m.zygmunt m.zygmunt - 4 years ago 274
C++ Question

C++ XOR swap on float values

Is it possible to use XOR swapping algorithm with float values in c++?

However wikipedia says that:

XOR bitwise operation to swap values of distinct variables having the same data type

but I am bit confused. With this code:

void xorSwap (int* x, int* y) {
*x ^= *y;
*y ^= *x;
*x ^= *y;

int main() {

float a = 255.33333f;
float b = 0.123023f;
xorSwap(reinterpret_cast<int*>(&a), reinterpret_cast<int*>(&b));
std::cout << a << ", " << b << "\n";

return 0;

it seems to work (at least under gcc), but I am concerned if such a practice is allowed if needed?

Answer Source

Technically, what you ask is possible but, as clearly commented by IInspectable, it causes undefined behaviour.
Anyway, I do suggest you to use std::swap instead, it's a template often specialized for specific data types and designed to do a good job.

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