What is Boolean Logic?
Have you ever wondered how a computer can do something like balance a check book, or spell-check a document? If you want to understand the answer to this question down at the very core, the first thing you need to understand is something called Boolean Logic. [i]
Why do you need to understand Boolean Logic?
Well, as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) increases, it will be important for us all to understand it. I am no expert on it by any means, but here’s my take on what I understand to be the very basic fundamentals of it, in the simplest and broadest of terms.
The term “Boolean” refers to a system of logic developed by the mathematician and early computer pioneer, George Boole.
A Boolean search is a query technique that utilizes Boolean Logic to connect individual keywords or phrases within a single query.
Boolean searching allows the user to combine or limit words and phrases in an online search in order to retrieve relevant results. Boolean searching includes three key Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT which are used to limit, broaden and define the search results.
When these “operators” are used between two keywords, the search will result as follows:
- A Boolean search for “Cats AND Dogs” will retrieve all documents that contain both words
- A Boolean search for “Cats NOT Dogs”, will retrieve only documents that contain the word “Cats”
- A Boolean search for “Cats OR Dogs”, will retrieve documents that contain either the word “Cats” or the word, “Dogs”
Wildcard Characters (? and *) are also used in Boolean Logic.
- “?” matches a single character (i.e. the search string “re?” will match both rest and rent)
- “*” matches multiple characters (i.e. the wildcard search “res*”, will match rest, rested and resting.[ii]