# Divide a number by 3 without using * / + – % operators

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Here’s my solution:

``````public static int div_by_3(long a) {
a <<= 30;
for(int i = 2; i <= 32 ; i <<= 1) {
a = add(a, a >> i);
}
return (int) (a >> 32);
}

public static long add(long a, long b) {
long carry = (a & b) << 1;
long sum = (a ^ b);
return carry == 0 ? sum : add(carry, sum);
}
```
```

First, note that

``````1/3 = 1/4 + 1/16 + 1/64 + ...
```
```

Now, the rest is simple!

``````a/3 = a * 1/3
a/3 = a * (1/4 + 1/16 + 1/64 + ...)
a/3 = a/4 + a/16 + 1/64 + ...
a/3 = a >> 2 + a >> 4 + a >> 6 + ...
```
```

Now all we have to do is add together these bit shifted values of a! Oops! We can’t add though, so instead, we’ll have to write an add function using bit-wise operators! If you’re familiar with bit-wise operators, my solution should look fairly simple… but just in-case you aren’t, I’ll walk through an example at the end.

Another thing to note is that first I shift left by 30! This is to make sure that the fractions don’t get rounded off.

``````11 + 6

1011 + 0110
sum = 1011 ^ 0110 = 1101
carry = (1011 & 0110) << 1 = 0010 << 1 = 0100
Now you recurse!

1101 + 0100
sum = 1101 ^ 0100 = 1001
carry = (1101 & 0100) << 1 = 0100 << 1 = 1000
Again!

1001 + 1000
sum = 1001 ^ 1000 = 0001
carry = (1001 & 1000) << 1 = 1000 << 1 = 10000
One last time!

0001 + 10000
sum = 0001 ^ 10000 = 10001 = 17
carry = (0001 & 10000) << 1 = 0

Done!
```
```

It’s simply carry addition that you learned as a child!

``````111
1011
+0110
-----
10001
```
```