Happy Holidays from ThinkTank Maths 2015

21 December 2015

This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of the Victorian mathematician George Boole. Perhaps the best-known of his many achievements is Boolean logic and to celebrate the life and work of George Boole, TTM has created a personalised christmas card for you in the form of a Boolean-inspired set of christmas fairy lights.

Boolean logic is ubiquitous in the modern world. Every electronic circuit, every computer algorithm is based on its mathematical principles. Even though the individual parts are very simple, the overall behaviour of the circuit can be very complex. Boolean logic considers only two values, one and zero, (alternatively, true and false) and builds a versatile framework for how they can be combined. In the image below, a yellow fairy light indicates an output of 0 and a red fairy light indicates an output of 1. The fundamental components of the circuit are operations, which take two input values and combining them to produce an output. The different ways in which this can happen correspond to the shapes of the fairy lights.

Though Boolean logic has been the foundation of modern computing there are limitations and shortcomings. ThinkTank Maths presents an extension of a Boolean logic circuit, allowing for a variety of values other than 0 and 1 (colours in the picture). The fairy light animation depicts the flow of information through the circuit for the many random inputs.


Your name determines the structure (i.e. the connections) of the circuit and the shape of each light. You must find the correct format for your name if you want to see a christmas-tree shape (although the others you may also find exciting…).

Season’s greetings and a happy new year from everyone at ThinkTank Maths!

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