The Art Gallery Guardian

A cute theorem involving xor

Define \([a..b] = \{x|a\leq x\leq b, x\in \mathbb{N} \}\), and \(k\oplus [a..b] = \{k\oplus x| x\in [a..b]\}\), where \(\oplus\) is the bitwise xor function. We want to know something about \(k\oplus [a..b]\).


\(x-y \leq x\oplus y \leq x+y\)


\(x\oplus y \leq x+y\) is easy to see as \(\oplus\) is binary addition without carries. Assume \(x\oplus y < x-y\) for some \(x\) and \(y\), then \[ x = x\oplus(y\oplus y) = (x\oplus y) \oplus y < (x-y)\oplus y\leq (x-y)+y = x \] A contradiction. Therefore \(x-y \leq x\oplus y\).


\(\oplus\), binary addition without carries, and binary subtraction without borrows are the same operation. The lemma is trivial by notice that equivalence.


If \(f:\mathbb{N}\to \mathbb{N}\) a surjection such that \(x-n\leq f(x)\leq x+m\), then

  1. \(\{f(x)|x\in [a..b]\} \supseteq [a+m..b-n]\)
  2. \(\{f(x)|x\in [0..b]\} \supseteq [0..b-n]\)

\(f\) is a surjection implies all values in any integer interval get's taken. \(f^{-1}(y)=\min(\{x|f(x)=y\})\) \[ x-n\leq f(x)\leq x+m \implies y+m\leq f^{-1}(y)\leq y-n. \]

  1. If \(y\in [a+m..b-n]\), \(f^{-1}(y) \in [(a+m)-m.. (b-n)+n] = [a..b]\).
  2. If \(y\in [0..b-n]\), \(f^{-1}(y) \in [\max(0-m,0).. (b-n)+n] = [0..b]\).

Let \(f_k(x) = k\oplus x\), noting that \(f_k\) is a bijection, we derive the result we want for xor.

  1. \([a+k..b-k] \subseteq k\oplus [a..b]\).
  2. \([0..b-k] \subseteq k\oplus [0..b]\).
Posted by Chao Xu on 2012-06-19.
Tags: math.