Blake Canonical Form
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Blake Canonical Form

In Boolean logic, a formula for a Boolean function f is in Blake canonical form (BCF),[1] also called the complete sum of prime implicants,[2] the complete sum,[3] or the disjunctive prime form,[4] when it is a disjunction of all the prime implicants of f.[1]

Relation to other forms

Karnaugh map of AB + BC + AC, a sum of all prime implicants (each rendered in a different color). Deleting AC results in a minimal sum.

The Blake canonical form is a special case of disjunctive normal form.

The Blake canonical form is not necessarily minimal, however all the terms of a minimal sum are contained in the Blake canonical form.[3] On the other hand, the Blake canonical form is unique, whereas there can be multiple minimal forms. Selecting a minimal sum from a Blake canonical form amounts in general to solving the set cover problem,[5] so is NP-hard.[6][7]


Archie Blake presented his canonical form at a meeting of the American Mathematical Society in 1932,[8] and in his 1937 dissertation. He called it the "simplified canonical form";[9][10][11] it was named the "Blake canonical form" by Frank Markham Brown and Sergiu Rudeanu in 1986-1990.[12][1]:4, 81

Methods for calculation

Blake discussed three methods for calculating the canonical form: exhaustion of implicants, iterated consensus, and multiplication. The iterated consensus method was rediscovered[1] by Samson and Mills,[13]Quine,[14] and Bing.[15][16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Brown, Frank Markham (2012) [2003, 1990]. "Chapter 3: The Blake Canonical Form". Boolean Reasoning - The Logic of Boolean Equations (reissue of 2nd ed.). Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. pp. 77ff. ISBN 978-0-486-42785-0.[1]
  2. ^ Sasao, Tsutomu (1996). "Ternary Decision Diagrams and their Applications". In Sasao, Tsutomu; Fujita, Masahira (eds.). Representations of Discrete Functions. p. 278. doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-1385-4_12. ISBN 978-0792397205.
  3. ^ a b Kandel, Abraham (1998). Foundations of Digital Logic Design. p. 177. ISBN 9789810231101.
  4. ^ Donald E. Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming 4A: Combinatorial Algorithms, Part 1, 2011, p. 54
  5. ^ Feldman, Vitaly (2009). "Hardness of Approximate Two-Level Logic Minimization and PAC Learning with Membership Queries". Journal of Computer and System Sciences. 75: 13-25 (13-14). doi:10.1016/j.jcss.2008.07.007.
  6. ^ Gimpel, James F. (1965). "A Method for Producing a Boolean Function Having an Arbitrary Prescribed Prime Implicant Table". IEEE Transactions on Computers. 14: 485-488.
  7. ^ Paul, Wolfgang Jakob (1974). "Boolesche Minimalpolynome und Überdeckungsprobleme". Acta Informatica (in German). 4 (4): 321-336. doi:10.1007/BF00289615.
  8. ^ Mr. Archie Blake, "Canonical expressions in Boolean algebra", "Abstracts of Papers", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, November 1932, p. 805
  9. ^ Blake, Archie (1937). Canonical expressions in Boolean algebra (Dissertation). Department of Mathematics, University of Chicago: University of Chicago Libraries.
  10. ^ Archie Blake, "Corrections to Canonical Expressions in Boolean Algebra", Journal of Symbolic Logic, 3:3:112-113 (September 1938)
  11. ^ McKinsey, J. C. C. (June 1938). McKinsey, J. C. C. (ed.). "Blake, Archie. Canonical expressions in Boolean algebra, Department of Mathematics, University of Chicago, 1937". The Journal of Symbolic Logic (Review). 3 (2:93): 93. doi:10.2307/2267634. JSTOR 2267634.
  12. ^ Frank Markham Brown, Sergiu Rudeanu, "A Functional Approach to the Theory of Prime Implicants", Publication de l'institut mathématique Nouvelle série 40:54:23-32 (1986)
  13. ^ E.W. Samson and B.E. Mills (Apr 1954). Circuit minimization: algebra and algorithms for new Boolean canonical expressions (Technical Report AFCRC TR 54-21). Air Force Cambridge Research Center.
  14. ^ Willard Van Orman Quine (Nov 1955). "A Way to Simplify Truth Functions". The American Mathematical Monthly. 62 (9): 627-631. JSTOR 2307285.
  15. ^ K. Bing (1955). "On simplifying propositional formulas". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 61: 560.
  16. ^ K. Bing (1956). "On simplifying truth-functional formulas". J. Symbolic Logic. 21: 253-254.

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