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Introduction to Logic Gates

Unless you are an electrical engineer, an understanding of the operation of transistors is unnecessary. One level above the transistors, however, is a set of basic building blocks for digital circuitry. These building blocks are called logic gates, and it is at this level that we will begin our discussion.
A logic gate has the basic format shown below in the image. It takes one or more binary signals as its inputs, and using a specific algorithm, outputs a single bit as a result. Each time the inputs change, the output bit changes in a predictable fashion.
For example, the algorithm for a specific gate may cause a one to be output if an odd number of ones are present at the gate’s input and a zero to be output if an even number of ones is present.
A number of standard gates exist, each one of which has a specific symbol that uniquely identifies its function. Image below presents the symbols for the four primary types of gates that are used in digital circuit design.

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