Go: Bitmasks and flags

A bitmask is a small set of booleans, often called flags, represented by the bits in a single number.

type Bits uint8

const (
	F0 Bits = 1 << iota
	F1
	F2
)

func Set(b, flag Bits) Bits    { return b | flag }
func Clear(b, flag Bits) Bits  { return b &^ flag }
func Toggle(b, flag Bits) Bits { return b ^ flag }
func Has(b, flag Bits) bool    { return b&flag != 0 }

func main() {
	var b Bits
	b = Set(b, F0)
	b = Toggle(b, F2)
	for i, flag := range []Bits{F0, F1, F2} {
		fmt.Println(i, Has(b, flag))
	}
}
0 true
1 false
2 true

Larger bit sets

To represent larger sets of bits, you may want to use a custom data structure. The repository github.com/yourbasic/bit provides an implementation that uses a bit array consisting of 64-bit words.

Because a bit array uses bit-level parallelism, limits memory access, and efficiently uses the data cache, it often outperforms other data structures. Here is an example that shows how to create the set of all primes less than n in O(n log log n) time using the bit.Set data structure from the github.com/yourbasic/bit package. Try the code with n equal to a few hundred millions and be pleasantly surprised.

// Sieve of Eratosthenes
const n = 50
sieve := bit.New().AddRange(2, n)
sqrtN := int(math.Sqrt(n))
for p := 2; p <= sqrtN; p = sieve.Next(p) {
    for k := p * p; k < n; k += p {
        sieve.Delete(k)
    }
}
fmt.Println(sieve)
{2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23 29 31 37 41 43 47}

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