Bitwise Operator in C

The bitwise operators are the operators used to perform the operations on the data at the bit-level. When we perform the bitwise operations, then it is also known as bit-level programming. It consists of two digits, either 0 or 1. It is mainly used in numerical computations to make the calculations faster.

We have different types of bitwise operators in the C programming language. The following is the list of the bitwise operators:

Operator Meaning of operator
& Bitwise AND operator
| Bitwise OR operator
^ Bitwise exclusive OR operator
~ One's complement operator (unary operator)
<< Left shift operator
>> Right shift operator

Let's look at the truth table of the bitwise operators.

X Y X&Y X|Y X^Y
0 0 0 0 0
0 1 0 1 1
1 0 0 1 1
1 1 1 1 1

Bitwise AND operator

Bitwise AND operator is denoted by the single ampersand sign (&). Two integer operands are written on both sides of the (&) operator. If the corresponding bits of both the operands are 1, then the output of the bitwise AND operation is 1; otherwise, the output would be 0.

For example,

snippet
We have two variables a and b.
a =6;
b=4;
The binary representation of the above two variables are given below:
a = 0110
b = 0100
When we apply the bitwise AND operation in the above two variables, i.e., a&b, the output would be:
Result = 0100

As we can observe from the above result that bits of both the variables are compared one by one. If the bit of both the variables is 1 then the output would be 1, otherwise 0.

Let's understand the bitwise AND operator through the program.

snippet
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
{
   int a=6, b=14;  // variable declarations
   printf("The output of the Bitwise AND operator a&b is %d",a&b);
   return 0;
}

In the above code, we have created two variables, i.e., 'a' and 'b'. The values of 'a' and 'b' are 6 and 14 respectively. The binary value of 'a' and 'b' are 0110 and 1110, respectively. When we apply the AND operator between these two variables,

a AND b = 0110 && 1110 = 0110

Output

Bitwise Operator in C

Bitwise OR operator

The bitwise OR operator is represented by a single vertical sign (|). Two integer operands are written on both sides of the (|) symbol. If the bit value of any of the operand is 1, then the output would be 1, otherwise 0.

For example,

snippet
We consider two variables,
a = 23;
b = 10;
The binary representation of the above two variables would be:
a = 0001 0111
b = 0000 1010
When we apply the bitwise OR operator in the above two variables, i.e., a|b , then the output would be:
Result = 0001 1111

As we can observe from the above result that the bits of both the operands are compared one by one; if the value of either bit is 1, then the output would be 1 otherwise 0.

Let's understand the bitwise OR operator through a program.

snippet
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
{
   int a=23,b=10;  // variable declarations
   printf("The output of the Bitwise OR operator a|b is %d",a|b);
   return 0;
}

Output

Bitwise Operator in C

Bitwise exclusive OR operator

Bitwise exclusive OR operator is denoted by (^) symbol. Two operands are written on both sides of the exclusive OR operator. If the corresponding bit of any of the operand is 1 then the output would be 1, otherwise 0.

For example,

snippet
We consider two variables a and b,
a = 12;
b = 10;
The binary representation of the above two variables would be:
a = 0000 1100
b = 0000 1010
When we apply the bitwise exclusive OR operator in the above two variables (a^b), then the result would be:
Result = 0000 1110

As we can observe from the above result that the bits of both the operands are compared one by one; if the corresponding bit value of any of the operand is 1, then the output would be 1 otherwise 0.

Let's understand the bitwise exclusive OR operator through a program.

snippet
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
{
   int a=12,b=10;  // variable declarations
   printf("The output of the Bitwise exclusive OR operator a^b is %d",a^b);
   return 0;
}

Output

Bitwise Operator in C

Bitwise complement operator

The bitwise complement operator is also known as one's complement operator. It is represented by the symbol tilde (~). It takes only one operand or variable and performs complement operation on an operand. When we apply the complement operation on any bits, then 0 becomes 1 and 1 becomes 0.

For example,

snippet
If we have a variable named 'a',
a = 8;
The binary representation of the above variable is given below:
a = 1000
When we apply the bitwise complement operator to the operand, then the output would be:
Result = 0111

As we can observe from the above result that if the bit is 1, then it gets changed to 0 else 1.

Let's understand the complement operator through a program.

snippet
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
{
   int a=8;  // variable declarations
   printf("The output of the Bitwise complement operator ~a is %d",~a);
   return 0;
}

Output

Bitwise Operator in C

Bitwise shift operators

Two types of bitwise shift operators exist in C programming. The bitwise shift operators will shift the bits either on the left-side or right-side. Therefore, we can say that the bitwise shift operator is divided into two categories:

  • Left-shift operator
  • Right-shift operator

Left-shift operator

It is an operator that shifts the number of bits to the left-side.

Syntax of the left-shift operator is given below:

snippet
Operand << n

Where,

Operand is an integer expression on which we apply the left-shift operation.

n is the number of bits to be shifted.

In the case of Left-shift operator, 'n' bits will be shifted on the left-side. The 'n' bits on the left side will be popped out, and 'n' bits on the right-side are filled with 0.

For example,

snippet
Suppose we have a statement:
int a = 5;
The binary representation of 'a' is given below:
a = 0101
If we want to left-shift the above representation by 2, then the statement would be: 
a << 2;
0101<<2 = 00010100

Let's understand through a program.

snippet
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
{
    int a=5; // variable initialization
    printf("The value of a<<2 is : %d ", a<<2);
    return 0;
}

Output

Bitwise Operator in C

Right-shift operator

It is an operator that shifts the number of bits to the right side.

Syntax of the right-shift operator is given below:

snippet
Operand >> n;

Where,

Operand is an integer expression on which we apply the right-shift operation.

N is the number of bits to be shifted.

In the case of the right-shift operator, 'n' bits will be shifted on the right-side. The 'n' bits on the right-side will be popped out, and 'n' bits on the left-side are filled with 0.

For example,

snippet
Suppose we have a statement,
int a = 7;
The binary representation of the above variable would be:
a = 0111
If we want to right-shift the above representation by 2, then the statement would be:
a>>2;
0000 0111 >> 2 = 0000 0001

Let's understand through a program.

snippet
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
{
    int a=7; // variable initialization
    printf("The value of a>>2 is : %d ", a>>2);
    return 0;
}

Output

Bitwise Operator in C
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