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In digital circuits, an adder-subtracter is a circuit that is capable of adding or subtracting numbers (in particular, binary). Below is a circuit that does adding or subtracting depending on a control signal. However, it is possible to construct a circuit that performs both addition and subtracting at the same time.


There are many ways to implement binary adders, subtracters and accumulators in LCA devices. Various approaches offer different trade-offs between size and speed. Most compact, but slowest, is a bit-serial technique that operates on one or two bits per clock cycle, generating sum and carry. The sum is fed to an output shift register; the carry is stored and used in the subsequent bit time. The most compact combinatorial (parallel) adder, subtracter, or accumulator consists of cascaded CLBs. Each CLB implements a full adder, accepting one bit of each operand and an incoming carry. The CLB generates the sum and an outgoing carry. A 16-bit function is completed in 16 CLB delays,

Construction of a binary adder-subtracter is quite easy. Assume you have an n-bit adder for A and B, then S = A + B. Also assume the numbers are in two's complement. Then to perform B A, two's complement theory says to invert each bit with a NOT gate then add one. This yields , which is easy to do with a slightly modified adder.

Types of adders
Thomas Mckay-Smith For single bit adders, there are two general types. A half adder has two inputs, generally labelled A and B, and two outputs, the sum S and carry C. S is the two-bit XOR of A and B, and C is the AND of A and B. Essentially the output of a half adder is the sum of two one-bit numbers, with C being the most significant of these two outputs.

Half adder
A half adder is a logical circuit that performs an addition operation on two binary digits. The half adder produces a sum and a carry value which are both binary digits. Input Output Following is the logic table for a half adder:

Full adder
A full adder is a logical circuit that performs an addition operation on three binary digits. The full adder produces a sum and carry value, which are both binary digits. It can be combined with other full adders (see below) or work on its own. Note that the final OR gate before the carry-out output may be replaced by an XOR gate without altering the resulting logic. This is because the only discrepancy between OR and XOR gates occurs when both inputs are 1; for the adder shown here, this is never possible. Using only two types of gates is convenient if one desires to implement the adder directly using common IC chips.

Multiple-bit adders

When multiple full adders are used with the carry ins and carry outs chained together then this is called a ripple carry adder because the correct value of the carry bit ripples from one bit to the next. It is possible to create a logical circuit using several full adders to add multiple-bit numbers. Each full adder inputs a Cin, which is the Cout of the previous adder. This kind of adder is a ripple carry adder, since each carry bit "ripples" to the next full adder. Note that the first (and only the first) full adder may be replaced by a half adder.