- The act of algorithmically manipulating bits or other pieces of data shorter than a word. Computer programming tasks that require bit manipulation include low-level device control, error detection and correction algorithms, data compression, encryption algorithms, and optimization. For most other tasks, modern programming languages allow the programmer to work directly with abstractions instead of bits that represent those abstractions. Source code that does bit manipulation makes use of the bitwise operations: AND, OR, XOR, NOT, and possibly other operations analogous to the Boolean operators; there are also bit shifts and operations to count ones and zeros, find high and low one or zero, set, reset and test bits, extract and insert fields, mask and zero fields, gather and scatter bits to and from specified bit positions or fields. Integer arithmetic operators can also effect bit operations in conjunction with the other operators. Bit manipulation, in some cases, can obviate or reduce the need to loop over a data structure and can give manyfold speed-ups, as bit manipulations are processed in parallel. ← Wikipedia

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