CS50x threads to aide as a supplementary resource › Forums › CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard University on Edx › Week 6: Python › CS105: Introduction to Python by Saylor Academy › Unit 2: Operators › Bitwise vs. logical Boolean expressions in Python: Key differences and practical applications
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August 6, 2024 at 5:07 am #3179
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In Python, bitwise and logical boolean expressions are two different ways to perform logical operations, and they serve different purposes. Let’s break down each one in detail:
Logical Boolean Expressions
Logical boolean expressions use the
and
,or
, andnot
operators to evaluate conditions based on their truth values. These operators work with boolean values (True
andFalse
) and are typically used in conditional statements.Operators:
and
: ReturnsTrue
if both operands are true.or
: ReturnsTrue
if at least one operand is true.not
: Returns the opposite of the operand’s boolean value.
Examples:
a = True b = False # Logical AND result_and = a and b # False # Logical OR result_or = a or b # True # Logical NOT result_not = not a # False
Bitwise Boolean Expressions
Bitwise boolean expressions use the
&
,
,^
,~
,<<
, and>>
operators to perform operations on the binary representations of integers. These operators work at the bit level.Operators:
&
(bitwise AND): Sets each bit to 1 if both bits are 1.
(bitwise OR): Sets each bit to 1 if one of the bits is 1.^
(bitwise XOR): Sets each bit to 1 if only one of the bits is 1.~
(bitwise NOT): Inverts all the bits.<<
(left shift): Shifts bits to the left by the specified number of positions. –>>
(right shift): Shifts bits to the right by the specified number of positions.
Examples:
a = 0b1010 # 10 in binary b = 0b1100 # 12 in binary # Bitwise AND result_and = a & b # 0b1000 (8 in decimal) # Bitwise OR result_or = a  b # 0b1110 (14 in decimal) # Bitwise XOR result_xor = a ^ b # 0b0110 (6 in decimal) # Bitwise NOT result_not = ~a # 11 in decimal (Two's complement representation) # Left Shift result_left_shift = a << 2 # 0b101000 (40 in decimal) # Right Shift result_right_shift = a >> 2 # 0b0010 (2 in decimal)
Key Differences
 Data Types:
– Logical boolean expressions operate on boolean values (
True
andFalse
).
– Bitwise boolean expressions operate on integers and their binary representations. Usage:
– Logical boolean expressions are used for control flow and conditional logic.
– Bitwise boolean expressions are used for lowlevel operations, such as manipulating individual bits within an integer. Operators:
– Logical boolean operators:
and
,or
,not
.
– Bitwise boolean operators:&
,
,^
,~
,<<
,>>
. ShortCircuiting:
– Logical boolean operators (
and
,or
) shortcircuit. This means they stop evaluating as soon as the result is determined. For example, ina and b
, ifa
isFalse
,b
is not evaluated.
– Bitwise operators do not shortcircuit; they always evaluate both operands.Practical Example
Logical Boolean Expression:
x = 5 y = 10 if x < 10 and y > 5: print("Both conditions are true") # Output: Both conditions are true
Bitwise Boolean Expression:
x = 5 # 0b0101 y = 3 # 0b0011 result = x & y print(bin(result)) # Output: 0b0001 (1 in decimal)
In summary, logical boolean expressions are used for highlevel logical operations involving true/false values, while bitwise boolean expressions are used for lowlevel operations on the binary representations of integers. They serve different purposes and are suited for different types of problems.

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