# Re: [std-proposals] [bitset] find first set bit after a position pos

Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2022 22:52:46 +0530
Thanks for the comments Arthur, much appreciated!

I think the core problem is absense of an efficient iterator for bitset.

Normal random access iterator will still access each bit and that's
inefficient so we'll need something different that can process words and
then trailing bits.
If that fancy iterator exists then we don't need proposed function and

instead. This can further allow them to vectorize and maybe process 256
bits in a loop.

On Mon, 24 Oct 2022, 21:38 Arthur O'Dwyer, <arthur.j.odwyer_at_[hidden]>
wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 24, 2022 at 11:20 AM Madhur Chauhan via Std-Proposals <
> std-proposals_at_[hidden]> wrote:
>
>> Hello everybody,
>>
>> *Problem*: Find the first set bit in a bitset with index >= a given pos
>> *[...]*
>> *Proposal*: Add a new member into std::bitset
>>
>
> Thought-provoking!
>
> If you're touching std::bitset, then at first glance I'd think a good
> approach would be to propose standardizing the entire <bit> header for
> std::bitset:
> bool has_single_bit(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> std::bitset<N> bit_ceil(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> std::bitset<N> bit_floor(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> int bit_width(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> std::bitset<N> rotl(const std::bitset<N>&, int) noexcept;
> std::bitset<N> rotr(const std::bitset<N>&, int) noexcept;
> int countl_zero(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> int countr_zero(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> int countl_one(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> int countr_one(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
> int popcount(const std::bitset<N>&) noexcept;
>
> Then you could write
> int find_first_set(std::bitset<N> bs, int pos) {
> bs >>= pos;
> return std::countr_zero(bs) + pos;
> }
>
> Notice that if std::bitset were allocating, like `vector<bool>`, then you
> would want to take-by-value in the functions that return bitsets (so that
> you could manipulate the by-value parameter directly and then move it into
> the return slot, instead of making your own copy); but since std::bitset is
> non-allocating, like `std::array`, you actually want to take it by
> reference and make that (NRVO-eligible) copy yourself.
>
> I know my suggested `find_first_set` implementation isn't going to be as
> fast as yours, because mine wastes all that time memcpy'ing (or worse)
> inside the `>>=`. But is that a complete dealbreaker?
> The "fully general, design-by-committee" approach might be to have
> something like `std::slice` for bitsets, so that you could do `return
> countr_zero(slice(bs, pos, -1))`. But that feels like a bad idea to me, and
> therefore I bet probably also to the committee. ;)
>
> Another idea might be to expand `std::bitset` with member versions of the
> <bit> header, each taking optional start and end indices á là
> std::string::compare:
>
> template<size_t N>
> class bitset {
> static constexpr size_t npos = size_t(-1);
> constexpr size_t countl_zero(size_t start = 0, size_t end = npos)
> const;
> constexpr size_t countr_zero(size_t start = 0, size_t end = npos)
> const;
> constexpr size_t countl_one(size_t start = 0, size_t end = npos)
> const;
> constexpr size_t countr_one(size_t start = 0, size_t end = npos)
> const;
> constexpr size_t bit_width(size_t start = 0, size_t end = npos)
> const;
> constexpr size_t popcount(size_t start = 0, size_t end = npos)
> const;
> constexpr bitset<N> bit_floor() const;
> constexpr bitset<N> bit_ceil() const;
> constexpr bitset<N> rotl(int n, size_t start = 0, size_t end =
> npos) const;
> constexpr bitset<N> rotr(int n, size_t start = 0, size_t end =
> npos) const;
> [...]
> };
>
> But this feels awkward, because these members return `size_t` instead of
> `int`-as-in-<bit>; and also because the mutating ones `bit_floor`,
> `rotl`,... don't really have good interfaces. It seems that you might want
> something like `std::string::substr` for bitsets, too.
>
> But the deeper I get into this rabbit hole, the more it seems that this
> whole feature-set is incompatible with the design of std::bitset. The
> purpose of `bitset` seems to be right in the name: it's a *set!* It's
> not obviously meant to be an arbitrary-bignum-math class or even an
> arbitrary-bitstring class. On the one hand, it does have >>= and <<=; but
> on the other hand, if you're using it as a *set*, as a mapping from small
> consecutive ints to bools, then it's highly non-obvious why you'd ever want
> an operation like
> std::bitset<10> b;
> b[2] = true; // 2 is in the set
> b <<= 3; // ha ha, now 2 is *not* in the set and 5 *is* in the set!
> That operation just doesn't seem to correspond to anything in the problem
> domain. Likewise,
> int n = b.countr_zero(5); // count the number of consecutive elements
> >=5 that are *not* in the set, until the next one that is
> doesn't seem like a very set-like operation.
>
> So maybe the real best answer would be to use `_ExtInt(N)`, and encourage
> vendors to provide the <bit> operations for `_ExtInt(N)`...
>
> I end up with no clear recommendation, except that if you propose such a
> thing, the paper ought to discuss all these different possible designs and
> explain the pros and cons of each (as you see them).
>
> my \$.02,
> –Arthur
>