# Disjunctive normal form

In boolean logic, a **disjunctive normal form** (**DNF**) is a canonical normal form of a logical formula consisting of a disjunction of conjunctions; it can also be described as an **OR of ANDs**, a sum of products, or (in philosophical logic) a *cluster concept*. As a normal form, it is useful in automated theorem proving.

## Definition

A logical formula is considered to be in DNF if and only if it is a disjunction of one or more conjunctions of one or more literals.[1]^{:153} A DNF formula is in **full disjunctive normal form** if each of its variables appears exactly once in every conjunction. As in conjunctive normal form (CNF), the only propositional operators in DNF are and, or, and not. The *not* (¬) operator can only be used as part of a literal, which means that it can only precede a propositional variable.

The following is a formal grammar for DNF:

*disjunction*→ (*conjunction*∨*disjunction*)*disjunction*→*conjunction**conjunction*→ (*literal*∧*conjunction*)*conjunction*→*literal**literal*→ ¬*variable**literal*→*variable*

Where *variable* is any variable.

For example, all of the following formulas are in DNF:

However, the following formulas are **not** in DNF:

- , since an OR is nested within a NOT
- , since an OR is nested within an AND

## Conversion to DNF

Converting a formula to DNF involves using logical equivalences, such as double negation elimination, De Morgan's laws, and the distributive law.

All logical formulas can be converted into an equivalent disjunctive normal form.[1]^{:152-153}
However, in some cases conversion to DNF can lead to an exponential explosion of the formula. For example, the DNF of a logical formula of the following form has 2^{n} terms:

Any particular Boolean function can be represented by one and only one[note 1] *full* disjunctive normal form, one of the canonical forms. In contrast, two different *plain* disjunctive normal forms may denote the same Boolean function, see pictures.

## Computational complexity

The Boolean satisfiability problem on conjunctive normal form formulas is NP-hard, and so it is co-NP-hard to decide if a DNF formula is a tautology.

## Variants

An important variation used in the study of computational complexity is *k-DNF*. A formula is in *k-DNF* if it is in DNF and each conjunction contains at most k literals.

## See also

## Notes

- Ignoring variations based on associativity and commutativity of AND and OR.

## References

- B.A. Davey and H.A. Priestley (1990).
*Introduction to Lattices and Order*. Cambridge Mathematical Textbooks. Cambridge University Press.

- David Hilbert; Wilhelm Ackermann (1999).
*Principles of Mathematical Logic*. American Mathematical Soc. ISBN 978-0-8218-2024-7. - J. Eldon Whitesitt (24 May 2012).
*Boolean Algebra and Its Applications*. Courier Corporation. ISBN 978-0-486-15816-7. - Colin Howson (11 October 2005).
*Logic with Trees: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic*. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-78550-6. - David Gries; Fred B. Schneider (22 October 1993).
*A Logical Approach to Discrete Math*. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 67–. ISBN 978-0-387-94115-8.

## External links

- Hazewinkel, Michiel, ed. (2001) [1994], "Disjunctive normal form",
*Encyclopedia of Mathematics*, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. / Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-1-55608-010-4