Corresponding author: Bernd Rederlechner (

Academic editor:

When adding n-bit 2-th complement numbers, the result can be outside the range representable with n bits. A well-known theorem justifies the common overflow logic: Let a,b {0,1}n be the 2-th complement representations of signed integers [a] and [b], respectively, and let c0 {0, 1} be the carry-in bit. Then, [a] + [b] + c0 {-2n-1,...,2n-1-1} if and only if cn = cn-1 , where ci denotes the carry-bit from position i - 1 to position i when adding the binary numbers a and b. We present a proof of this theorem which is much shorter than previous proofs. This simplification can save valuable time in computer science classes. With a small extension the proof even holds for d-th complement numbers. Although the proof technique is known by some specialists, nobody seems to have written it up. With this note, it is once documented in a precise form, thus avoiding re-invention.