I have been given this diagram of a circuit: https://www.google.com/search?q=full+adder+logic+gate&rlz=1C1CHBF_enCA831CA831&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCjZzc_PbfAhXCj4MKHahtCvcQ_AUIDigB&biw=1536&bih=792#imgrc=GFIqfN5OgCdtRM:

The second XOR gate looks like its output is being connected as inputs of 2 different gates at the same time. Am I interpreting this incorrectly or is it possible to send the a single output to 2 gates simultaneously?

  • $\begingroup$ It is definitely possible (and required in many designs) to connect the output of a gate to the inputs of several other gates. The only limitation is electrical. If this number is to high, gate performances can be degraded. If interested, you can check en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan-out $\endgroup$ Jan 18, 2019 at 10:08
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    $\begingroup$ This seems more suited to Electrical Engineering. $\endgroup$ Jan 18, 2019 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ Questions should be self-contained. Please do not simply add a link to an image; insert the image as such directly in the question instead. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – dkaeae
    Jan 18, 2019 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


In circuit complexity, the fan-out of a gate is the number of gates its output is connected to (similarly, the fan-in is the number of inputs to the gate). A circuit in which all gates have fan-out 1 is known as a formula. It is known that some $n$-bit functions can be computed by circuits of size $O(2^n/n)$ but require formulas of size $\Omega(2^n/\log n)$. It is conjectured that polynomial size circuits can compute more functions than polynomial size formulas, but this conjecture, known as the $\mathsf{NC^1} \stackrel?= \mathsf{P}$ question, remains unproved.


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