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

This post has been automatically generated. I use this blog to collect links that I have bookmarked. All activity is automated.

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

via Hacker News http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11694546/divide-a-number-by-3-without-using-operators

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