# Computing parity of a word

#1

Can someone explain the lowest set bit erased solution that led to O(k) time complexity. I don’t get it. What is lowest set bit?

#2

Hi @shers,

Lowest set bit means the lowest bit which is set to 1. This problem relies on the trick of x & (x - 1) to clean those bits are set to 1 iteratively. You can try to print the value of x in binary representation during each iteration to help you understand that. We have the new EPI Judge framework for you to try that.

#3

In my understanding, The lowest set bit (LSB) is the first set bit or 1 that appears when going right to left.
So, for number: 10110010, the lowest set bit is at 2nd position from right.
1011 00’1’(<this one) 0

Now, coming back to that bit fiddle trick of
`x&(x-1)` with with x=5.
In order to fully understand this, I hope you’re comfortable with subtracting two numbers in binary. Ex: say x=5 i.e 101 in binary. x-1 or 4 i.e 100 in binary.

So, let’s relook at,

`````` x&(x-1)
``````

=> 101&100
=> 100

You see what happened there?
The LSB of 5 (i.e 101) which is the first bit from right to left , it was set or ‘1’. Now it’s cleared or reset aka ‘0’, after the operation x&(x-1)

Now, time complexity of a O(k) comes from the fact that, if for a word of size ‘n’, there are ‘k’ bits set to 1, then it would take k operations to get to the left most bit in n.

Time complexity in worst case is O(n) because, in worst case there would be k=n bits set.

I scratched my head quite long before I actually got it myself. Hope this was helpful.