# Fix Python – Fast way of counting non-zero bits in positive integer

## Question

I need a fast way to count the number of bits in an integer in python.
My current solution is

``````bin(n).count("1")
``````

but I am wondering if there is any faster way of doing this?

PS: (i am representing a big 2D binary array as a single list of numbers and doing bitwise operations, and that brings the time down from hours to minutes. and now I would like to get rid of those extra minutes.

Edit:
1. it has to be in python 2.7 or 2.6

and optimizing for small numbers does not matter that much since that would not be a clear bottleneck, but I do have numbers with 10 000 + bits at some places

for example this is a 2000 bit case:

``````12448057941136394342297748548545082997815840357634948550739612798732309975923280685245876950055614362283769710705811182976142803324242407017104841062064840113262840137625582646683068904149296501029754654149991842951570880471230098259905004533869130509989042199261339990315125973721454059973605358766253998615919997174542922163484086066438120268185904663422979603026066685824578356173882166747093246377302371176167843247359636030248569148734824287739046916641832890744168385253915508446422276378715722482359321205673933317512861336054835392844676749610712462818600179225635467147870208L
``````

Now we will see solution for issue: Fast way of counting non-zero bits in positive integer

For arbitrary-length integers, `bin(n).count("1")` is the fastest I could find in pure Python.

I tried adapting Óscar’s and Adam’s solutions to process the integer in 64-bit and 32-bit chunks, respectively. Both were at least ten times slower than `bin(n).count("1")` (the 32-bit version took about half again as much time).

On the other hand, gmpy `popcount()` took about 1/20th of the time of `bin(n).count("1")`. So if you can install gmpy, use that.

To answer a question in the comments, for bytes I’d use a lookup table. You can generate it at runtime:

``````counts = bytes(bin(x).count("1") for x in range(256))  # py2: use bytearray
``````

Or just define it literally:

``````counts = (b'\x00\x01\x01\x02\x01\x02\x02\x03\x01\x02\x02\x03\x02\x03\x03\x04'
b'\x01\x02\x02\x03\x02\x03\x03\x04\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05'
b'\x01\x02\x02\x03\x02\x03\x03\x04\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05'
b'\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06'
b'\x01\x02\x02\x03\x02\x03\x03\x04\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05'
b'\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06'
b'\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06'
b'\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06\x04\x05\x05\x06\x05\x06\x06\x07'
b'\x01\x02\x02\x03\x02\x03\x03\x04\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05'
b'\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06'
b'\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06'
b'\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06\x04\x05\x05\x06\x05\x06\x06\x07'
b'\x02\x03\x03\x04\x03\x04\x04\x05\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06'
b'\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06\x04\x05\x05\x06\x05\x06\x06\x07'
b'\x03\x04\x04\x05\x04\x05\x05\x06\x04\x05\x05\x06\x05\x06\x06\x07'
b'\x04\x05\x05\x06\x05\x06\x06\x07\x05\x06\x06\x07\x06\x07\x07\x08')
``````

Then it’s `counts[x]` to get the number of 1 bits in `x` where 0 ≤ x ≤ 255.

This question is answered By – kindall