Re: BitSet vs BigInteger (false Android doc)

Robert Klemme <>
Sat, 03 Sep 2011 17:01:29 +0200
On 02.09.2011 22:34, Patricia Shanahan wrote:

On 9/2/2011 1:23 PM, Arne Vajh=F8j wrote:

On 9/2/2011 3:48 PM, Jan Burse wrote:

Just notice the following note on Android for

Slow Two's Complement Bitwise Operations
This API includes operations for bitwise operations
in two's complement representation. Two's complement
is not the internal representation used by this
implementation, so such methods may be inefficient.
Use BitSet for high-performance bitwise operations
on arbitrarily-large sequences of bits.

But why should be BitSet any faster than BigInteger? Both
BitSet and BigInteger don't use some sparse representation.
They just allocate an array, in the case of BitSet its a long
array, and in the case of BigInteger int array.

The BigInteger sign does not slow down the process in any way.
Its just that the highest int of the BigInteger carries a sign,
which is arbirarily extended to the left. So BigInteger can


With an infinite sequence of 1's to the left. And then do
boolean operation. But there is practically no overhead
for that. But what I saw is that BitSet is not immutable,
so this could be a reason. But the two's complement is
not an issue, this is just rubbish.


Not necessarily.

If the internal representation does not match
the external representations then some operations could
be expensive due to the conversion between representations
and/or complications for the operation itself.

Also, they have more freedom of action in implementing BitSet, because
it only needs to do the bit operations. BigInteger has to do the bit
operations in a way that is consistent with signed integer arithmetic.

And there's more freedom to change the implementation at some point in
the future (or for another platform). BitSet is geared towards bit
operations while BigInteger is geared to math. So any changes done to
any of the two classes will keep the respective purpose of the class in
mind while they might neglect the other purpose which just comes as an
convenient add on.

Kind regards


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