Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
Boolean network models have gained popularity in computational systems biology over the last dozen years. Many of these networks use canalizing Boolean functions, which has led to increased interest in the study of these functions. The canalizing depth of a function describes how many canalizing variables can be recursively “picked off”, until a non-canalizing function remains. In this paper, we show how every Boolean function has a unique algebraic form involving extended monomial layers and a well-defined core polynomial. This generalizes recent work on the algebraic structure of nested canalizing functions, and it yields a stratification of all Boolean functions by their canalizing depth. As a result, we obtain closed formulas for the number of n-variable Boolean functions with depth k, which simultaneously generalizes enumeration formulas for canalizing, and nested canalizing functions.
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