[C#] How to check if a number is a power of 2


Answers

Some sites that document and explain this and other bit twiddling hacks are:

And the grandaddy of them, the book "Hacker's Delight" by Henry Warren, Jr.:

As Sean Anderson's page explains, the expression ((x & (x - 1)) == 0) incorrectly indicates that 0 is a power of 2. He suggests to use:

(!(x & (x - 1)) && x)

to correct that problem.

Question

Today I needed a simple algorithm for checking if a number is a power of 2.

The algorithm needs to be:

  1. Simple
  2. Correct for any ulong value.

I came up with this simple algorithm:

private bool IsPowerOfTwo(ulong number)
{
    if (number == 0)
        return false;

    for (ulong power = 1; power > 0; power = power << 1)
    {
        // This for loop used shifting for powers of 2, meaning
        // that the value will become 0 after the last shift
        // (from binary 1000...0000 to 0000...0000) then, the 'for'
        // loop will break out.

        if (power == number)
            return true;
        if (power > number)
            return false;
    }
    return false;
}

But then I thought, how about checking if log2 x is an exactly round number? But when I checked for 2^63+1, Math.Log returned exactly 63 because of rounding. So I checked if 2 to the power 63 is equal to the original number - and it is, because the calculation is done in doubles and not in exact numbers:

private bool IsPowerOfTwo_2(ulong number)
{
    double log = Math.Log(number, 2);
    double pow = Math.Pow(2, Math.Round(log));
    return pow == number;
}

This returned true for the given wrong value: 9223372036854775809.

Is there a better algorithm?




return ((x != 0) && !(x & (x - 1)));

If x is a power of two, its lone 1 bit is in position n. This means x – 1 has a 0 in position n. To see why, recall how a binary subtraction works. When subtracting 1 from x, the borrow propagates all the way to position n; bit n becomes 0 and all lower bits become 1. Now, since x has no 1 bits in common with x – 1, x & (x – 1) is 0, and !(x & (x – 1)) is true.




The following addendum to the accepted answer may be useful for some people:

A power of two, when expressed in binary, will always look like 1 followed by n zeroes where n is greater than or equal to 0. Ex:

Decimal  Binary
1        1     (1 followed by 0 zero)
2        10    (1 followed by 1 zero)
4        100   (1 followed by 2 zeroes)
8        1000  (1 followed by 3 zeroes)
.        .
.        .
.        .

and so on.

When we subtract 1 from these kind of numbers, they become 0 followed by n ones and again n is same as above. Ex:

Decimal    Binary
1 - 1 = 0  0    (0 followed by 0 one)
2 - 1 = 1  01   (0 followed by 1 one)
4 - 1 = 3  011  (0 followed by 2 ones)
8 - 1 = 7  0111 (0 followed by 3 ones)
.          .
.          .
.          .

and so on.

Coming to the crux

What happens when we do a bitwise AND of a number x, which is a power of 2, and x - 1?

The one of x gets aligned with the zero of x - 1 and all the zeroes of x get aligned with ones of x - 1, causing the bitwise AND to result in 0. And that is how we have the single line answer mentioned above being right.


Further adding to the beauty of accepted answer above -

So, we have a property at our disposal now:

When we subtract 1 from any number, then in the binary representation the rightmost 1 will become 0 and all the zeroes before that rightmost 1 will now become 1

One awesome use of this property is in finding out - How many 1s are present in the binary representation of a given number? The short and sweet code to do that for a given integer x is:

byte count = 0;
for ( ; x != 0; x &= (x - 1)) count++;
Console.Write("Total ones in the binary representation of x = {0}", count);

Another aspect of numbers that can be proved from the concept explained above is "Can every positive number be represented as the sum of powers of 2?".

Yes, every positive number can be represented as the sum of powers of 2. For any number, take its binary representation. Ex: Take number 501.

The binary of 501 is 111110101

Because  111110101 = 100000000 + 10000000 + 1000000 + 100000 + 1000 + 000 + 100 + 00 + 1
we have  501       = 256       + 128      + 64      + 32     + 16   + 0   + 4   + 0  + 1



This program in java returns "true" if number is a power of 2 and returns "false" if its not a power of 2

// To check if the given number is power of 2

import java.util.Scanner;

public class PowerOfTwo {
    int n;
    void solve() {
        while(true) {
//          To eleminate the odd numbers
            if((n%2)!= 0){
                System.out.println("false");
                break;
            }
//  Tracing the number back till 2
            n = n/2;
//  2/2 gives one so condition should be 1
            if(n == 1) {
                System.out.println("true");
                break;
            }
        }
    }
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // TODO Auto-generated method stub
        Scanner in = new Scanner(System.in);
        PowerOfTwo obj = new PowerOfTwo();
        obj.n = in.nextInt();
        obj.solve();
    }

}

OUTPUT : 
34
false

16
true






Example

0000 0001    Yes
0001 0001    No

Algorithm

  1. Using a bit mask, divide NUM the variable in binary

  2. IF R > 0 AND L > 0: Return FALSE

  3. Otherwise, NUM becomes the one that is non-zero

  4. IF NUM = 1: Return TRUE

  5. Otherwise, go to Step 1

Complexity

Time ~ O(log(d)) where d is number of binary digits




Here's a simple C++ solution:

bool IsPowerOfTwo( unsigned int i )
{
    return std::bitset<32>(i).count() == 1;
}



Here is another method I devised, in this case using | instead of & :

bool is_power_of_2(ulong x) {
    if(x ==  (1 << (sizeof(ulong)*8 -1) ) return true;
    return (x > 0) && (x<<1 == (x|(x-1)) +1));
}



After posting the question I thought of the following solution:

We need to check if exactly one of the binary digits is one. So we simply shift the number right one digit at a time, and return true if it equals 1. If at any point we come by an odd number ((number & 1) == 1), we know the result is false. This proved (using a benchmark) slightly faster than the original method for (large) true values and much faster for false or small values.

private static bool IsPowerOfTwo(ulong number)
{
    while (number != 0)
    {
        if (number == 1)
            return true;

        if ((number & 1) == 1)
            // number is an odd number and not 1 - so it's not a power of two.
            return false;

        number = number >> 1;
    }
    return false;
}

Of course, Greg's solution is much better.




bool isPowerOfTwo(int x_)
{
  register int bitpos, bitpos2;
  asm ("bsrl %1,%0": "+r" (bitpos):"rm" (x_));
  asm ("bsfl %1,%0": "+r" (bitpos2):"rm" (x_));
  return bitpos > 0 && bitpos == bitpos2;
}