Given two boolean variables x1 and x2 (in the sense that they are in the range [0,1]), if I try to solve the following equation system with Solve:

Solve[{x1 == 1 - x2, x2 == 1 - x1}]

Mathematica will output:

{{x2 -> 1 - x1}}

I am aware that Solve is not treating the variables as boolean, but the statement that x2 can be replaced by the expression 1 - x1 is what I am interested in.

If, instead, I provide Solve with a system of inequalities:

Solve[{x1 != 1 - x2, x2 != 1 - x1}]

Mathematica will output the following error message:

Solve::fulldim: The solution set contains a full-dimensional component; use Reduce for complete solution information. >>

If I try to restrain the variable values in the system:

Solve[{x1 != 1 - x2, x2 != 1 - x1, 0 <= x1 <= 1, 0 <=  x2 <= 1}, Integers]

Mathematica will correctly Solve the system:

{{x1 -> 0, x2 -> 0}, {x1 -> 1, x2 -> 1}}

But this is not the response I am interested in. The output I am looking for is

{{x1 -> x2}}

Since it is a logical conclusion that could be made by just looking at the system and knowing the variables are in the range [0,1].

Is there a way to make solve obtain the output {{x1 -> x2}} instead of the variable values? Or any other function besides Solve that would give me that result?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is nothing in the input to indicate booleanness (and Solve will not read your intentions). Could do Solve[{x1 == 1 - x2, x2 == 1 - x1, x1^2==x1, x2^2==x2}, {x1,x2}] or Solve[{x1 == 1 - x2, x2 == 1 - x1, 0<=x1<=1, 0<=x2<=1}, {x1,x2}, Integer s]. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Lichtblau Sep 24 '14 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ Daniel, this is the whole point of the question. I don't know how to tell Solve I'm interested in treating these variables as Booleans, without it going all the steps through and telling me the variable values (0 or 1). Both your suggestions give me the result I am not looking for (the values the variables should have instead of the relation they have). $\endgroup$ – mverardo Sep 25 '14 at 0:58

I guess you are looking for this.

Solve[x1 == !x2 && x2 == !x1, x1] // Quiet

{{x1 -> ! x2}}

I transpose Unequal to Not Equal like following code.

Solve[x1 != !x2 && x2 != !x1
   /. a_ != b_ :> (!a) == b, x1] // Quiet

{{x1 -> x2}}

  • $\begingroup$ Junho Lee, thanks for your response! I hadn't realized that I could switch a != b by !a == b. This solves my problem. $\endgroup$ – mverardo Sep 25 '14 at 1:11

Unless I'm misunderstanding your question, I think its worth pointing out that

{{x1 -> x2}}

is not a valid solution to your original equation. Indeed, if x1 == x2, then $$x_1=1-x_2=1-x_1$$ which is always false modulo 2. Mathematica's solution

{{x2 -> 1 - x1}}

is correct since the two original equations are not linearly independent, and thus there is only one variable that can be eliminated.

To explicitly solve over the Booleans, you can tell Solve or Reduce to compute modulo 2:

Reduce[{x1 == 1 - x2, x2 == 1 - x1}, Modulus -> 2]

which gives

x1 == 1 + C[1] && x2 == C[1]

which you can verify is true for both C[1] == 0 and C[1] == 1.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi DumpsterDoofus, thanks for your response. Please, note that {{x1 -> x2}} is a logical implication that can be made from the second system of inequalities, and not from the original system of equalities. Although your suggestion to use the Modulus->2 option is new to me (thank you for that!), it doesn't give me the output I'm looking for when using it in the second system. $\endgroup$ – mverardo Sep 25 '14 at 1:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.