Karnaugh studied mathematics and physics at City College of New York (1944 to 1948) and transferred to Yale University to complete his B.Sc. (1949), M.Sc. (1950) and Ph.D. in physics with a thesis on The Theory of Magnetic Resonance and Lambda-Type Doubling in Nitric-Oxide (1952).
Karnaugh worked at Bell Labs (1952 to 1966), developing the Karnaugh map (1954) as well as patents for PCM encoding and magnetic logic circuits and coding. He later worked at IBM's Federal Systems Division in Gaithersburg (1966 to 1970) and at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center (1970 to 1989), studying multistage interconnection networks.
Karnaugh was elected an IEEE Fellow in 1976, and held an adjunct position at Polytechnic University of New York (now New York University Tandon School of Engineering) at the Westchester campus from 1980 to 1999.
He has been married to the former Linn Blank Weil since 1970. He has two grown sons, Robert and Paul, from his first marriage.
- Karnaugh, Maurice (November 1953) [1953-04-23, 1953-03-17]. "The Map Method for Synthesis of Combinational Logic Circuits" (PDF). Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, Part I: Communication and Electronics. 72 (5): 593–599. doi:10.1109/TCE.1953.6371932. Paper 53-217. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-04-16. Retrieved 2017-04-16.
- Karnaugh, Maurice (June 1972). "Issues in Computer Communications". IEEE Transactions on Communications. 20 (3): 495–498. doi:10.1109/TCOM.1972.1091197.
- Karnaugh, Maurice (May 1976). "A New Class of Algorithms for Multipoint Network Optimization". IEEE Transactions on Communications. 24 (5): 500–505. doi:10.1109/TCOM.1976.1093334.
- Karnaugh, Maurice (March 1992). Generalized quicksearch for expert systems. Eighth Conference on Artificial Intelligence for Applications. pp. 30–34. doi:10.1109/CAIA.1992.200007.
- Karnaugh, Maurice (2017-01-17) [2015-07-05]. "Symbolic Sets and the Real Line" (PDF). symbolicsets.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-08-15. Retrieved 2019-08-07. (61 pages)