meaning of & in C++


I am bit confused about a expression I found in some C++ code:

if (m & 1) pmm=-pmm;

I am not a C/C++ coder, so Google gives me two things:

<ol><li>& is bitwise AND</li> <li>if syntax is if (condition) statement</li> </ol>

So, how does the above statement work? Should I not require a if ((m & 1)==0)?


Just to add to the more technical explanations, a simpler way of viewing if (m & 1) is that is tests whether m is <em>odd</em> (i.e. not an exact multiple of 2):

if (m & 1) // m is odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, ...) - do something else // m is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, ...) - do something else


<strong>m</strong> will be represented in memory as a binary number, in other words: a series of bits. The value <strong>1</strong> will also be represented as a series of bits.

For example (I have chosen 8 bit length for simplicity):

m = 00101101 1 = 00000001

Performing a bitwise operation on <strong>m</strong> will perform the operation you specify, in this case <strong>&</strong> (AND) on each bit at the same position on each binary number on either side of the <strong>&</strong> symbol.

<em>i.e. Bit 1 of result = Bit 1 of m & Bit 1 of the value 1. Bit 2 of result = Bit 2 of m & Bit 2 of the value 1 etc...</em>

So for our example:

00101101 & 00000001 --------- 00000001

Assuming <strong>m</strong> is an integer, the bitwise operation will return an integer. The <strong>if</strong> statement will check if the result is true, and since it is an integer it will be interpreted as true if non-zero.

The result is not zero hence it will return true in our example.

So: By <strong>AND</strong>-ing an integer with 1 you will end up returning true in your code for odd numbers only, since bit 1 is always 1 for odd numbers.


This is bitwise AND operator. m & 1 evaluates to 1 if bit 0 is set and every expression that is not 0 is <strong>true</strong> implicitly.

Following are equivalent expressions:

if ((m & 1) == 1) // bitwise AND is 1 if ((m & 1) != 0) // bitwise AND is NOT 0 if (m & 1)

However caution is required if testing more bits. For example m = 1:

if (m & 3) is true also, but the result is 1. Better is if ((m & 3) == 3) in this case.


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