Truth table

Truth table

A truth table is a mathematical table used in logic — specifically in connection with Boolean algebra, boolean functions, and propositional calculus — to compute the functional values of logical expressions on each of their functional arguments, that is, on each combination of values taken by their logical variables. In particular, truth tables can be used to tell whether a propositional expression is true for all legitimate input values, that is, logically valid.


The pattern of reasoning that the truth table tabulates was Frege's, Peirce's, and Schröder's by 1880. The tables have been prominent in literature since 1920 (Lukasiewicz, Post, Wittgenstein)" (Quine, 39). Lewis Carroll had formulated truth tables as early as 1894 to solve certain problems, but his manuscripts containing his work on the subject were not discovered until 1977 [] . Wittgenstein's "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" uses them to place truth functions in a series. The wide influence of this work led to the spread of the use of truth tables.

Truth tables are used to compute the values of propositional expressions in an effective manner that is sometimes referred to as a "decision procedure". A propositional expression is either an atomic formula — a propositional constant, propositional variable, or propositional function term (for example, "Px" or "P"("x")) — or built up from atomic formulas by means of logical operators, for example, AND (land), OR (lor), NOT (lnot). For instance, Fx land Gx is a propositional expression.

The column headings on a truth table show (i) the propositional functions and/or variables, and (ii) the truth-functional expression built up from those propositional functions or variables and operators. The rows show each possible valuation of T or F assignments to (i) and (ii). In other words, each row is a distinct interpretation of (i) and (ii).

Truth tables for classical logic are limited to Boolean logical systems in which only two logical values are possible, false and true, usually written F and T, or sometimes 0 or 1, respectively.

Logical operations

Logical negation

Logical negation is an operation on one logical value, typically the value of a proposition, that produces a value of "true" if its operand is false and a value of "false" if its operand is true.

The truth table for NOT p (also written as ~p or ¬p) is as follows:

Stated in English, if "p", then "p" ∨ "q" is "p", otherwise "p" ∨ "q" is "q".

Logical implication

Logical implication and the material conditional are both associated with an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of "false" just in the singular case the first operand is true and the second operand is false.

The truth table associated with the material conditional not p or q (symbolized as p → q) and the logical implication p implies q (symbolized as p ⇒ q) is as follows:

For two propositions, XOR can also be written as (p = 1 ∧ q = 0)∨ (p = 0 ∧ q = 1).

Logical NAND

The logical NAND is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of "false" if and only if both of its operands are true. In other words, it produces a value of "true" if and only if at least one of its operands is false.

The truth table for p NAND q (also written as p | q or p ↑ q) is as follows:

The negation of disjunction eg (p or q) equiv p ar{or} q and the conjunction of negations eg p and eg q are tabulated as follows:

Key::T = true, F = false:and = AND (logical conjunction):or = OR (logical disjunction):underline{or} = XOR (exclusive or) :underline{and} = XNOR (exclusive nor): ightarrow = conditional "if-then":leftarrow = conditional "(then)-if"

:iff biconditional or "if-and-only-if" is logically equivalent to underline{and}: XNOR (exclusive nor).

Johnston diagrams, similar to Venn diagrams and Euler diagrams, provide a way of visualizing truth tables. An interactive Johnston diagram illustrating truth tables is at []

Condensed truth tables for binary operators

For binary operators, a condensed form of truth table is also used, where the row headings and the column headings specify the operands and the table cells specify the result. For example Boolean logic uses this condensed truth table notation:

This notation is useful especially if the operations are commutative, although one can additionally specify that the rows are the first operand and the columns are the second operand. This condensed notation is particularly useful in discussing multi-valued extensions of logic, as it significantly cuts down on combinatoric explosion of the number of rows otherwise needed. It also provides for quickly recognizable characteristic "shape" of the distribution of the values in the table which can assist the reader in grasping the rules more quickly.

Truth tables in digital logic

Truth tables are also used to specify the functionality of hardware look-up tables (LUTs) in digital logic circuitry. For an n-input LUT, the truth table will have 2^"n" values (or rows in the above tabular format), completely specifying a boolean function for the LUT. By representing each boolean value as a bit in a binary number, truth table values can be efficiently encoded as integer values in electronic design automation (EDA) software. For example, a 32-bit integer can encode the truth table for a LUT with up to 5 inputs.

When using an integer representation of a truth table, the output value of the LUT can be obtained by calculating a bit index "k" based on the input values of the LUT, in which case the LUT's output value is the "k"th bit of the integer. For example, to evaluate the output value of a LUT given an array of "n" boolean input values, the bit index of the truth table's output value can be computed as follows: if the "i"th input is true, let V"i" = 1, else let V"i" = 0. Then the "k"th bit of the binary representation of the truth table is the LUT's output value, where "k" = V0*2^0 + V1*2^1 + V2*2^2 + ... + V"n"*2^"n".

Truth tables are a simple and straightforward way to encode boolean functions, however given the exponential growth in size as the number of inputs increase, they are not suitable for functions with a large number of inputs. Other representations which are more memory efficient are text equations and binary decision diagrams.

Applications of truth tables in digital electronics

In digital electronics (and computer science, fields of engineering derived from applied logic and math), truth tables can be used to reduce basic boolean operations to simple correlations of inputs to outputs, without the use of logic gates or code. For example, a binary addition can be represented with the truth table:

A B | C R1 1 | 1 01 0 | 0 10 1 | 0 10 0 | 0 0


A = First OperandB = Second OperandC = Carry R = Result

This truth table is read left to right:
* Value pair (A,B) equals value pair (C,R).
* Or for this example, A plus B equal result R, with the Carry C.

Note that this table does not describe the logic operations necessary to implement this operation, rather it simply specifies the function of inputs to output values.

In this case it can only be used for very simple inputs and outputs, such as 1's and 0's, however if the number of types of values one can have on the inputs increases, the size of the truth table will increase.

For instance, in an addition operation, one needs two operands, A and B. Each can have one of two values, zero or one. The number of combinations of these two values is 2x2, or four. So the result is four possible outputs of C and R. If one was to use base 3, the size would increase to 3x3, or nine possible outputs.

The first "addition" example above is called a half-adder. A full-adder is when the carry from the previous operation is provided as input to the next adder. Thus, a truth table of eight rows would be needed to describe a full adder's logic:

A B C* | C R 0 0 0 | 0 0 0 1 0 | 0 11 0 0 | 0 11 1 0 | 1 00 0 1 | 0 10 1 1 | 1 01 0 1 | 1 01 1 1 | 1 1

Same as previous, but.. C* = Carry from previous adder

ee also

;Basic logical operators
* Exclusive disjunction
* Logical conjunction
* Logical disjunction
* Logical equality
* Logical implication
* Logical NAND
* Logical NOR
* Negation (Inverter);Related topics
* Ampheck
* Boolean algebra (logic)
* Boolean algebra topics
* Boolean domain
* Boolean function
* Boolean-valued function
* Espresso heuristic logic minimizer
* First-order logic
* Karnaugh maps
* Logical connective
* Logical graph
* Logical value
* Minimal negation operator
* Multigrade operator
* Operation
* Parametric operator
* Propositional calculus
* Sole sufficient operator


Further reading

* Quine, W.V. (1982), "Methods of Logic", 4th edition, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

External links

* [ Online Truth Table Generator]
* [ Web-based truth table generator]
* [ Powerful logic engine]
* [ Boolean expression evaluator, generates truth table (Java applet)]
* [ Free logic minimization program Minilog]
* [ Samuel Williams' Truth Table Evaluator]

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См. также в других словарях:

  • truth table — n. 1. a table showing all the possible combinations of the variables in an expression in symbolic logic and their resulting truth or falsity 2. a similar table showing relationships between input to and output from a computer circuit …   English World dictionary

  • Truth Table —   [engl.], Wahrheitstabelle …   Universal-Lexikon

  • truth table — teisingumo lentelė statusas T sritis automatika atitikmenys: angl. Boolean operation table; truth diagram; truth table vok. Wahrheitstabelle, f rus. таблица истинности, f pranc. table de vérité, f …   Automatikos terminų žodynas

  • truth table — teisingumo lentelė statusas T sritis informatika apibrėžtis Lentelė, kurioje surašytos visos galimos ↑loginio reiškinio kintamųjų ir jas atitinkančios reiškinio reikšmės. Plačiau žr. priede. priedas( ai) MS Word formatas atitikmenys: angl. truth… …   Enciklopedinis kompiuterijos žodynas

  • truth table — truth′ ta ble n. cmp math. logic pho a table that gives the truth values of a compound logical statement for every possible combination of truth values of its component propositions • Etymology: 1935–40 …   From formal English to slang

  • truth table — table that presents the values for which a function receives true values (Computers) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • truth table — noun Etymology: translation of German wahrheitstafel : a table that lists underneath one or more truth functions the various truth values of the truth functions for given truth values of their arguments …   Useful english dictionary

  • truth table — noun Date: 1921 a table that shows the truth value of a compound statement for every truth value of its component statements; also a similar table (as for a computer logic circuit) showing the value of the output for each value of each input …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • truth table — Logic, Math., Computers. a table that gives the truth values of a compound sentence formed from component sentences by means of logical connectives, as AND, NOT, or OR, for every possible combination of truth values of the component sentences.… …   Universalium

  • truth table — noun a table showing all possible truth values for an expression, derived from the truth values of its components …   Wiktionary

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