Eliminating cascading carries
In this note we describe an adder for numbers in the following decimal representation
(0) n = 〈 Σ i : 0≤i : di∙10i 〉
(1) −5 ≤ di ≤ 6 for all i .
All integers can be represented this way, but note that the representation is not necessarily unique: for instance, 26 can be represented in two decimals by (2,6) as well as by (3,−4).
In our "adder", which can calculate ±a±b, the sum of two digits ranges from −12 through +12; its addition table represents these values as c∙10 + s —from "carry" and "sum digit"—, with c, s satisfying
(2) −1 ≤ c ≤ +1 and −4 ≤ 5 ≤ +5 ,
Because (2) excludes for s the extreme digit values −5 and +6 and |c| ≤ 1, each sum digit can absorb a carry from the right without generating a new one. In long parallel adders the problem of carry propagation has thus been eliminated; alternatively we can add from left to right with a "look-ahead" of only 1 position.
Remark If we so desire, we may replace (1) by the weaker, symmetric −6 ≤ di ≤ +6. with (2) weakened accordingly, some freedom in the addition table is introduced. (End of Remark)
Please note that (i) the representation of zero is unique, and (ii) the sign of a non-zero value is determined by the sign of its most-significant non-zero digit.
The above, which was designed decades ago, was inspired by the implementation of the end-around carry in the serial adder of the ARMAC. Since the advent of systolic arrays it must look like something familiar.