about equal sans ordering due to the commutative property of addition. Equally, BC and CB are equal san ordering as a result of commutative property of multiplcation. 

Combining these two properties, A + BC and CB + A, whereas not strictly equivalent, can be thought-about equal sans ordering. Alternatively, (A+B)(A+C), whereas equal logically to these equations, wouldn’t be thought-about equal.

“Sans ordering” is quite common as a result of people are usually ok at sample matching to rapidly acknowledge whether or not two expressions which might be equivalent as much as the ordering of the weather inside it are equal. This lets the principles that outline the canonical type to be significantly simplified and to give attention to the necessary features (i.e., the issues that people aren’t good at recognizing, reminiscent of whether or not or not the applying of some Boolean identities may remodel one expression into the opposite).


The Significance of Uniqueness for Canonical Kinds

Uniqueness is a really invaluable property when working with logic methods as a result of there are normally many various methods to explain the identical system. As an example, take into account the next logic equations for 2 methods.


$$X = (overlineA+BC) cdot (overlineBC) + (AoverlineC + B) cdot (AB) $$

$$Y = (AB) cdot (C + ABoverlineC) + (AB) cdot (C+BoverlineC)$$


In these expressions, we adhere to the widespread conference that the order of priority for Boolean operations is:

  1. NOT (represented with an overbar)
  2. AND (represented like arithmetic multiplication)
  3. OR (represented like arithmetic addition)


Are these two methods equal? It seems that they’re, however that is removed from apparent. One approach to set up equivalence is to generate the reality desk for every expression after which examine the 2 reality tables row by row.

Take a second to grow to be happy that the next reality desk for output Z agrees with the equations for each X and Y above.


Desk 1. Reality desk for the instance logic system.
0 0 0 0
0 0 1 1
0 1 0 0
0 1 1 0
1 0 0 0
1 0 1 0
1 1 0 1
1 1 1 1


Since there are three variables, there are solely eight rows (2= 8). Sensible logic methods could have many extra indicators than this, making it cumbersome, if not outright impractical, to generate and examine the reality tables.


SoP and PoS to the Rescue

What is required is a scientific approach to put each methods right into a canonical type. Ideally, the strategy of doing so must be one that’s straightforward to automate in order that the 2 equations will be entered into a pc program in any acceptable type, and this system can then place them in canonical type for comparability (in addition to for different subsequent functions).

There are two extensively used such types in Boolean algebra: “canonical disjunctive regular type” and “canonical conjunctive regular type”. Once more, don’t let unfamiliar phrases rattle you. The phrases ‘disjunctive’ and ‘conjunctive’ are merely fancy phrases utilized in formal logic circles for logical-OR and logical-AND, respectively.


Regular, Normal, or Canonical Kinds?

The opposite time period that could be unfamiliar is “regular type”. In lots of situations, “canonical type”, “regular type”, and “normal type” are interchangeable; however in laptop science, whereas “regular type” and “normal type” are normally equal, they typically check with a slightly-relaxed model of the more-strict “canonical type”. The canonical type stresses uniqueness (normally sans ordering), whereas the conventional type is prepared to sacrifice this in favor of permitting higher compactness. We’ll see examples of this as we proceed.


Sum-of-Merchandise: The Canonical Disjunctive Regular Type

As a substitute of simply stating what this type is, let’s see the way it evolves fairly naturally from the reality desk illustration of a logic operate. Let’s use the reality desk proven earlier in Desk 1. We are able to simply translate this reality desk right into a logic equation by taking place the desk and, for every row during which the output is a 1, write a logic expression that’s True for that row and that row solely.

We’ll use the best such expression during which each enter variable is current precisely as soon as. The complemented type of variable is used if it have to be False (0), or uncomplimented if it have to be True (1). For simplicity, we have now replicated the three rows which have a Z=1 output in Desk 2.


Desk 2. Reality desk for which Z is True (1).
0 0 1 1
1 1 0 1
1 1 1 1


From these three rows, we are able to generate three product statements (logical-AND):


$$Z_1 = overlineAoverlineBC$$

$$Z_2 = AB overlineC$$

$$Z_3 = ABC$$



Every of those three product statements is a minterm—a time period that’s True (1) for precisely one mixture of inputs. The usual approach to symbolize a minterm is as a product (i.e., logical-AND) of the entire indicators, utilizing the complement of any sign that must be False for that mixture of inputs.


Sum of the Minterms = Sum-of-Merchandise

An equation comprised of the sum of minterms is a novel illustration (sans ordering) of the logic system it describes and is, due to this fact, canonical. The equation for our three minterm row equations ORed collectively is:


$$Z = overlineAoverlineBC + ABoverlineC + ABC$$


It is a sum-of-products equation, or once we wish to sound refined, the canonical disjunctive regular type. Utilizing the notation borrowed from regular arithmetic during which logical-AND is depicted because the product of two indicators and logical-OR is depicted because the sum (as is completed above), this equation takes on the type of a sum of phrases during which every time period is the product of indicators, thus giving it the extensively used “sum-of-products” moniker, or SoP for brief.

An examination of the final two phrases on this equation exhibits that they will simply be mixed and the variable ‘C’ eradicated from them, leaving:


$$Z = overlineAoverlineBC + AB$$


That is actually a extra compact means of writing the logic equation for a similar system, and this equation can be clearly written in SoP (or in conjunctive regular type). Nevertheless, this equation is not in canonical type, which requires that every time period be a “minterm.”


Product-of-Sums: The Canonical Disjunctive Regular Type

Whereas the SoP type is fairly intuitive for most individuals, it may end up in overly lengthy expressions, significantly for methods the place most enter mixtures produce a logic True output and only some produce a logic False.

So, it’s cheap to marvel if there’s an alternate regular type that favors this example. There may be, and it’s generally referred to as the product-of-sums type (PoS), extra correctly referred to as the “disjunctive regular type”.

For a concrete instance, let’s take into account the next reality desk, which is merely the logical inverse of our earlier system with (W = overlineZ).


Desk 3. Reality desk for calculating product-of-sums instance.
0 0 0 1
0 0 1 0
0 1 0 1
0 1 1 1
1 0 0 1
1 0 1 1
1 1 0 0
1 1 1 0


Our course of for creating the product-of-sums type shall be successfully the alternative of that used to generate the sum-of-products. This time, our objective is to assemble an expression that’s solely False (0) for every row in our desk, for which W is False (0). These three rows are listed in Desk 4.


Desk 4. Reality desk for which W is False (0).
0 0 1 0
1 1 0 0
1 1 1 0


Let’s take into account the case of A=0, B=0, and C=1, as proven within the first row of Desk 4. Our reality desk exhibits that the output for this case must be 0.

Take into account the scenario when A=1? With out realizing what B and C are, we all know that the output must be True as a result of we all know that no matter row of the reality desk it could be, it might’t be the one we’re desirous about. So, we wish a operate that shall be True every time A=1, whatever the worth of some other enter. That’s the description of an OR gate during which one enter is A.

By related reasoning, we wish our different inputs to be B and C’, or:


$$ overlineW_1 = A + B + overlineC$$


Earlier than continuing, let’s ensure that we’re comfy with the notion that this actually does what we wish, which means that it’s False if A=0, B=0, and C=1 however that it’s True in each different case. First, for the case we’re desirous about, the output shall be False as a result of the expression was crafted particularly such that every of the phrases within the expression is False on this case—for every enter, we’re utilizing the alternative of the worth in that focus on row.



Simply as a minterm is an expression that’s True for precisely one mixture of inputs, a maxterm is an expression that’s False for precisely one. As we have now finished above in our equation for (overlineW_1), the usual approach to symbolize a maxterm is because the sum (i.e., logical-OR) of all of the variables, utilizing the complement of every sign that must be True for that mixture of inputs.

To see that it should then be True for all different circumstances, we merely want to acknowledge that the one approach to get to some other case is to alter the worth of no less than one of many enter indicators and, in doing so, change the worth of that time period within the expression from False to True. Then, as a result of the phrases are all ORed collectively, all it takes is a single time period being True to make the general expression True.

Utilizing the identical method, the expressions for the opposite two rows in Desk 4 that ought to produce a False (0) output will be written as:


$$ overlineW_2 = overlineA + B + C$$

$$ overlineW_3 = overlineA + B + overlineC$$


Product of the Maxterms = Product-of-Sums

An equation comprised of the product of maxterms is a novel illustration (sans ordering) of the logic system it describes and is, due to this fact, canonical. Subsequently, our final step is to mix these particular person expressions to get an accurate equation for the entire reality desk. In phrases, we are able to describe what we want in two other ways, each of which lead to the identical equation.

First, let’s imagine that we want ALL of the person expressions to be True to ensure that the general equation to be True. Second, let’s imagine that the output must be False if ANY of the person expressions are False. Each of those describe a logical-AND of all of the related expressions, which is exactly what we want:


$$W = (A + B + overlineC) cdot (overlineA + B + C) cdot (overlineA + B + overlineC)$$


This equation is our desired product-of-sums or, extra formally, the canonical disjunctive regular norm.


The Relationship Between Sum-of-Merchandise and Product-of-Sums

Let’s now take a step again and are available at this once more, however from a special course, to attain the identical end result for the product–of-sums. Think about first making a second operate that’s the logical inverse of the goal operate, W.

We already know the right way to write an SoP equation for this second operate utilizing the minterms related to every row for which this operate is True (that are precisely the rows the place our goal operate is False). On this instance, we’ve already finished this since our “second operate” occurs to be our authentic system (Z = overlineW)..

We are able to due to this fact generate an equation for W by inverting the SoP equation for Z.


$$W = overlineZ = overlineoverlineAoverlineBC + ABoverlineC + ABC$$


We are able to then apply DeMorgan’s Theorem to do away with the general inversion.


$$W = overline(overlineAoverlineBC) cdot overline(ABoverlineC) cdot overline(ABC)$$


Lastly, we are able to apply DeMorgan’s to every of the components to take away their inversions, yielding the identical remaining equation obtained beforehand.


$$W = (A + B + overlineC) cdot (overlineA + B + C) cdot (overlineA + B + overlineC)$$


As was the case with the equation for Z, we are able to simplify this expression to


$$W = (A + B + overlineC) cdot (overlineA + B)$$


This equation remains to be in PoS (or conjunctive regular) type, however will not be in canonical type, which requires that every issue be a maxterm that’s True for all potential mixture of inputs besides precisely one.


When to Use SoP and PoS

A given logic system will be described by numerous, seemingly totally different, Boolean equations. The usage of canonical types for these equations makes the method of figuring out if two such methods are equal extra tractable since any system has just one equation of that type that describes it, no less than as much as the purpose of the precise ordering of the weather that make up the equation.

Two quite common such types are the sum-of-products (when every time period is a minterm) and the product-of-sums (when every issue is a maxterm). The previous is especially helpful when comparatively few of the potential enter mixtures produce a logical True output, whereas the latter is finest suited when most of them do.

Understanding the right way to develop and manipulate these Boolean canonical types is necessary for digital system design and optimization.


Featured picture used courtesy of Adobe