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Symbolic system used for designing logic circuits and networks for digital computers. Its chief utility is in representing the truth value of statements, rather than the numeric quantities handled by ordinary algebra. It lends itself to use in the binary system employed by digital computers, since the only possible truth values, true and false, can be represented by the binary digits 1 and 0. A circuit in computer memory can be open or closed, depending on the value assigned to it, and it is the integrated work of such circuits that give computers their computing ability. The fundamental operations of Boolean logic, often called Boolean operators, are and, or, and not; combinations of these make up 13 other Boolean operators.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Boolean algebra, visit Britannica.com.