Octave provides a number of functions for the manipulation of numeric
values on a bit by bit basis. The basic functions to set and obtain the
values of individual bits are
Set or reset bit(s) at position n of the unsigned integers in A.
The least significant bit is n = 1. val = 0 resets bits and val = 1 sets bits. If no val is specified it defaults to 1 (set bit). All inputs must be the same size or scalars.
Example 1: Set multiple bits
x = bitset (1, 3:5) ⇒ x = 5 9 17 dec2bin (x) ⇒ 00101 01001 10001
Example 2: Reset and set bits
x = bitset ([15 14], 1, [0 1]) ⇒ x = 14 15
Return the bit value at position(s) n of the unsigned integers in A.
The least significant bit is n = 1.
bitget (100, 8:-1:1) ⇒ 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
The arguments to all of Octave’s bitwise operations can be scalar or
arrays, except for
bitcmp, whose k argument must a
scalar. In the case where more than one argument is an array, then all
arguments must have the same shape, and the bitwise operator is applied
to each of the elements of the argument individually. If at least one
argument is a scalar and one an array, then the scalar argument is
bitget (100, 8:-1:1)
is the same as
bitget (100 * ones (1, 8), 8:-1:1)
It should be noted that all values passed to the bit manipulation
functions of Octave are treated as integers. Therefore, even though the
bitset above passes the floating point value
10, it is treated as the bits
[1, 0, 1, 0] rather than the
bits of the native floating point format representation of
As the maximum value that can be represented by a number is important
for bit manipulation, particularly when forming masks, Octave supplies
two utility functions:
flintmax for floating point integers, and
intmax for integer objects (
Octave also includes the basic bitwise ’and’, ’or’, and ’exclusive or’ operators.
Return the bitwise AND of non-negative integers.
x, y must be in the range [0,intmax]
Return the bitwise OR of non-negative integers x and y.
Return the bitwise XOR of non-negative integers x and y.
The bitwise ’not’ operator is a unary operator that performs a logical
negation of each of the bits of the value. For this to make sense, the
mask against which the value is negated must be defined. Octave’s
bitwise ’not’ operator is
Return the k-bit complement of integers in A.
If k is omitted
k = log2 (flintmax) + 1 is assumed.
bitcmp (7,4) ⇒ 8 dec2bin (11) ⇒ 1011 dec2bin (bitcmp (11, 6)) ⇒ 110100
Octave also includes the ability to left-shift and right-shift values bitwise.
Return a k bit shift of n-digit unsigned integers in A.
A positive k leads to a left shift; A negative value to a right shift.
If n is omitted it defaults to 64. n must be in the range [1,64].
bitshift (eye (3), 1) ⇒
2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2
bitshift (10, [-2, -1, 0, 1, 2]) ⇒ 2 5 10 20 40
Bits that are shifted out of either end of the value are lost. Octave also uses arithmetic shifts, where the sign bit of the value is kept during a right shift. For example:
bitshift (-10, -1) ⇒ -5 bitshift (int8 (-1), -1) ⇒ -1
bitshift (int8 (-1), -1) is
-1 since the bit
-1 in the
int8 data type is
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1].