**Problem (EPI 5.4):**

The weight, W(x) of an integer, x, is the number of bits set (to 1) in binary.

Given a 64 bit unsigned integer x (where W(x) != 0 and W(x) != 64) find y such that W(x) = W(y) and |x – y| is minimized.

**Solution:**

An example would make this clear, eg if

X = 4 (dec) = 0100 (bin)

The candiates are:

0001 – Diff = 3

0010 – Diff = 2

1000 – Diff = 4

So Y = 010 (bin) = 2 (dec).

The solution to this is to start with X and find the first “01” or “10” starting from the LEFT and then swap the bits.

In haskell this is (assuming a 64 bit number)

import Data.Bits
closest_neighbour_by_weight x = closest_neighbour_by_weight_aux x 0
where closest_neighbour_by_weight_aux x i
| two_digits /= 0 && two_digits /= 3 = xor x (shiftL 3 i)
| otherwise = closest_neighbour_by_weight_aux x (i + 1)
where two_digits = (x `shiftR` i) .&. 3

Essentially starting from the least significant bit (i = 0), we see if the bit at position i and the bit at position i + 1 are the same. If they are same, then we recursively continue with i + 1. If they are NOT the same then the bits are swapped (with the x ^ (3 << i) in the False case) and that is the solution. The xor with 3 is just a easy way to swap two consecutive bits.

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[…] EPI 5.4: Closest integers with the same weight […]