# Questions tagged [bit]

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### The size of a byte in platform independent software

When writing platform independent software in C++, can I nowadays safely1 assume that a byte has a size of 8 bits? Or do I have to calculate it like this, for example: #include <climits> std::...
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### Is it possible to store N bits of unique combinations, in N-1 bits? If not; why does MD5 get reprimanded for collissions?

Regarding cryptography and the issue of collisions, I posed a question as to whether it was ever possible to store every single possible combination of a bit array of a particular size, in a bit array ...
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### What is the viability of engineering an integral type with values ranging from -1 to 254? Do types like this even exist?

In software engineering, often developers will utilize three different states of a signed integer, as a trilean: This tends to be quite typical: -1 - Represents something akin to a null pointer, as in ...
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### Sign Extension, When to stop?

Today, we learnt about sign extension to solve the problem where adding positive number to another positive one gives a negative. But my professor didn't mention at all when we should use it and how ...
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### In C++, Why do bitwise operators convert 8 or 16 bit integers to 32 bit?

Is there a logical reason why the integer is upgraded to 32+ bits? I was trying to make an 8bit mask, and found myself a bit disappointed that the upgrade will corrupt my equations. sizeof( quint8(0)...
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1 vote
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### C++ - BitVector logic

I have implemented a simple bit vector class. However, I have some problems with understanding, how to push data to it. In a standard vector, push_back inserts new element et the end. A similar ...
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### Can int16_t be easier on the processor then int?

I know that the compiler and architecture of a processor also have a role to play in this. But this is more of a "can it" rather then a "does it" question. I have already tried to research this, but ...
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### What is the name for storing / packing many boolean states into one number?

It's a sort of simple compression where you use one numeric variable to store many boolean / binary states, using doubling and the fact that every doubling number is 1 + the sum of all the previous ...
1 vote
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### Meaning of Using BitVectors to Model Integers to account for Overflow

I have just encountered this sentence: Depending on the context, we may prefer to model integers as bitvectors rather than mathematical integers, since the Int type does not model overflow. I am ...
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1 vote
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### How can I query, increment & decrement arbitrary-length integers encoded into a bit-array?

I'm in the process of implementing a counting Bloom filter. This data structure is defined as a bit-array and a "width" parameter, W. The bit array stores unsigned integers, whose size is determined ...
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### Why are CPUs' datapaths multiple of 8?

Current and common processing units are 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, etc bit. Why are their datapath multiple of 8 ? Is this all linked to the fact that the industry has settled with a 8-bit byte ? The PDP-7 ...
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### Is power-of-two bits per word "convenient"? If it is, why is that?

I find several sources claiming that power-of-two bits in a binary word (such as 8-bits per byte) is a "good thing" or "convenient". I find no source pointing out why. From What is the history of ...
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### Why isn't byte | bit the only built in data type?

All languages I have seen so far have multiple builtin data types (int, double, float, char, long...). But if we look closely, they are just arbitrary arrays of bits, the only difference between them ...
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Not so long ago I talked to my colleague and he was definitely against using bit masks because it is hard to understand all the values that are stored in the database. In my opinion it is not always a ...
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### Bits - Least-Significant/Lowest is 0th or 1st; zero or one indexed

Question Is there a rough consensus if the bitmask 0x01 is properly said to have the "zeroth" bit set, or the "first" bit set? If there isn't rough consensus that there's a generally right answer, ...
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### Explanation to why Counting bits set, Brian Kernighan's way works

I found this link to count number of bits in a variable. I think it is pretty cool, but I can't figure out why it works. Can someone offer an explanation? Here is the code unsigned int v; // count ...
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### What is the difference between size and length? [closed]

It seems that the terms size and length are used interchangeably to describe how many bits, bytes or octets some data occupies, i.e. a length field in a data header is said to indicate the size of the ...
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### Endianness at bit level

I am learning the union and struct and I wrote the code below. What I do not understand is why the output is different when I change from a little endian to a big endian machine. My understanding is ...
5k views

### Save flags in an int32 [closed]

Unity3d PlayerPrefs only allow saving certain types - string, float, and int32. Since int is composed of 32 bits, it should be able to store 32 flags or a bool[] of length 32. So far, I've thought ...
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### Is a 'least significant bit' used anywhere practically today?

I'm working on a library that supports file reading, and right now I've always assumed that all the bytes are written in most significant bit first format. Is the least significant bit first format ...
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### How does word size affect the amount of virtual address space available?

So, I should really know this stuff already, but I am starting to learn more about the lower levels of software development. I am currently reading Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective. by ...
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### How are negative signed values stored?

I was watching this video on the maximum and minimum values of signed integers. Take an example of a positive signed value - 0000 0001 The first bit denotes that the number is positive and the last ...
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### Understanding bitmap logic

I was going though this blog and it says You can represent a list of distinct integers no larger than N using exactly N bits: if the integer i appears in your list, you set the i th bit to true. ...
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### Clearing the lowest set bit of a number

I can see in this tutorial on bit manipulation, under the heading "Extracting every last bit", that - Suppose we wish to find the lowest set bit of x (which is known to be non-zero). If we ...
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### 8 bit and 1 byte, is this a valid question to be asked?

I saw these question in our school's past paper, and I'm wondering if this is a valid question. How big is bool in C and C++? A) 1 bit B) 4 bit C) 8 bit D) 1 byte What is ...
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### How to get from 1 byte to 2 bytes

We have 1 byte, which is 8 bits, which is 2^8. Now 2 bytes should be 2 * 1 byte, which is 2 * 2^8 = 2^9, but actually 2 bytes is 2^16. What am I missing here? It seems like 2 bytes isn't 2 * 1 byte, ...
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1 vote
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### How do I tell a user that bps means bits per second or bytes per second?

I'm writing an application that deals with the network and the hard drive. For the network portion, the application measures in bits per second, while the disk portion measures in bytes per second. ...
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### Is there an alternative to bits?

Is there an alternative to bits as the smallest unit of data? Something that won't be only 0 or 1, but actually hold many possible states in between? Wouldn't it be more natural to store floats like ...
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