Bit Hacks

August 9, 2013

A time-honored tradition among programmers is to hack a program to reduce the number of operations it takes, and a major component of that effort goes in to bit hacks, which we can define as dealing with data structures smaller than a single byte. Embedded systems programmers use bit hacks all of the time, as do game programmers and many others. We have three tasks today:

1) Determine the sign of an integer.

2) Determine if two integers have the same sign.

3) Determine the absolute value of an integer without branching.

Your task is to write bit hacks for the three tasks noted above; you may want to find multiple solutions for some of them. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.

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