Binary Lesson 16 – Binary Logic

lesson16A digital logic gate accepts input and produces a Yes or No output based upon a condition. Examine a light switch with two switches in the pseudo-electronic schematic below.




Demonstration of binary logic AND.

In order for the light to turn on, both switches must be on, but if either switch is turned off or if both switches are turned off, then the light is off.


If any switch is off or if both switches are off, then the light is off.

In binary, “on” would be represented with a 1 bit, and “off” would be represented with a 0 bit. A truth table describes all possible output states given any combination of input states. Here is a truth table that shows all possible combinations that turn the light on and off.


There are four possible results from two inputs.

Different types of logic — AND, OR, XOR, NOT — permit testing two or more inputs in order to determine if the output equates to a Yes/No, True/False, or 1/0 decision.

AND Gate

The light switch mechanism described above is an example of an AND gate. Only when both inputs are on will the light turn on. This concept is easier to understand if we look at the AND symbol used in electronics.

In binary, a logic AND will produce a 1 bit only when both input bits are 1. If either or both inputs are 0, then output is 0.


Bitwise AND evaluates bits.

Entire bytes can be ANDed together. From right to left, line up each bit in a column and perform the AND function on each bit in order. Pad with zeros if needed to avoid confusion.

Bitwise AND and Conditional (Boolean) AND

In programming, there are two types of AND: bitwise and conditional. Bitwise AND is often represented by a single ampersand symbol (&), and it means to AND individual bits together.

The conditional AND is usually represented by two ampersand symbols together (&&), and its result is true if and only if the given programming expressions evaluate to true. While both represent AND logic, they serve different purposes. In this lesson, we are referring to bitwise AND.

What is the result of 11101010b AND 110011b?

First, line up the bits so that the least significant bit in both base 2 numbers aligns with the ones place value. Pad the smaller base 2 with leading zeros so the two numbers have the same length. This helps avoid the temptation to “pull down” the most significant 1 bits.


Order does not matter. We could also write,


and obtain the same result.
Consult the truth table to determine the AND logic. For each column from right to left, record a 1 for each 1-1 pair and record 0 for everything else.

AND  00110011

What is 1001001 AND 0001000?

Align both numbers from the ones place and AND the bits together individually.

AND  0001000


AND Masking

The last example demonstrated bit masking. If we want to determine whether or not a certain bit (bit 4, in this case) is set or clear while ignoring all other bits, we can AND it with a mask of equal bit length where bit 4 is the only bit set to 1.

     1001001   (Data to evaluate)
AND  0001000   (Mask with bit 4 = 1)
     0001000   (Bit 4 is 1)

The input number 1001001b contains other bits, but they are ignored because the mask 0001000b set them to 0, which causes them to be 0 in the output.

     1000001   (Data to evaluate)
AND  0001000   (Mask with bit 4 = 1)
     0000000   (Bit 4 is 0)

Had bit 4 been 0 in the data number, the entire output would be 0.

Subnet Mask

Masking is useful in IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) networking to determine if a given IP address exists in the same subnet.

An IPv4 address is denoted in dotted decimal notation. For example,

The subnet mask is also expressed in dotted decimal notation.

Converted to binary, both produce 32-bit sequences.

11000000.10101000.00000001.00000001  (IP address)
11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000  (Subnet mask)

ANDing the IP address with the subnet mask obtains the network ID.

     11000000.10101000.00000001.00000001  (IP address:
AND  11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000  (Subnet mask:
     11000000.10101000.00000001.00000000  (Network ID:

If the computer receives a new IP address, such as, it will AND it with the subnet mask. If the results of the AND match the network ID, then the computer knows the new IP address exists on the same network.

     11000000.10101000.00000001.00100001  (IP address:
AND  11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000  (Subnet mask:
     11000000.10101000.00000001.00000000  (Obtained ID:
     11000000.10101000.00000001.00000000  (Matching network ID)

But if a different IP address, such as, is ANDed to obtain a different network ID, then the computer knows the new IP address must exist on another network.

     11000000.10101001.00000001.00100001  (IP address:
AND  11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000  (Subnet mask:
     11000000.10101001.00000001.00000000  (Different ID:
     11000000.10101000.00000001.00000000  (Does not match

In both cases, AND compared only the three most significant bytes of the IP address (bits 8 to 31) with the given mask. The low byte (bits 0 to 7) was ignored.

OR Gate

OR outputs 1 when at least 1 input is 1.


Bitwise OR.

In programming, there are bitwise OR and conditional OR. Bitwise OR evaluates individual bits, and it is represented by a single pipe character (|). Conditional OR is represented by two successive pipe characters (||), and it applies to expressions, not bits (unless bits are part of the expression). This lesson refers to bitwise OR.

What is 11011011b OR 1001b?

First, align both numbers with the ones place and pad the smaller number with leading zeros.

 OR  00001001

What is 1110b OR 011b?

OR  0011

Exclusive OR (XOR)

Ah! This one is a goodie that might appear illogical at first, but it makes many computing constructs happen that are not possible with plain AND or plain OR.

XOR only outputs 1 when only 1 input is 1. Or to phrase it another way, XOR is 0 when both inputs are the same.


Bitwise Exclusive OR.

What is 1011b XOR 1101b?

XOR  1101

What is 1011001b XOR 110b?

XOR  0000110


XOR Checksum

A checksum is a form of error-checking for a group of bits. XOR has the unique ability to produce a checksum when given two numbers. If either number is lost or corrupted, XOR can reconstruct the missing number by XORing the generated checksum with the remaining number.

Suppose we have two data bytes: 10011111b and 10100000b. We XOR them together to produce a third byte. This is the checksum byte.

      10011111   (Byte 1)
XOR   10100000   (Byte 2)
      00111111   (Checksum)

Suppose Byte 2 gets corrupted.

      10011111   (Byte 1)
XOR   ????????   (Byte 2 Corrupted by space invaders)
      00111111   (Checksum)

We can XOR the checksum with byte 1 to recover byte 2.

      10011111   (Byte 1)
XOR   00111111   (Checksum)
      10100000   (Byte 2 Recovered)

XOR and Cryptography

A simple demonstration of XOR involves the symmetric key cipher — a secret message technique where both parties use the same code, called a key, to encrypt and decrypt the letters in a sentence.

Suppose Mr. X wishes to send the word “HELP” to his contact Mr. Z. Each letter in the word HELP has a binary representation called ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). Each letter is one byte, so we replace each letter with its ASCII byte.

HELP becomes

H        E        L        P
01001000 01000101 01001100 01010000

Mr. X and Mr. Z have pre-agreed upon an 8-bit key: 11001100b. Any other 8-bit value would also work, but this is the one they know and keep secret between them.

Before sending the message, Mr. X encrypts it by XORing each byte with the same key 11001100b.

Mr. X Encrypts:

             H        E        L        P
Plaintext:   01001000 01000101 01001100 01010000
Key:         11001100 11001100 11001100 11001100
XOR   ------------------------------------------
Ciphertext:  10000100 10001001 10000000 10011100

Mr. X sends the ciphertext bit sequence 10000100 10001001 10000000 10011100 to Mr. Z, who then XORs each byte with the same key to read the original message.

Mr. Z Decrypts:

Ciphertext:  10000100 10001001 10000000 10011100
Key:         11001100 11001100 11001100 11001100
XOR   ------------------------------------------
Plaintext:   01001000 01000101 01001100 01010000
             H        E        L        P

Mr. Z consults an ASCII table to convert each byte back into its alphabetical letter to read the word HELP.

This encoding method is not secure, but it helps show how XOR can be used to reconstruct a missing value from two known values.


Logical NOT simply inverts bits. A 1 becomes a 0, and a 0 becomes a 1. Bitwise NOT is the same as 1’s complement.

Bitwise NOT.

Bitwise NOT.

Perform a NOT operation on 11000000b.

To form the NOT of any byte, invert the bits.

11000000 > 00111111


Combining Logic Gates

AND, OR, XOR, and NOT can be combined to form more complex gates and binary adders. In programming, we combine the existing simple bitwise logic (AND, OR, XOR, NOT) to produce more complex forms of logic.


NAND is an AND gate that sends its output through a NOT gate. The output is opposite of an AND gate. NAND output is 0 only when both inputs are 1.


NAND logic.


NOR is OR whose output passes through a NOT gate.


NOR logic.

Exclusive NOR

XNOR inverts regular XOR output.

Exclusive NOR (XNOR) logic.

Exclusive NOR (XNOR) logic.


Quiz Time!

Consult the truth tables above if necessary. Use pencil and paper. Include all bits in the answers. Assume binary for missing base notation.


  1. 1001 AND 1010
  2. 110011 AND 10010011
  3. 11010 OR 101
  4. NOT 11110000 10100101 (Include all bits in answer)
  5. 1001 XOR 1010
  6. 11000000 XOR 11101110
  7. Oh, no! Corrupted Data! Byte 1 is 01100110 and the checksum byte is 11110011. Using XOR, find the missing byte.
  8. 0000 NOR 0000
  9. 23d NAND 96d
  10. 0x17 AND 0x60



  1. 1000
  2. 00010011
  3. 11111 (All 1’s) Remember to pad the bits.
  4. 00001111 01011010
  5. 0011
  6. 00101110
  7. 10010101 (XOR byte 1 and the checksum)
  8. 1111
  9. 11111111b. Convert decimal to binary and then NAND the two values. 23d = 00010111b and 96d = 01100000b.
  10. 00000000b. Convert hexadecimal to binary, and–Surprise! We see the same binary values we just converted in #9 above. The only difference is that we are ANDing them together instead of NANDing them.

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